Boltwood-600x301‘Locally sourced, adventurous and approachable’ – Those are words describing what the Boltwood restaurant aims to deliver. This new farm-to-table eating establishment recently opened at 804 Davis St. in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, in a spot long occupied by local favorite Lulu’s.

Boltwood is co-owned by John Kim and Evanston native Chef Brian Huston. Huston was the chef de cuisine of Publican, a Fulton Market beer and food establishment, Blackbird Restaurant, Spiaggia and Heaven on Seven. Kim is the owner of another successful Evanston establishment, Brothers K Coffeehouse.

The name for this new eatery came from a wing of Evanston Township High School where the head chef, investors, many staff members and quite a few regulars all went to high school. The cuisine is American and showcases a locally sourced, frequently changing menu.

I was eager to try this restaurant and did my research by asking if they could accommodate my gluten-free needs. They assured me that about 85% of their menu is already gluten free and that they could accommodate the rest or help advise on what to order.

Since the menu changes almost daily, diners can’t plan too far ahead. I opted to show up and take my chances. Our server assured me he could help me avoid any gluten in the menu and was quick to point out that the short ribs would be off the menu for me since they were made with soy sauce. He also confirmed that the fried potatoes on the menu (a recommended must from friends who have already been) were safe and free from cross-contamination. Though bread can be requested, it is not served automatically to the table so we easily avoided that too.

The menu is divided into small plates and some larger dishes in the categories of: bar snacks, meat & fish and vegetables (which also includes pastas so read carefully and ask questions). You will have to make your own choices based on what’s available on the menu the night you go but this is what we enjoyed:

- Cheese platter – a choice of three served with fruit, honey and almonds, no bread

- Tomato, house made mozzarella cheese, olives salad – one was enough to share

- Squid – grilled, garnished with veggies and very tender

- Duck with a blackberry sauce and the biggest blackberries on the side

- Potatoes fried in schmaltz – I loved these

- Gelato for dessert

Place your order with a glass of wine, gluten-free cider or have them mix you up a drink using Tito’s gluten-free vodka. My dining partner also raved about the non-alcoholic beer options on the menu. I love the concept of farm-to-table and I like the idea that any time I go I’ll be offered different choices. If you’re in the area check out this new hotspot.