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Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty
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Feature Archive 'Restaurant Reviews'

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« Previous Entries

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09.02.10

Gettin My Goat

Restaurant Reviews


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Who names their restaurant after a bestiality porn video? I mean, c’mon Stephanie Izard, don’t you have PR people who are supposed to vet that stuff? You’re practically best buds with Spike from Top Chef. Dude clearly watches lots of seedy stuff – he could have given you the heads up that a Google search for your restaurant would be illegal. More »

05.20.09

Slow Ride

Restaurant Reviews


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In my fourteenth year I had the good fortune of befriending a teenage entrepreneur and a crew of stoner pizza makers. The entrepreneur, my buddy Mike, was the proud owner of a lucrative paper route as well as a premier lawn-care business in Shelby Township, Michigan. Even before Mike could drive, he had a fleet of commercial walk-behinds and tractors, and a shiny trailer to haul them. He was generating mid-five figures while I was still begging my mom for quarters to secure Slurpees at 7-11. More »

05.13.09

Good for the Goose

Restaurant Reviews


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Why’s Russell Crowe wearing a chef’s coat and standing in the lobby at Goose Island Clybourn? Maybe craft brewing has finally reached the tipping point and he’s studying up for a role in a beer version of “Sideways.” I can see it now, Crowe bellied up to some tavern next to his sidekick, maybe Steve Zahn, bellowing, “I am NOT drinking any fucking IPA.” More »

05.11.09

Twin Tale: A Sandwich Slugfest

Restaurant Reviews


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If Chicago’s newest gourmet sandwich shops Birchwood Kitchen in Wicker Park and Lunch Rolls in the Loop were twins, they’d be Julius and Vincent Benedict from the 1988 film, “Twins.” In case you’ve forgotten the plot, and really who could blame you, Julius and Vincent were the product of a secret experiment to create the perfect child from six different fathers. While the exercise spawned the superior intellectual/physical specimen of Julius (Arnold Schwarzenegger) it also created a fraternal twin, Vincent (Danny Devito) made from the leftover genetic garbage. Neither Birchwood nor Lunch Rolls is particularly deficient like Vincent (in fact they’re both pretty decent options for their respective hoods), but as sandwich-slinging brethren they’re definitely opposites. More »

05.04.09

Like a Good Neighbor

Restaurant Reviews


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For five years, I’ve been a food writer without a country, or at least a great neighborhood restaurant to call my own. You might protest that as a West Loop denizen, I’ve been luckier than most, what with the glittering jewel of restaurant row on Randolph and carnivorous visions of glistening lamb spit-roasting in my Greek-joint-littered backyard. But expensive, even if inspired, lacquered glitterati-filled palaces and ethnic-focused conveyor-belt kitchens do not a neighborhood restaurant make. The bustle of such places may boil the blood, but they do not stir one’s soul. More »

03.16.09

Checking Out Clandestino

Restaurant Reviews


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As I went to the ladies’ room, I really felt like I should pick up a dish towel. More »

03.03.09

Haute Cuisine

Restaurant Reviews


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There’s just something about Bruno. And tonight, I aim to please him. How else explain that, though I’m a 32-year-old straight dude who shops entirely too much at Old Navy, I’m more skittish than a red-carpet-roving Hollywood starlet caught in the crossfire gazer beams of Joan Rivers and Steven Cojocaru? More »

02.23.09

Spicy Smackdown

Restaurant Reviews


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With all the truth-seeking, moneyed, mid-life-crisis-experiencing entrepreneurs “climbing” Mt. Everest, it’s surprising there hasn’t been a nationwide boom in Nepalese cuisine. After all, in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the counter-culture got tired of smoking peyote and mainlining Mexican mezcal, they returned to the States bearing larded beans, chimichangas and burritos as big as your head. But, while young reformed hippies needed to build a life and make some money, flush hedge-fund managers don’t quite need sidelines beyond month-long sojourns to the Turks and Caicos or weekend benders at Maybach dealerships. And so our nation suffers a culinary debt. More »

02.17.09

Guy Talk

Restaurant Reviews


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How many guys does it take to make a great burger? Based on my recent experience at Five Guys in Oak Park, it’s definitely more than five. Of course, quantity probably doesn’t matter, as McDonald’s Corporation employs hundreds of thousands of people and they’ve yet to get it right. More »

02.08.09

Sweet on Senegal

Restaurant Reviews


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I don’t know if Diaw Sow, owner/chef of Café Senegal in Rogers Park, has seen “Field of Dreams,” but she clearly doesn’t agree with the movie’s tagline that if you build it, they will come. Or, rather: if you cook it, they will come. Because the restaurant is so new and because of her concern for freshness, she’s waiting for customer traffic to increase before she expands her selection. As a result, though her French-inflected West African-style printed menu features forty or so items, you’ll likely only be able to order a handful on any given night. More »

