The Boarding House's Wine Is Just Right | River North, Chicago

The Boarding House, three stories of food and wine

First order of business when entering The Boarding House: Order a glass of wine.

The restaurant is the brainchild of a wine savant Alpana Singh, after all, and you'll want to tackle the lengthy menu with a glass of bright, apple-y Crémant de Jura ($14) or fruity, Grenache-based Priorat blend ($60 per 750 ml bottle) in hand.

If lingering in the downstairs bar, beneath the ceiling-affixed installation of nearly 10,000 wine glasses, summon an Alpine pizza ($12) to the table. Layered with balsamic-braised radicchio, Gruyère cheese and pancetta, it was the standout of a recent visit.

Venture upstairs for a striking, two-story dining room and a wine-friendly menu from Canadian-born chef Christian Gosselin. A favorite from a recent visit was ravioli ($15), with a filling that nodded to the Québécois spiced meat pie tourtière.

A plate of gently spicy Bavarian pork sausage ($14) looks to central Europe, served with a purée of roasted onions, tart braised cabbage and mustard sabayon. Fried cauliflower ($9), wrapped in cumin-spiced batter, tastes vaguely Indian.

We'll be back to try Chicken Three Ways (braised, roasted, fried; $39), a dish designed for two to share. And we'll follow it with another excellent sugar pie ($8), filled with silky maple custard.

The Boarding House, 720 N. Wells St.; 312-280-0720 or