Taking Root

A new reason to visit Humboldt Park's best wine bar

We've long considered Rootstock to be the kind of wine bar that every neighborhood needs.

And with new chef Duncan Biddulph, we'd go so far as to call it the wine bar and restaurant that everyone needs to visit.

The menu has been refined in the best way–subtly, via new twists and techniques.

Biddulph spent five years at Lula Café and 10 months in Italy, Spain, England and New York–farming, making cheese and olive oil and staging in restaurants–before landing at Rootstock. His ever-changing menu owes much to his time at Lula, but also to his jaunts abroad.

Fingerling potatoes star in an unusual salad of apple purée, radish slivers and small crisps of fried chicken skin ($7). Instead of cooking the potatoes in fat, Biddulph poaches them in water, vinegar and salt so that the spuds' flavor remains a focal point.

Sweet tomato marmalade and pickled onions check the richness of braised pork cheeks and barley risotto cooked with verjus (pictured) in a dish that's a steal at only $5.

A salad of warm chickpeas, mustard greens, cucumbers, dried apricots, fried almonds and feta ($7) was a favorite–but has already been rotated off the menu.

All the more reason to get there quickly (and keep going back).

Rootstock, 954 N. California Ave.; 773-292-1616 or rootstockbar.com