Frontier – West Town, Chicago

After a sunny and informative, architectural riverboat tour of Chicago, Ample Bites and family made our way to Frontier for an early dinner. This West Town restaurant had come highly recommended by our son and his friends. Frontier features a menu of “fished” and “hunted” items prepared by Executive Chef Brian Jupiter and his staff in a style defined as “farm to table”. The “fished” items include everything from escargot to a large selection of oysters on-the-half-shell along with several fish choices and specials. The “hunted” menu include duck, rabbit, boar and even gator ribs.

The drink selections were fairly typical for an urban restaurant including craft beers, a nice wine list, and an array of whiskeys and scotches. Frontier also featured a half dozen large format beers, which came in vessels as large as nine-liters, to be shared with a group.

The motif of Frontier is heavy-timber and brick loft with a western feel but more of an urban vibe. TV’s were showing a variety of sporting events but it did not scream “sports bar”. The outdoor seating area where we ate had a nice mix of high-top tables, lower couch-type seating, an outdoor fireplace and a translucent shelter to allow the natural light in and keep the rain (which was not a problem for us) away.

Frontier also offers whole animal roasts for large groups of diners.

We started our meal with a dozen oysters, most of which came from the Pacific Northwest. Each oyster was fresh and briny. The oysters were served with a catsup-based cocktail sauce, some minced horseradish and chopped Peppadew peppers. To accompany the oyster appetizer we ordered a White Bean Hummus with Rosemary Oil. The hummus was especially good. It was made to order and was still warm when it was served with grilled sourdough bread. The oysters and hummus were quickly devoured and thoroughly enjoyed by the Ample Bites crew.

We shared two orders of Duck Sliders, an Ahi Tuna Sandwich, and Smoked Rabbit Tostadas. The Duck Sliders accented the ground duck with avocado salsa, cheese and smoked bacon. The Ahi Tuna Sandwich was served on sourdough bread with sprouts, crispy shallots and wasabi mayo. The Smoked Rabbit Tostada incorporated a jicama-mandarin slaw and was served on hand-pressed tortillas. Our group also shared hand-cut rosemary fries that were simply good enough to be addictive.

We visited Frontier on an early Sunday evening and we were disappointed to be told that several menu items would not be available including Duck Tacos, Sweet Potato Fries and one of the oyster varieties that we had ordered. Service was also very slow even though the restaurant was not at all crowded when we arrived. Our waitress was very good once we had her attention and she made every effort to make-up for any deficiency in service.

All of our food was very good and we spotted menu items that we would try on a return visit to Frontier, which will undoubtedly happen sometime soon.

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