Looking for Cheese Flights
Hello Chicago Chowhounders:
A friend and I are heading to Chicago in a few weeks and we are interested in finding a restaurant where we can get an interesting cheese flight with matched wines. We are interested in doing the cheese flight and then moving on to another restaurant for dinner, although if the food is good at the cheese place we could stay. I am aware of Bin 36 and welcome other suggestions. We are more interested in casual places--nothing which requires a jacket and tie. We are willing to take public transportation virtually anywhere and we are willing to do some walking. Thanks for your help.
I can't speak towards matching wines, however Blackbird has an excellent cheese plate that I had for dessert. If I remember, there were 5 different types, all paired with some sort of fruit/pickled/chutney goodness. It's pricey but good. Their wine list is also quite good (and they have some really good craft brews).
If you want REALLY casual, how about Sam's Wines in the South Loop? It's a cavernous concrete-and-exposed-pipes liquor store with a small wine bar in the back.
Last time I was in Chicago, I stopped in at Sam's to get some BYO wine, and was seduced into staying for some cheese and a glass of wine. Very pleasant! There's not a lot of wine to choose from (surprisingly), and there's only one cheese plate on offer (plus a charcuterie plate and a combo cheese-and-charcuterie plate). Plus, there's no official info on pairings, but I'll bet the friendly and helpful bar staff would help you select a wine or two. It may not be what you're looking for, but it's a nice option if you're wearing shorts and flip-flops or if you're on a strict budget.
I also went to Bin 36 for cheese and dessert wine after an early meal. They have many more selections - you can choose the exact cheeses you want or order from a list of pre-chosen cheese plates - and they have info on possible pairings for some (many? all?) of the cheeses they offer. Bin 36 is fancier and more expensive, but still casual - no jacket or tie required.
339 N. Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60610
Sam's Wine & Spirits
50 E Roosevelt Rd, Chicago, IL
Here is a playful idea. Try the brand new Whole Food store near North Ave and Clybourn. This venue has a new concept, that maybe only one other Whole Foods in the U.S. has; the concept is food stations where you can order food but also sit down and eat & drink too. Their website calls them mini restaurants -I think that is fairly accurate. I tried it once and sat at the seafood bar for some chowder & beer.
One of the stations is a cheese and wine bar. Read the two links below. This could be a fun little foodie detour.
Whole Foods Market
1550 N Kingsbury St
Chicago, IL 60642
"we are interested in finding a restaurant where we can get an interesting cheese flight with matched wines."
For what you are looking for, Bin 36 is the best. I have been to their wine & cheese class that explains the flavor and taste profiles of cheeses, and how it is paired with wine. There are a lot of places that have good cheese and wine selections (the newly opened Salute is one to watch). But most are just that. There's cheese, there's wine.