Signs you’re at a good party:
- People are talking and laughing.
- The playlist understands how terrible your week was.
- Someone made sure the booze you brought received the love and care it deserves.
- There is no sign of your ex and/or a cheese tray with sweaty, shiny cheddar.
And all of the above is true at En Passant (except for the ex part, which we can’t guarantee). While this little BYOB restaurant in Logan Square isn’t technically a party, eating at En Passant feels like being at a perfectly chill one. It’s casual, and the small team of friendly people working here make sure you have a good time - specifically by helping you eat a bunch of delicious food.
You’ll find a lot of different dishes on the menu, which is too broad for categorization but can easily be described as “flavorful as f*ck”. One of our favorite starters is an escolar crudo topped with black garlic honey and dollops of tangerine jam. It manages to be rich and light at the same time, and the bold toppings enhance the butteriness of the fish. The creamy risotto has a decadent amount of parmesan (that is not an adjective we use often, but it applies here), and is seasoned with just enough tarragon. Tender fennel sausages are topped with a sweet and spicy Calabrian caramel sauce, and served with escarole that soaks everything up like a leafy sponge.
And fun fact: En Passant’s chef is the original chef behind Au Cheval. You might have heard about their cheeseburger? Well, there’s an incredible burger here too, and it has only three components: beef, marie rose sauce, and balsamic onion jam. Not only is it delicious, but you won’t need to wait two hours for a table to eat it.
This place works for a night out when you want to catch up with friends, or for just a low-key date night. The restaurant is dimly lit, with vintage touches (like chandeliers and candles) decorating the space. The lighting is 85% more likely to make you look good, and there’s a surprisingly great sound system playing music at a level where you can still hear your table, but not the people around you. The great music, lighting, and food make this place a vibe. And that vibe is: “I want to stay here for several hours and eat things...oh sh*t, is that my ex?”’
Even if it is, this place is so enjoyable you won’t care.
One of the things we really appreciate about En Passant is that everything has enough stuff. What do we mean by this? Well, if the dish has a topping or a sauce, you never need to ration it out. Case in point: The escolar, which comes with more than enough black garlic honey and tangerine jam. Also, “black garlic honey” might be our new favorite condiment.
The chicken liver mousse (topped with duck fat) is delightfully creamy. We suggest keeping whatever is left to put on the burger, the potatoes, or anything else that looks like it could use a little smear of meat butter.
The preparation of the risotto changes, but three things remain the same. It’s always wonderfully creamy, and full of parmesan and tarragon. It’s a good dish to get for the table.
This is kind of a weirdo dish, and we love it precisely because of that. Crispy fried eggplant and mushrooms are served on a bed of sundried tomato goat cheese, and the flavor of that cheese is very assertive. But what pulls the whole thing together beautifully is the buttery mushroom pan sauce.
We didn’t realize that there was no cheese on this burger until after we finished eating it. The smash patties are topped with marie rose sauce, and balsamic onion jam, and that’s it. But it’s so rich and beefy that nothing else is needed. However, in the interest of science, we did smear some leftover chicken liver mousse on a few bites. Results are pending, but early indicators point to this being a very good idea.
These pieces of fried potato are crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and served inside a little metal thing that keeps everything….roasty. And a must-order with the burger.