One of Chicago's Newest Restaurants Presents an Elevated Dining Experience
Stepping off California Avenue, you leave behind the incomplete gentrification of Logan Square and are transported to an elevated dining experience. At Good Fortune, well-executed New American cuisine combines with art deco romance and your eyes will adjust to the dim, clean lighting just as aromas from the open air kitchen begin to delight.
It is a concept years in the making. The building was bought in 2017, and Good Fortune opened in August. In the spring, the chef team of now closed Honey’s, ran a pop-up about a mile away to test operations while the restaurant was being built, but without a proper kitchen to execute their menu, they ran a six month raw bar operation which gained notoriety in the Chicago food scene. Now that the kitchen is complete with a custom wood burning oven and their vision is fully brought to life, seafood is still where they shine.
Miniature aperol spritz-esque aperitifs on arrival set the tone for the rest of the meal: equal parts impressive timing and full flavor. The menu cards themselves are constructed in three separate parts for drinks, food and wine, and stacked in complementing muted shades. The cocktail list description takes the otherwise dry approach of listing ingredients likely unknown by mainstream population, and adds a layer of kitschy commentary. My choice, guided by the bartender, was a spin on a dirty martini using sherry as the brine, or as it reads on the menu ‘just a damn good martini for folk who need more than “straight up”.’ My guest ordered the G&T garnished with cranberry and sage, which according to the menu ‘tastes like mom’s cranberry sauce. The sides are the best part of thanksgiving anyway.’
The wood burning oven which was described as ‘the heart and soul’ of the restaurant shows up in a few places on the menu, including the caramelized halloumi. Roasted figs and pickled grapes added the right amount of sweet and the harissa yogurt gave the dish Mediterranean flare. The icing though, was pairing the dish with the orange wine by the glass, a Trebbiano/Malvasia Bianca from Tuscany whose dry minerality and subtle funk enhanced every flavor on the plate. Also worth mentioning is the black lime cured arctic char that is no longer on the menu, but should be.
While it is a seafood forward concept, a pasta mid-course is the right move. The black garlic rigatoni with smoked maitake mushrooms was cooked al dente, which combined with the pepitas added textural enjoyment to the earthy combination of flavors that melted in my mouth. We were recommended the saffron bucatini with seafood bolognese and bottarga – an interesting approach to bolognese, but the seafood was not highlighted and the dish seemed dry, leaving me wishing I had ordered the Parker house rolls instead which I overheard as available off menu, and witnessed the couple next to me enjoying.
Next, the highlight of the meal, the meagre bass. Pan seared with the skin on so it gets crisp, the filet is simply prepared with salt, pepper and oil. The freshness of the bass is what you taste. Set over a bed of sautéed bok choy and wild rice with a dashi broth that gives savoury, umami notes to a light dish with full flavour.
Dessert came as poached pears with spiced caramel, burnt cinnamon and vanilla ice cream. The pears were cubed with skin on, roasted soft but still firm and the cinnamon took me back to childhood mornings. The sommelier insisted on opening a bottle of wine that is normally not poured by the glass to accompany the dessert and I’m grateful he did. The Domaine Gerard Metz, ‘Harmony’ Edelzwicker from France offered a crisp fruit forward elegance that brought out the roasted notes in the pear.
The knowledgeable staff completed our experience, and the deep teal walls throughout the space gave the impression of inviting darkness. Easy pacing left us satisfied with our previous course and ready for the next, and if not the bass, the welcoming energy of their team made us want to return soon. Dimmed, but clean lighting from hanging deco pendants and familiar songs from over the decades combined with easy chatter kept the energy high. While we dined, I witnessed the chef partners having dinner at a table with other local chefs and it speaks volumes that they built a restaurant, and want to enjoy it themselves.
Good Fortune is a welcome addition to Logan Square, and their rotating, seasonal menu of imaginative flavours will hopefully continue to lure in the neighbourhood.
2528 N California Avenue, Logan Square
Opening Hours 4pm-12am Wednesday-Monday, Closed Tuesdays
Reviewed by Champ team Kate Wille