The tantalizing taste of a wood fire oven drives many highlights of the Ten Mile House menu.
Ten Mile House may only be a few months old, but they opened strong with a delicious menu of upscale comfort foods and a distinct, flavorful identity rolling out of their wood fire oven.
As we moved to our table through the open, contemporary space, the ambiance lulled us into the mindset of a relaxing, casual evening. Part of it comes from mood lighting created by their rustic, wooden, electric light fixtures, part of it is the excellent soundtrack of current alt-rock and electro-pop songs floating from the sound system; or maybe it’s the one painting on the wall—a psychedelic rendition of The Dude from the film The Big Lebowski with the word “Abide” written underneath him.
We started with the Seared Ahi Tuna, sliced and presented on a bed of apple jicama slaw and mild bitter greens, with avocado and French feta. The dish leans nicely on the feta and arugula, creating a lightly sweet undercurrent to the lean tuna centerpiece. We followed that up with the highlight of the starter menu, the Gruyere Fondue Gratin. It arrives still bubbling around the edges of a miniature cauldron, surrounded by scorch mark-lined baguette slices. Within the bubbling Swiss cheese are smoky wood roasted mushrooms, leeks, and crumbles of thick-cut bacon. The mushrooms and leeks add a hint of sweetness to the incredibly decadent creamy tone of the dish applied to the crunch of the grilled baguette. It is exquisite.
Along with our starters, we sampled a couple of their house cocktails. The E-Town Mule, combining FEW Bourbon with ginger beer and fresh lime is a more masculine take on the Moscow Mule, with a sharp bourbon bite in double old-fashioned glass. The 1836 has a smoky cinnamon vibe with a tequila tang, served in an elegant champagne saucer. It mixes El Jimador Reposado Tequila, Bénédictine herbal liqueur, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, and mole bitters.
Before moving onto the entrees, we decided the Smoked Brisket and Pork Shoulder Chili sounded too tempting to miss. This was our introduction to the way Ten Mile House combines wood-fire tenderness with barbecue flavors to push their flavors to the limit. The soft, shredded, slow cooked meat is a smoky foundation that gives the chili a rich BBQ flavor. Accompanied in a steaming bowl with beans and carrots, it has a lovely heat that sneaks up on you the more you eat.
With their big oven on display in the back of the room and a built-in shelf displaying their stacked firewood, their declaration of intent couldn’t be clearer. They back it all up with a quarter of their food menu taken up by Wood Fired Pizzas. The eponymous TMH pizza was absolutely fantastic. TMH BBQ sauce, white cheddar cheese, shredded pork shoulder, thick-cut bacon, roasted garlic, and crispy onions bedeck this culinary treat. The BBQ flavor comes through in every bite without overpowering its status as an honest-to-goodness bread, sauce, and cheese pizza pie. The Ten Mile House crust is crunchy, airy, and, once again, wood-fire singed. The smoked meats, crispy onions, and pizza crust combine to create a delicious and affordable gourmet pizza. Combined with any of their rotating local beers on draft from homegrown breweries like Temperance in Evanston or Revolution downtown, it’s the perfect meal for two or while watching a game on the flat screens at their bar.
If you’re looking for something a little more knife-and-fork oriented, their Spiced Pork Tenderloin is the best we’ve ever tasted. The slices of pork emerge from their oven perfectly flame kissed and scrumptiously tender. The Brussels sprouts roast up sweeter than usual while retaining their heartiness and arrive partially seared. The combination of the two on one plate is absolutely divine.
For desert we tried their Salted Caramel Mousse, plated picture perfect with a decorative drizzle of caramel and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Simultaneously creamy, sweet, and salty with a doughy crust and a thin chocolate layer sandwiched between caramel mousse layers, it tastes like a high class Heath bar.
Whether you’re looking for a weekend date night with wood fired entrees, or a weeknight family dinner with pizza and impressively stacked sandwiches, Ten Mile House has something smoky and mouthwatering with your name on it.
Ten Mile House is located at 1700 Central Street in Evanston, 847-905-0669, tmhevanston.com.
It’s easy to get lost in the deliriously smoky flavors emerging from the wood fire oven at Ten Mile House, so it’s nice to have one of their signature cocktails that revel in the burn.
Replacing the vodka of the Moscow Mule with bourbon creates a more masculine, fireside vibe to this tasty ginger-based cocktail.
El Jimador Reposado Tequila
This rolls up to the table in a sleek champagne glass and wraps the zesty tequila tang within layers of south of the border flavor accents.