First off, The Boarding House—Alpana Singh's gargantuan new multi-story River North project—really is as stunning as every one claims, though I suppose that will happen when you hang roughly 9,000 wine glasses above your bar. (Click here for proof.) But as great as the bar area is, I actually prefer the grand third floor dining room more (plus, the 4000 thousand wine bottles hanging from its ceiling help). Obviously, The Boarding House cares about its vino, but what else would you expect from a master sommelier?
Even with all the wine being swirled around, the atmosphere is jovial, the opposite of stuffy. Which explains why I didn't feel the least bit self-conscious setting my silverware aside, grasping a leg of Edith's Fried Chicken ($12), and chowing down like I was at Harold's Chicken Shack. Though the crust initially looks slightly too dark, one bite affirms that it's simply well seasoned and crusty, an ideal casing for the juicy chicken underneath.
Of course, what truly differentiates The Boarding House's version is what you'll be drinking. Who knew that wine could pair so well with fried chicken?