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Clutch Food & Drink
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    Post #1 - August 25th, 2009, 9:01 am
    Post #1 - August 25th, 2009, 9:01 am Post #1 - August 25th, 2009, 9:01 am
    A new bar & grill has opened just south of the Twisted Spoke on Ogden and Grand. I have been driving by for months seeing it slowly evolve from an old auto shop into this little spot. I guess that's where the name comes from, since the menu items all revolve around automotive themes.

    The interior is pretty small, but they have it laid out nicely, with a poured cement floor, concrete-top bar, and various booths/banquettes around the room. The patio is pretty nice, triangle shape and comfy chairs. I sat outside after work yesterday and ordered the "Fishtail" tacos and Bell's Oberon (I need a beer whenever I have fish tacos, an unwritten law). The tacos were quite tasty and light, tilapia sauteed (not batter-fried) in white wine, onions and herbs and then topped with tomatoes, grated white cheese and sour cream. They came with amazingly good (IMHO) house-made chips, which were sprinkled with a savory seasoning salt. The house salsa was on the mild side, but still flavorful.

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    I would've ordered the "Clutcheasy Burger" if not for having been on a red meat orgy the previous weekend. It is described on the menu as a 1/3 lb burger topped with a 1/2 lb of grated cheddar and griddle-cooked under a hubcap until the cheese melts and creates a crispy "skirt" around the patty. Sounds damn good, so gotta go back soon!

    Clutch Food & Drink
    459 N. Ogden Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60642
    312-526-3450

    I believe they are now open for lunch now as well, 11am - 2am hours.
    - Mark

    Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Ham? Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
  • Post #2 - September 13th, 2009, 9:27 am
    Post #2 - September 13th, 2009, 9:27 am Post #2 - September 13th, 2009, 9:27 am
    I finally got back to Clutch last night and had the "Clutcheasy Burger" that I should've had on the first visit. As promised, it had the crunchy "skirt" of cheese around the burger.

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    Notice that there is a lump under the 1/2 lb of melted cheese. That would be the 1/3 lb burger and bottom half of the bun. The burger came dressed with shredded lettuce, diced tomato and red onion, along with sweet pickle coins and a bunch of fries on the plate. It was $8-9 so a pretty dang good deal, IMHO.

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    Here is the burger "in action" after I added some mustard and put it together (sorry for the poor flash of my BB photo). I actually tore off some of the crunchy cheese skirt initially just to get to the burger, as the skirt makes for a pretty good natural (?) burger defense against predators. If you look closely you will notice the french fry "clingons" wanting to be part of the cheesy deliciousness? It went very well with the Beamish Stout on draft.

    The crunchy cheese was really tasty, reminding me of the chicharrones de queso I had last weekend at El Charcho in Mexico City.

    I wanted to try a few other things, but this plate was more than plentiful to satiate my appetite. The "Bleu Fries" appetizer (or side dish) intrigued me, and luckily a table nearby ordered it and let me snap a photo (they were amused at my food geek leanings).

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    A plate of fries topped with crumbled bleu cheese and bacon. What's not to love?

    Adam (the bartender/manager) told me that his favorite was the "Caliente Fries" which are fries tossed in hot wing sauce and then topped with bleu cheese. hmmm...next time.

    Here's some non-food shots of the place:

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    View from my barstool of the interior (well, half of it) and the roll-up garage doors leading to the patio.

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    View from the sidewalk of the patio and looking into the bar area.

