Small restaurant and craft cocktail lounge makes big splash in Lincoln Park.
Chicagoans will have to get used to a new meaning of the term “drink special.” The newly-opened restaurant and craft cocktail lounge MörSo makes its debut on the scene.
The two-story Lincoln Park space was rehabbed in 4-weeks time and instantly became the latest and greatest date night destination for the city’s 20 and 30 somethings.Why? MörSo, which loosely translates as “to nibble,” was designed to be an intimate, comfortable, shared-plates dining destination. Guests are loving the warm and inviting feel, which includes sliding barn doors, oversized mirrors, modernized light-fixtures, and a cool, black-and-white color scheme.What’s not so black-and-white is the food and beverage program, manage by chef Matt Maroni (formerly of Gaztro Wagon food truck) and Matthew “Choo” Lipsky, the Libations Wizard.
First we’ll talk food. MörSo’s to-be-shared menu features several options centered around fish, game, and offal. I tasted the scallops, which were seared and served in a parmesan broth with spaghetti squash, poached pears, and pickled onion. Not only was this a textural masterpiece, but the flavors were spot-on.
Chef Matt shares the limelight with his bartender, Matthew “Choo” Lipsky. Even though he’s only been in Chicago a short time, Choo’s already made a mark, starting at The Southern before coming to MörSo. His hand-designed, “accessible” cocktail menu is designed to “break people out of their normal ordering patterns,” says a soft-spoken Choo, who mans the second floor, two-seated bar in a bow tie and vest.
Their signature cocktail list is recently edited to reflect the seasons change. Currently, it features winterized drinks like the Snowdrift, an alcoholic version of hot chocolate, complete with marshmallows and all. Choo mixed up a Red Azalea for me. Shaken and served up in a martini glass, the chilled drink included vodka and mulled Malbec, garnished with a rosemary and lemon. It was a delicious alternative to red wine or the typical martini.
For those looking to hit up MörSo, here are a couple tips and tricks for the experience:
- There’s only one bar with two seats. Get there early with your date to be the lucky ones eating across from the Libations Wizard. Otherwise, the upstairs has lounge seating for about 20 and serves from a different menu than in the main dining room downstairs.
- The bar’s “busy time” is about 7:30pm when diners are pre-gaming before their meal. Then again around 10:30 for after-dinner drinks. Choo, however, has mixing down to a science, so only a minutes wait for your cocktail.
- There is an extensive craft beer and wine list, which features more than 60 by-the-glass options.
- Depending on what you like or used to drinking, Choo is open to discuss a custom cocktail. If you don’t like what he makes, just say why and Choo will try another concoction to suit your tastes.
- Oh, and don’t forget to request the complimentary bread service-comes with house-baked Parkerhouse rolls, jalapeno cornbread, and a cinnamon raisin crisp with sea salt and truffle honey butter.
By Emily Belden