After a solid year of success as an intimate live music venue, 118 North is upping the culinary ante with help from Biff Gottehrer, the breakout chef who’s made Ardmore’s Ripplewood Whiskey & Craft a force in the local dining scene. Think of 118N as Ripplewood West—except that this Ripp showcases national, regional and local talent on its well-appointed stage. Behind the bar, 118N mixologists curate spirited inspiration in the form of an aptly named lemon-tinged Irish whiskey concoction called the Muddy Waters and a creamy, lime-laced avocado margarita. Both are a far cry from what most area music venues pass off as cocktails.
The new menu boasts bold starters like buffalo octopus, crispy fried cheese curds, and barbecue pork ribs slicked with hoison sauce and studded with peanuts. A meal in themselves, the 118 Fries are a poutine-inspired mélange enriched with shredded brisket, curds and gravy. Burger varieties include ground pork belly and shoulder with bacon, lamb smothered in goat cheese and black garlic yogurt, and the more traditional North Burger blanketed in American and brie cheeses.
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Among the main-course highlights: branzino with burnt eggplant and sauce verte, grilled swordfish with broccoli and a zesty red chimichurri sauce, a downright comforting roasted chicken with crispy potatoes, cipollini onions and corn puree, and lemony mussels with chorizo and jalapeño. Be sure to save room for the Brookie, the same hot and chewy brownie-meets-blondie cookie you’ll find at Ripplewood.
Retaining the Ripp’s focus on quality while toning down the exotic edge, 118N’s elevated bar food holds its own against some stiff nearby competition.
118 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne, (610) 971-2628