    It was a beautiful night for sitting on the patio, but it was pretty full and I was by myself, so I sat at the bar and watched the USC/OSU game. Interesting mix of people from the neighborhood, some eating and some just drinking.
    - Mark

    Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Ham? Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
  • Post #3 - September 13th, 2009, 9:31 am
    Post #3 - September 13th, 2009, 9:31 am Post #3 - September 13th, 2009, 9:31 am
    Does the "Clutcheasy Burger" come with a side order of Lipitor? Damn that looks good! :D
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny
  • Post #4 - September 13th, 2009, 9:45 am
    Post #4 - September 13th, 2009, 9:45 am Post #4 - September 13th, 2009, 9:45 am
    I believe they have a defibrillator behind the bar :lol:
    - Mark

    Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Ham? Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
  • Post #5 - September 13th, 2009, 11:00 pm
    Post #5 - September 13th, 2009, 11:00 pm Post #5 - September 13th, 2009, 11:00 pm
    wino66 wrote:
    the 1/2 lb of melted cheese.



    I'm assuming that's an estimate? Looks tasty, if challenging!

    Love,
    John

    EDIT: Never mind, just saw that it is not, in fact, an estimate. Wow.
    It isn't that I'm not full...
  • Post #6 - September 17th, 2009, 1:15 pm
    Post #6 - September 17th, 2009, 1:15 pm Post #6 - September 17th, 2009, 1:15 pm
    I was wondering if it was fast enough to pick up a too go order while waiting at the Bert's car wash? Seems like an entrepreneur would do something to take advantage of the long lines on sunny days.
  • Post #7 - October 3rd, 2009, 10:02 am
    Post #7 - October 3rd, 2009, 10:02 am Post #7 - October 3rd, 2009, 10:02 am
    Stopped in yesterday for a quick lunch. Went for the hot dog this time...deep-fried, since boiled, steamed and grilled have been done right?

    Image

    It was quite tasty, no batter or anything, but a light crunch to the skin. It came with crunchy, lightly seasoned fries and the side garnishes of diced red onion, tomato and a housemade sauce of mayo, dijon mustard, shallot and dill pickle.

    Not the cheapest dog in town at $6, but the $3 pint of PBR makes for a great pairing.
    - Mark

    Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Ham? Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
  • Post #8 - November 7th, 2009, 12:44 pm
    Post #8 - November 7th, 2009, 12:44 pm Post #8 - November 7th, 2009, 12:44 pm
    Tried the nachos this time. Very tasty and a perfect amount for my single-diner lunch.

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    I liked the presentation with the individually-topped chips, and the side of guacamole was very generous (could have used a touch more sour cream for my liking, though.) I think the price was $7 for this appetizer.

    Side note: gentlemen, please visit the men's room as they have installed artwork that will knock your proverbial socks off! All I have to say is the framed photo collection puts Jerry Kleiner's photos to shame. Seriously. I'm curious if they have had customers spend extended periods of time in there "appreciating" the artwork. :shock:
    - Mark

    Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Ham? Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
  • Post #9 - February 21st, 2010, 6:11 pm
    Post #9 - February 21st, 2010, 6:11 pm Post #9 - February 21st, 2010, 6:11 pm
    I'm told by the owners that a new and expanded menu will be debuting any day (a few items going away, and adding flatbreads and other goodies). They are doing some more specials, and I snapped a shot of their board a few days ago for your perusal.

    Image
    - Mark

    Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Ham? Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
  • Post #10 - March 13th, 2010, 1:59 pm
    Post #10 - March 13th, 2010, 1:59 pm Post #10 - March 13th, 2010, 1:59 pm
    I stopped in for lunch recently and even though they haven't finalized their new, expanded menu, I tried one of the specials that will find a home on the new menu.

    Paul, one of the managers, suggested this dish. Inspired by the Indy classic, it's a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich, served with fries and pickles. I've had one before at the Mug 'n' Bun in Indy, and this was right up there with it.

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    Dang tasty, added a bit of yellow mustard (traditional condiment) and in the belly! A nice Bell's draft to accompany.
    - Mark

    Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Ham? Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
  • Post #11 - March 13th, 2010, 4:55 pm
    Post #11 - March 13th, 2010, 4:55 pm Post #11 - March 13th, 2010, 4:55 pm
    Excuse me a moment as I mop up the puddle of drool.

    Man, it's been ages since I've had a really delicious breaded pork tenderloin sammy
    and that looks really awesome.

