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First Look: Villains

By Melissa McEwen in Food on Jun 5, 2015 8:00PM

It was way back last spring when we first toured the re-vamped Villains (730 S. Clark St.) in the South Loop. Wood paneled and shiny, it was a far departure from the dive bar ambience of the original. But then we heard nothing for a year. And then suddenly we heard it was "soft" open with 40 Mikkeller Beers on tap and we had to rush over.

Mikkeller is a Danish vagabond brewery with a cult following. In San Francisco there is an entire Mikkeller bar, but for a bit Villains was our own version. There are quite a lot of them still on tap this week, including the Salt, a wild ale that's yes, salty, and Juice Bag, a bright tart Oud Bruin style sour. But ones that ran out have been well replaced with some great esoteric beers from across the country like Prairie Artisan Ales's Birra Farmhouse ale.

Scallops (photo by Melissa McEwen)

It's also the first place I've seen Mikkeller's spirits, made in Braunstein Distillery. They have a short cocktail menu that's focused on them including Mikkel Island, made with Mikkeller's Black Version R (made from distilled stout and aged in rum barrels) spirit, Malort, lemon and pineapple.

Trout with roasted radishes (photo by Melissa McEwen)

We were surprised to see that the chef from the preview, Dennis Stover (formerly of Hot Chocolate), was still on board, serving up New American fare like beautifully seared scallops in a meaty savory broth, crispy trout and tender fatty pork belly. It's good to see this kind of place open in the South Loop. You can see the full menu at Eater.