CHIReview

photo credit: Patsy McEnroe

All Together Now review image

All Together Now

You might be reading this because cooking at home is a lot of work, and you don’t feel like doing it tonight. Or because you need a low-key spot to meet up with a friend, but don’t want to have to ask for extra guacamole over a sneeze guard. If either of these situations applies (or has ever applied) to you, then you should know about All Together Now, an all-day counter-service place that’s perfect for a casual meal you just don’t want to make yourself.

In addition to being a restaurant, this Ukrainian Village spot is also a little wine shop and market. So theoretically you could stop by just to pick up fancy groceries like salami and a bottle of rosé. But the main reason for coming here is to eat some very good food in a space that’s cleaner and cuter than your apartment (there isn’t a ton of seating, but there are a few tables and some bar seats, and it’s never too hard to grab a spot).

Sandy Noto

All Together Now review image

The menus (which change every few months) seem like short lists of things the chef just feels like making - and they’re fairly straightforward in that they don’t involve hundreds of small plates that require you to play Dr. Frankenstein creating a meal. During breakfast you can get some oatmeal with candied squash, or delicious scrambled eggs with pork-fat collard greens over toast. At lunch there are sandwiches with ingredients from the deli counter, along with share plates like a well-balanced whitefish spread with flaxseed crackers. Then the dinner menu has lamb meatballs and entrees like tender and flavorful venison over lentils.

The only time something isn’t a home run is when a sauce doesn’t work. For example, the meatballs come on top of a really sweet carrot and tomato puree that reminds us of Campbell’s condensed soup. And the housemade egg pasta from the dinner menu is good, but it’s served with a mushroom and romesco sauce that’s very bland. Another thing to keep in mind is that the food can take a long time to come out, so you’ll want a book, friend, or overdue 2016 tax return to keep you occupied. That being said, the sauces change often, and the meatballs are actually fine on their own. So as long as you aren’t in a hurry, this stuff is worth overlooking.

You can walk outside right now, shout “I’m hungry!”, and Uber Eats, Seamless, and a Top Chef chef might all show up like you flashed the food equivalent of the Bat Signal. In other words, it’s not hard to find food in this city. But if you don’t want to eat on your couch, make reservations, or find your punch card for a free burrito bowl, you need a low-key neighborhood spot like All Together Now. It’s a little late to learn how to cook between now and dinnertime, anyway.

Food Rundown

Creamed Eggs Over Toast

Way more delicious (and involved) than the unripe banana you actually ate for breakfast this morning. The eggs here are creamy, and come with pork fat collard greens that have just enough bitterness to cut through the richness of the egg.

Sandy Noto

All Together Now review image

Creamed Whitefish

Living in the Northern part of the Midwest means we’re exposed to a lot of creamed fish, and some of it is not very good. But All Together Now’s whitefish spread is flavorful and delicious, and comes with light and crispy flaxseed crackers we like eating on their own.

Sandy Noto

All Together Now review image

French Exit Sandwich

There’s a deli case at the front of the restaurant with different meats and cheeses, and All Together Now is good at putting those things on bread. We like the simple French Exit, which has salami, cheese, mustard, and aioli - just know that they do go heavy on the mustard.

Sandy Noto

All Together Now review image

Brussels Sprouts

The brussels sprouts here are great even if you aren’t one of the millions of people who have been brainwashed into thinking that adding an egg makes everything better. That being said, here, it actually does. Anchovy butter and garlicky breadcrumbs help, too.

Sandy Noto

All Together Now review image

Venison

All Together Now is very good at cooking meat, and this dish is an excellent example. The venison is tender and not dry at all, and comes with lentils, raisins, and chorizo that add a great amount of sweetness and spice.

Sandy Noto

All Together Now review image

Roasted Half Chicken

The chicken is juicy, and we’re fans of the black garlic bread pudding and crispy mushrooms that come with it. But the pan sauce is inconsistent - sometimes it’s too sour, and sometimes it’s fine. Luckily, unlike your boss, it’s easy to avoid if it’s having a bad day.

All Together Now review image

Lamb Meatballs

These lamb meatballs are moist and nicely spiced, but the carrot and tomato puree underneath them is sweeter than we’d like, and doesn’t really add anything.

Sandy Noto

All Together Now review image

Lentil Croquettes

These taste just like falafel. They’re good, but given that they’re very small, they don’t really seem like they’re worth $7. The chimichurri yogurt they come with is OK.

Wood Ear Mushroom Pasta

The egg pasta is housemade, and pretty good. But the carrot romesco is bland. You can skip this until they start serving the pasta with a different sauce.

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