Homewood is Matt McCallister’s newest venture following the closure of his successful FT33. It is more centrally located and has a more casual feel. When we first visited he had only been open a couple weeks. It is a bright and modern spot with large windows looking out on the patio and the busy street beside it. Wood and tile are the surfaces and the open ceiling has painted wood rafter joists with acoustic tiles. A low counter bar is the bar but also a place for walk-ins to have dinner. It is appointed with stuffed chairs. There is also a high counter bar where you can get a reservation as well as the many small, closely set tables around the room. A few larger booths are along the windows that look out on Oak Lawn Ave. and some booths for 2 people face the low bar area. A short wall separates the 2 sections of dining tables. The section that also houses the higher bar is open to the kitchen. McCallister can be seen in the kitchen as well as coming out to visit with guests and friends. They have valet parking if you want to be in the lot adjacent to the building. Service was efficient, friendly and directive. The menu changes regularly and features many locally sourced items as well as those that have been preserved, pickled, etc. by the restaurant staff. They are happy to have you share things.
Our first visit we didn’t have reservations and they’d only been open a short time. We were fortunate that they could find us a space since we knew we could be finished quickly and they worked with us to make the meal timely. For the future I highly suggest reservations even though they have some space for walk-ins. We began with a couple of the starters, the Country Ham Plate and Frittered Broccolini. The ham plate came with spicy mustard, giardiniera and lavash. The lavash was nicely crispy and good with the savory thin sliced ham. You didn’t really need the mustard but it was a good garnish if you wanted it. The giardiniera was housemade and tart and spicy. It was a wonderful starter. The broccolini was in a light batter and topped with pecan aillade and lemon. It was so good and hot that it disappeared before I could get a good picture. It’s a good sign when stuff gets eaten that fast.
We split a small order of Toasted Red Wheat Spaghetti with black pepper and pecorino romano. It was their version of a Cacio e Pepe and a good one at that. The pastas were all available in half or full size versions and being able to get a small one let us fit in a taste of this fun dish. It was well seasoned with the cheese having a good amount of flavor. Thumbs up.
The Roasted Cartermere Farms Half Chicken came with morel mushrooms, English peas, vin jaune and arugula. It was a tasty chicken but the dark meat fared better than the white as it better retains its juiciness. The sauce was tasty as were the peas and lovely small arugula leaves.
Smoked Pork Belly and Spiced Sausage came with glazed carrots, harissa vinaigrette, coriander and peanut crumble. The sausage was nicely spicy and I loved it. The carrots were young and flavorful with a nice glaze and crunchy topping. The pork belly was heavy on the meat rather than the fat, but it still was good. I liked this one.
Dessert was Dark Chocolate and Banana Semifreddo. It was great – sweet with good texture and temperature variations. How can you go wrong with bananas and chocolate? They sure didn’t. I’ll be back again soon.