You’re stuck in an elevator, and you find out the other person in there with you is actually Tom Brady’s former neighbor - who loves to gossip. Or maybe the unpaid intern helping with your group project turns out to be both a Powerpoint wizard and a workaholic. In each of these situations, someone is bringing more to the table than what’s on the surface, and it works out in your favor. The same is true of Good Measure.
This place is in River North, but could easily have escaped from Wicker Park. It’s divey - dark inside with a lot of glowing red light, and decorated with velvet paintings that look like they belong above a waterbed. In other words, it’s easy to classify Good Measure as just another typical Chicago bar. But the food here is actually better than what you’ll find at most restaurants, let alone neighborhood drinking spots.
The menu is short and eclectic, full of thoughtful, well-composed dishes that aren’t what you’d expect from a bar that has skeleton wallpaper in the bathroom. Like a non-boring burrata served with pickled peach puree, salted cucumber, and puffed quinoa. Or the fried duck livers - a tasty take on Nashville hot chicken. There’s a cheddar rarebit that comes with little sage potato donuts (which are our new favorite way of transporting cheese to our mouths), and some pepperoni and mozzarella suppli that might make you retroactively regret every pizza puff you’ve eaten in a Chicago bar. There’s even an excellent kale salad with creamed honey and roasted squash, which is probably a better choice than the Sweetgreen you were thinking of grabbing on your way home.
Because Good Measure is a cool bar in a neighborhood known for not-very-cool bars, you can expect it to be crowded. You can also plan on listening to punk music while you’re here, and waiting for a booth if you come with a group. That being said, friendly bartenders make eating at the bar enjoyable, and if you never came here, you’d probably go your whole life without knowing how well fried duck liver goes with punk.
Just like a Transformer, or Anne Hathaway’s character in The Princess Diaries, Good Measure is more than it appears to be on the surface. It’s not just a great bar, it’s a f*cking great restaurant, too. So take your next group project partners here to thank them for all their hard work.
This isn’t a charcuterie plate - it’s really a very fancy open-faced ham sandwich. The prosciutto comes with parmesan cheese and a truffled gribiche (which is like an egg salad), plus cornichons.
This is basically a beer and cheddar fondue, and it’s delicious. And the little sage and potato donuts it comes with are worth ordering on their own.
Generally speaking, burrata is boring, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. And this is one of the least-boring versions you’ll have, mainly because of the additions of pickled peach puree and puffed quinoa.
This is a take on Nashville hot chicken. So it has the same burn-your-face-off heat, and pickled romesco and ranch dressing to calm it down. Unless you don’t like liver, you’ll like this.
This chicken is well fried and juicy. But the best part is that it comes with a spicy honey butter, piccalilli puree, and honeydew slaw. All of these things together make a perfect bite.
The suppli are fried balls of risotto filled with pepperoni and mozzarella. They come in tomato sauce, topped with a mountain of parmesan cheese. If any of those ingredients sound bad to you, you have our sympathies.
Even the salads here go above and beyond the call of duty. They change seasonally, but one might have kale, warm squash, creamed honey, apples, blue cheese, pepitas, and a smoked walnut vinaigrette.
This place has a fantastic burger. It’s good as is (with smoked American cheese, aioli, lettuce, tomato, and onion), but you can also add stuff to it - like onions caramelized in foie, an egg, or a whole ball of burrata if that’s your style. Go for it.
Turns out that deep-frying a housemade Polish sausage is a good idea. So is topping it with foie gras caramelized onions and dijon mustard. This is very good.