Autre Monde Cafe & Spirits
True farm-to-table Mediterranean fare in Berwyn
Roasted chicken with braised vegetables and jus
Photo courtesy of Autre Monde
On a busy stretch of Roosevelt Road, in sight of the Chicago skyline and alongside fast food joints, bars, gaming venues, nail salons and the occasional tattoo studio, Autre Monde — which translates to “another world” from French — transports diners to another time and place and transforms simple ingredients into otherworldly fare. Inside, Autre Monde Café & Spirits looks like a café one might find in a quaint Mediterranean hamlet. It’s a narrow space, but that’s part of the charm. Decorative touches like large mirrors, soft sconce lighting and framed prints make it feel more cozy than cramped. Attentive white-clad servers scurry about on busy evenings, indicating the level of service that Autre Monde provides.
If craft cocktails are your thing, you’ll want to start with one of those. The blood orange gimlet doesn’t disappoint, nor does the classic French martini. Or try the whimsically named Parlez-Vous?, made with rye, Benedictine cointreau, orange bitters and lemon zest. Of course, being a European-inspired restaurant, Autre Monde offers a highly curated wine list from house sommelier and co-owner John Aranza, with reds, whites, roses, oranges, bubbles and more. Also offered are an array of whiskeys, bourbons, ryes, scotches, vermouths, vodkas, gin, rums and beers.
Mais oui, food is the center of this world. Inventively prepared by chefs Dan Pancake and Beth Partridge, the menu highlights flavors of Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Morocco. Appetizers here are called “pintxos,” which may make you reach for your phone to Google the meaning. The Basque-inspired, tapas-like starters, including duck breast in fig sauce and caramelized pork belly paired with a drizzle of chimichurri and sprouts, are just the right balance of indulgent and satiating. Small plates of vegetables and meats, such as Moroccan veg tagine and lamb ribs with sheep milk tzatziki and harissa, can be passed around for shared enjoyment.
On to entrées. If you’re a carnivore and someone near your table orders the 16-oz. wood-grilled pork porterhouse, you’d be hard pressed to not order that, too, since it’s a visual feast as well as delicious one. The other protein-centric main dishes, including steak frîtes, Amish half chicken and chef’s seafood selection, are likewise prepared in a way that elevates the basic into a memorable eating experience.
Housemade flatbreads and pastas round out this eclectic menu, evoking worlds well beyond Chicago, with choices like summer squash flatbread topped with ricotta, preserved lemon and squash blossom, and a short rib ravioli with swiss chard and onions braised in red wine.
Although the culinary influences are clearly global, there is also a focus on the local. Many seasonal ingredients come from the restaurant’s own greenhouse and the chefs’ Cakeridge Farms in Ohio, while some of the meats are sourced from Midwest farms. Autre Monde was Berwyn’s first “Green Seal Certified” restaurant.
Before you go home to your own world, check out some of the desserts, like a chocolate hazelnut pot de crème, a classic cheese plate, or some cute miniature cannolis.
6727 Roosevelt Rd., Berwyn; www.autremondecafe.net; 708 775-8122
Pork porterhouse; Moroccan veg tagine; Pork belly pintxos
Shareables: $8 – $15
Entrées: $25 – $29
Tues – Thur, 5 – 10 p.m. Fri & Sat, 5 – 11 p.m. ; Sun, 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. and 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Sunday brunch; chef’s tasting menu; private rooms for up to 70 guestsEdit Module