Chilling at Freestyle
Don't assume the Freestyle’s industrial look will give you the cold shoulder, the deep leather booths wrap you up like a blanket and outdoor seating is good option while the weather is warm. Just south of Chicago Ave, this is a River North style restaurant without all of the Hubbard / Illinois St. hoopla.
The Freestyle concept is casual with array of flavors, shareable plates, and sustainable ingredients that bring an elevated yet approachable experience.
My buddy Rudy and I were invited to try a few items off the menu and like all good diners we started the meal with a few drinks. Resisting the urge to order the Big Apple, a perfect for autumn cherry, cinnamon and bourbon cocktail, we grasped the last few straws of summer with the Ginifique, a Bombay Sapphire based drink that will help you forget Labor Day is just around the corner.
From there we dove into nearly a dozen small plates including the firecracker chicken wings and the tasty deviled eggs with crispy chicken skin and buffalo sauce, a few sushi rolls and sweet homemade desserts.
In a word, solid! Freestyle offers a little bit of everything and they do it well across the board. From braised short rib made with parsnips, red wine sauce and crispy brussels sprouts to a myriad of sushi, everything that comes out of the kitchen is good.
Coming from a low key suburban family, one of my biggest issues with River North is that I love the scene but the blaring music and crowds don't fit with my relaxed parents. Freestyle bridges the gap by offering options to meet any palate in a stylish but in casual setting that allow for conversations that don't require elevated voices.
I'm not sure when the next time my parents will pass through the city, but Freestyle will be on our agenda. In the meantime this is a versatile date spot, and with Vertigo upstairs you can keep the drinks flowing late into the night.