Yes, this establishment refers to its chicken wings as "Chix Waangs." Yes, with two A's. And yes, we did once publish a rather impassioned takedown of their gender-divided cocktails. But when it comes to bar food the Freehouse in the North Loop actually has a lot to offer.
There's one plate in particular that we would consider required eating, and that's the cheese curds with quince jam, number 88 on our list of this year's 100 Favorite Dishes.
These are not the squeaky, frozen kind of cafeteria cheese curd that just makes you sad, but rather the fluffy, sharp, miraculously un-greasy ones you dream of in the many months pre- and post-State Fair. The coating is light, slightly caramelized, and tempura-crisp, thanks to all the carbonation and sweetness of the hard cider they use in the batter.
To provide some contrast to the richness of the curd, the fried bits are placed on a little puddle of tart homemade applesauce and finished with some quince jam. The end result has all the sophistication of a fancy plat au fromage mixed with the comfort-food coma that only comes from putting a slice of sharp cheddar on a piece of apple pie. Don't knock it until you've tried it. Oh, and definitely try these curds.
100: The Pickle Dog from the Minnesota State Fair 99: Mademoiselle Miel's Honey Bon-Bons 98: Giant Pretzel at New Bohemia 97: Kopplin's Breve 96: Corn Chowder at Barrio 95: Crescent Moon's House Special Football-Shaped Pizza 94: Buffalo Tots at the Blue Door Pub 93: Duck Burger at the Happy Gnome 92: Mac's Industrial Tuna Melt 91: Toast Bar at Canteen 90: Sonora Grill's Eggplant Fries 89: Brasa's Pineapple Ginger Ale
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