Southport and Irving Café-Bistro-Bar – Oh that Pork Chop!

For the past few months I’ve been keeping my eye on the northwest corner of Irving Park and Southport.  Each day as I’d drive through the intersection from the east (ha! there I’ve worked another compass point into this post) my eyes would glance over to look for signs the new restaurant under construction was ready for customers.  It was steadily progressing when one day, I received a message via Twitter, from Southport and Irving (4002 – 4004 North Southport Avenue) inviting me to a grand opening event, would I like to attend?  Um, yes please!

The grand opening event was nice, I got to meet the owners and another local blogger, and found out there’s going to be a wine bar area in the front part of the building on the corner, which unfortunately isn’t finished yet (at least it wasn’t last week).  The wine was good and the small bites were tasty.  These only made me want to come back on my own and try out the full menu, which looked pretty creative.  The only question was: which day?

Which day indeed!  Southport and Irving have specials for almost every day of the week.  According to their website the weekly specials are:

  • Sunday Supper special $10 – meatloaf and mashed potatoes or chicken parm and linguine
  • Tuesday – 3 course $25 prix fixe menu; 2 course $20 prix fixe
  • Wednesday – $4 American craft beer night
  • Thursday – ½ price bottle of wine night
  • Friday – $5 Martinis and Mojitos after 5pm

We chose to go back on a Thursday for half price bottle of wine night.  They have a pretty good looking, wide-ranging, list.  Not too large to be overwhelming but large enough that you should be able to find something you like.  Based on the crowd, it seems this special will be a hit.

For dinner we had an order of fritto misto, osso buco, and honey brined pork chop.  The fritto misto was very good, light and crispy, not oily, served with a red pepper sauce.  This is a nice change from the usual marinara sauce you get with fried calamari and it worked really well.  They also deep-fried some thin lemon slices which were refreshing!

The osso buco was fall apart tender and I really liked the gremolata which topped it but I thought it needed some more sauce.  Small quibble, and really only because the pork chop was amazing.  That’s right.  Their pork chop is a rockstar!  And it’s not just the pork chop.  Everything on the plate complimented each other.  It really sings (like a rockstar).  The honey brined pork chop (which is very tender) is paired with some sautéed spinach, sweet potato-pecan hash, and a stone ground mustard sauce.  The sweet, salty, mustard combination is harmonious.  As long as they never ever change the recipe I will go back here again and again for this absolutely delicious plate of food!  And remember the pork chop was up against osso buco, my all time favorite!

It was opening week for them and they seemed to be working out a few bugs timing-wise (which I think is normal) so a return trip is definitely in the works to see how they’re doing.  I’d also like to go for brunch on the weekend and try that particular menu out.  Looks just as exciting as dinner.

Based on what I’ve eaten and by the Twitter comments/web reviews Southport and Irving looks like it will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood and I hope they’re very successful and stay a while.  I recommend you go and give it a try so they do stay and enable me to keep on eating their amazing pork chop.

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