    I'll probably add a little catsup to it but will use more mustard than anything else.

    The Bell's will be perfect with it.
  • Post #12 - May 5th, 2010, 8:36 am
    Post #12 - May 5th, 2010, 8:36 am Post #12 - May 5th, 2010, 8:36 am
    I popped in for a mid-afternoon bite on Monday, and hadn't yet tried the "Skewed Skewers" which is on the appetizer menu. Choice of chicken or steak, with veggies and 2 dipping sauces. I was thinking they would be like satay skewers, but they came out more like kabobs, which was a cool surprise.

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    They were seasoned liberally along with onion and green, red and orange bell peppers. The 2 sauces are shallot cream salsa and lime-cilantro-jalapeno salsa. Both the sauces had nice flavor and balanced the savory seasoning on the skewers. The chicken was moist and the veggies had a slight carmelization too, which I love.

    $7.50 and enough of a snack for 2 people, but made a nice late lunch for me.
    - Mark

    Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Ham? Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
  • Post #13 - May 5th, 2010, 9:48 am
    Post #13 - May 5th, 2010, 9:48 am Post #13 - May 5th, 2010, 9:48 am
    WOW does that look good!
  • Post #14 - July 30th, 2010, 7:08 am
    Post #14 - July 30th, 2010, 7:08 am Post #14 - July 30th, 2010, 7:08 am
    I finally decided to tackle the new version of their burger. I ran a 5k race last night and even though that's not QUITE justification for devouring a huge-arse burger, I made the leap.

    The new menu is more expansive, with plenty of apps and entrees, even a few desserts! They now have a beer and cocktail list in addition to the wine list, great selection of craft beers and house cocktails.

    The "clutcheesyburger" has morphed into the "Clutchcharcheddarbodaciousbaconburger" and is a large sirloin patty topped with sharp white cheddar, a fried egg, Nueske bacon and then fresh veggies, and served with fresh-cut fries. It's thirteen bucks, but well worth the expense. Actually, two people could share this thing. I got 3/4 through and said "well, might as well finish it" and soon afterward slipped into a food coma.

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    Yes, the title on the menu is Clutchcharcheddarbodaciousbaconburger
    - Mark

    Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Ham? Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
  • Post #15 - August 21st, 2010, 9:53 pm
    Post #15 - August 21st, 2010, 9:53 pm Post #15 - August 21st, 2010, 9:53 pm
    I am really starting to become a regular here. First time I had the fish tacos pictured above, they were good, but only three nacho chips were involved, and really if they are not baja style, I shouldn't get them. the cheese plate was outstanding, oh that fig jam. The salad I had tonight with the black beans, corn, cheese etc, was delicious. The homemade dressing was tart with vinegar. I could eat this every day. Tried the steak frites. addicting. Almost too rich with the feta on top. The cilantro jalapeno sauce on top is not too hot, but spicy and flavorful, frites perfect. Also had the shrimp diavolo, could have been spicier for me. topped off with the tiny donuts and milkshake. Reminded me of cinnamon toast when I was a kid. This place is better than it needs to be for a bar. I hope it stays in the neighborhood a long time.
  • Post #16 - August 22nd, 2010, 10:57 am
    Post #16 - August 22nd, 2010, 10:57 am Post #16 - August 22nd, 2010, 10:57 am
    Nicinchic, I heartily agree with your take on Clutch. It's a nice neighborhood bar, and the menu (especially after the recent additions) is very well-executed. I was working my way through the menu until Matt changed it up and doubled the number of choices. I think it's great that there are many more shareable apps, and more entrees too. Desserts is a nice touch, and makes it more of a dining destination rather than "hey, why don't we get some sustenance to support our drinking" kind of a place. I'll have to try the steak frites, sounds very tasty.

    The staff is also very friendly, and Matt is always adding/changing the artwork which gives the place another layer of ambience. I hope they are around for many years to come as well!
    - Mark

    Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Ham? Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.

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