Review - Bangers and Lace
At Bangers & Lace, the new sausage-centric gastropub in Wicker Park, a white curtain dresses up the front door, but inside it’s strictly vintage man-cave accoutrements: wood, brick, dead animals, leather, more brick. So, uh, where’s the lace? In your beer, actually. The name is a riff on “Brussels lace,” the term for the foam that sticks to a glass in the wake of a fresh brew.
The space (formerly Mas restaurant) has been handsomely transformed, but for us beer nerds, our attention was fixed on the bar as soon as we walked in. Thirty-two numbered taps sprout from the wall, and a big chalkboard announces the current offerings. Drafts have been sourced from all over, including Belgians, Germans and many hard-to-find domestics. You can’t really go wrong here, and there’s bound to be something you’ve never tried. We went with Brasserie Dupont’s Biere de Miel, a rich, delightful Belgian made from honey.
The menu certainly delivers on the promise of bangers. Sheboygan veal brat, Louisiana-style hotlinks, smoked venison sausage and smoked chicken sausage (sold out when we stopped by) are just some of the enticing options. Uncertain how to proceed, we consulted the friendly bartender, who pointed us toward the Promised Land: the flat bread with Crawford Farm lamb merguez. Crispy and singing with Middle Eastern spice, the dish nicely complemented the semi-sweet Biere de Miel.
Non-sausage selections should not be ignored. The romaine salad gathers comforting flavors of fall and a variety of smoked ingredients—including the tangy buttermilk dressing, believe it or not. We only wish there were more of it in the bowl. The same can’t be said of the bland tallegio cheese dip that comes with the French fries, though; the tasty fries were better off without it. And for a place that prides itself on sausage, the vegetarian dog was not up to snuff. It tasted store-bought boring. No crunch to the skin, no spice. There are better out there. But all is forgiven after a bite of the superb truffle grilled cheese. B&L is worth a visit if for nothing else than this rich, creamy, decadent little sandwich.
In a city where you can get a beer and a hot dog practically anywhere, Bangers & Lace manages to be special. Chalk it up to the ever-changing beer selection, reasonable prices and mostly great food. We bet it’s going to be around for a while.
Bangers and Lace is located at 1670 W. Division St.
By Roger Kamholz