Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pops for Champagne

Location: 601 N. State St., Chicago, IL 60611
Pops For Champagne on Urbanspoon

A Quick Word:
When Pops for Champagne first opened, I always thought it was a high-class bar that I could never afford.  I was completely wrong.  This champagne bar, located near Michigan Avenue, is a great bar that caters to all incomes.  They have the typical thousand dollar bottles of champagne, but offer champagne or wine by the glass.  Personally, I like the "by the glass" concept because it allows you to taste different types.  They also offer limited menu of snacks and sharing plates that have great flavors.  They are a little on the expensive side, so just be aware.  The atmosphere is very classy, yet loud.  People are laughing all around.  I definitely would recommend trying this champagne bar one or twice for special occasions.  I have decided to give them a 3.5 mile rating for an amazing atmosphere, yet food priced a little too steep for a student.

What We Ate:


The frites may be one of the best shared snacks to order.  I have been here a couple of times, and every time I order them.  They are fried to order and tossed in a garlic-truffle-brown butter sauce.  They are served with ketchup and a parmesan mayo.  The frites are extremely crispy and well seasoned, even without the ketchup.  They aren't the typical shoestring frites, but more like french fries.  And, thankfully, the truffle is not over powering.  You will be surprised how fast they will go... but at $6, you can afford to order another round.


I happen to love oysters, and luckily, everyone else did to.  We ended up ordering two dozen oysters (a dozen from east coast and a dozen from west coast).  The east coast oysters didn't have much flavor to them at all... just that clean, water flavor unless you loaded it up with their horseradish, homemade hot sauce, or a squeeze of lemon.  Personally, I liked the west coast oysters that had more of that briny flavor with a more firm texture.  Definitely try them without any sauces added.  At $25 per dozen, the price will add up quickly so be careful.


The mussels may be the best sharing seafood dish Pops has to offer.  Served in a typical white wine based sauce, the mussels are flavored with caramelized shallots and a dijon-thyme butter.  They sprinkle deep fried garlic chips on top and serve it with a couple slices of toasted baguette.  The mussels are plump and extremely fresh.  Make sure to dip them into the amazing sauce before eating.  Everyone at the table loved the white wine sauce, which was not too salty and had a strong thyme flavor.  Ask for extra toasted bread (the waitress will be happy to bring you some).  Let the baguette soak all the sauce before enjoying.  A must try!

Black Tiger Shrimp

On a whim, one of my brother's buddies ordered the black tiger shrimp dish.  Six shrimp come in an order, and we unfortunately had seven at our table.  The waitress was nice and somehow had the chef add an extra shrimp for all of us to try (thank you!).  The shrimp are descent sized... they are fried in a tempura batter and served with a pineapple-habanero sweet and sour sauce.  They are deveined and detailed so no worries about that.  The sauce was incredible.  Had a typical sweet and sour profile, but with a little quick from the habanero.  I wish there were more shrimp, or honestly, any fried food to dip into that sauce.

American Sparkling and Champagne

Personally, I do not drink much champagne or American sparkling.  We let a couple of my brother's friends choose the bottles.  I cannot comment on which I liked better, but having them side by side was nice because it allowed me to at least compare some of the differences.

The DOs/DON'Ts:
- They do take reservations for 8 people or more, but there is a $300 minimum for reservations.  That minimum is hit fairly quickly if you order a couple bottles of champagne/wine.
- They do serve champagne by the glass so if you just want to stop in and have a couple snacks and a glass that is perfectly fine.

- Minimal parking around this area unless you use a garage.

How far would I walk for this food?

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