01.18.09

Sandwich Safari

Restaurant Reviews


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Prior to Hurricane Katrina, the word “debris” had one meaning in New Orleans. It was an iconic roast beef po-boy served at 401 Poydras Street at the corner of Tchoupitoulas at a spot called Mother’s. The lore is that a customer asked original owner Simon Landry to add the bits of roast beef that had fallen into the gravy while Landry was carving slices for the customer’s sandwich to his bun. Landry allegedly replied “You mean some of the debris?” More »

01.05.09

Chewin’ on Chickpea

Restaurant Reviews


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Judging by the cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” by Israeli-French singer Yael Naim playing over Palestinean café Chickpea’s sound system, the Arab-Israeli conflict doesn’t have much purchase here. That’s no surprise, though,as pretty much everything here is a touch askew. More »

01.04.09

Loafin’ Around

Restaurant Reviews


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As anyone who’s ever seen the films “Serial Mom” or “Mommy Dearest” knows, you don’t mess with mother. But, Cynthia Kallile, chef/owner of The Meatloaf Bakery, isn’t quaking in her kitchen clogs. She’s ready to go baking mitt to baking mitt with the assurance that she’s got the best meatloaf you’ve ever tasted. More »

12.07.08

New Kid on the Neapolitan Block

Restaurant Reviews


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antica

Whoever said all roads lead to Rome must have been suffering from some Caesarian nostalgia. When it comes to ancient Italy, Naples is the crown jewel. After all, this is where pizza is said to have been born. Like Jesus in Bethlehem, this storied city in the country’s southern boot lays proud claim to one of humanity’s finest gifts: thin, slightly chewy, delicately dressed, blast-heated, Neapolitan style pies. Chicago may be celebrated as the deep dish breadbasket, but the current rash of new Neapolitan influenced joints attests that there’s a much different demand afoot locally. The relatively new Antica Pizzeria in Andersonville claimed to satisfy this demand. More »

12.04.08

Back up to Big Buns

Restaurant Reviews


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hummus

I like Big Buns and I cannot lie. Though, as with foie gras, Alderman Joe Moore apparently does not. According to a recent local story by Martha Bayne about Sahara Kabob, the artist formerly known as Big Buns and Pita restaurant, Moore asked the owners to take down their pseudo-Vegas like marquee in favor of a more “genteel” awning. More »

12.02.08

King of the Court

Restaurant Reviews


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noodle

This weekend, I was chowing down in a mall food court and Tommy Hilfiger was foremost on my mind. It was as if I were reliving my junior high glory days, those times when my mom stuffed me and my posse into the back of our teal Lincoln Town Car, aka the “land yacht” (a nod to its two-and-a-half-Chicago-parallel-parking-space-inhabiting body length) and dropped us off for a parentless afternoon to unleash mayhem on the mall. More »

11.02.08

I Can See for Miles

Restaurant Reviews


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cuba

In a month, when you’re digging your car out of six inches of dirty, slushy snow, you likely won’t mistake Chicago for the sunny climes of Miami or Tampa. But, right now, with the sun still peeking through the clouds, and the fact that, like sushi joints and the taquerias before, there now seems to be a Cuban sandwich joint on every corner, you can be forgiven if you think you’re in Florida. More »

10.14.08

Breaking Down the Bristol

Restaurant Reviews


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Pork Belly Bristol

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but ripping someone off is just a recipe for bad karma. With that in mind, The Bristol, Bucktown’s new Midwestern-inspired trattoria, might be headed for some bad vibes.

I’m not saying this just because The Bristol has a chalkboard menu. Gil Langlois’ Lincoln Square restaurant Chalkboard has, yep, chalkboard menus. Tufano’s Vernon Park Tap and half the red sauce joints in Little Italy have them, and before desktop publishing, so did every little bistro. It’s also not because The Bristol has a communal table; so did my grandmother’s house and Avec. More »

10.06.08

Burger Battle

Restaurant Reviews


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marcburger

Not since Karl Marx and Martin Luther have manifestos been so hot. Though these days, the protesting masses aren’t quite the blood-spattered, frothy-mouthed rabble they once were. Rather, like blogs, the green movement and plastic bracelets etched with catchphrases, i.e. anything that was once relevant or cool, corporations have also co-opted the yearning declaration for their marketing purposes. More »

10.02.08

Think Outside the Bell

Restaurant Reviews


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tamal

Before we talk about the new Printers Row taco joint, Flaco’s, let’s start with a brush-up Spanish lesson. “Guey, tienes guacamole en la barba,” translates to “dude, there’s guacamole on your chin.”, the utterance of which is a greatly appreciated act of common courtesy. Then there’s “tu vas a acabar ese burrito? Si? Oye Mira, alli esta Angelina Jolie!” This, of course means “are you going to finish that burrito? You are? Hey look, there’s Angelina Jolie!” This phrase will aid as a handy distraction while you swipe the burrito remnants off your companion’s plate. Finally, be sure and study the phrase “es legal comer un taco, si estoy usando leiderhosen?” Because you never know when you might have to ask “is it legal to eat a taco if I’m wearing leiderhosen?” More »


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