Monday, August 17, 2009

Foods of my labors

Posted By on 08.17.09 at 02:30 PM

Last week I spent a fair amount of time doing laborious data-scrubbing of our restaurant listings; by way of making lemonade from lemons, here are some of the more intriguing restaurants I discovered. I can't recommend them personally, but that's sort of the point: they're the places that piqued my interest enough to go on my list.

Chaihanna, 19 E. Dundee, Buffalo Grove

What I am assuming is the only Uzbek restaurant in Chicagoland. "On a typical weekend night you’ll find long tables filled with multigenerational parties sharing the plates of kebabs, blintzes, lamb chops, garlicky spiced eggplant, and pickled vegetables. Uzbek food is a cuisine of conquest and commerce, bearing the mark of the many ethnic groups that have passed through—or been forced through—the territory."

Mmmm, conquest and commerce.

Miss Lee's Good Food, 203-05 E. 55th Pl.

"Miss Lee is the Florence Nightingale of home-style granny food without a bit of fanciness or fuss." I never got to go to Gladys's Luncheonette, but it sounds like this is the next best thing, as its proprietor worked at the legendary south-side restaurant for 31 years.

La Cecina, 1943 W. 47th

"Other representative foods from Guerrero include a guajillo-spiked chicken soup in a bright red broth with fresh squash and carrot. This place is swimming with seafood: fried smelts were especially tasty spritzed with lime, and ceviche was helium light." Never had Guerrerense food before, so I'm curious.

Vito & Nick's Pizzeria, 8433 S. Pulaski Rd.

"The original Vito & Nick’s has reigned as the thin crust pizza of the south side since 1945. Its squadron of white-shirted dough boys is well trained, and great care is taken to ensure that pies emerge from the oven as nothing less than paragons of pie maker’s art." Oh hell yes.

Deta's Pita and More, 7555 N. Ridge

"'Pita' here is actually burek, here a delicious coil of phyllo dough enclosing cheese or meat. Deta, as she's universally known, is a motherly Montenegran native likely to invite you into her tiny kitchen to watch her make it."

Old Lviv Ukrainian Food Restaurant, 2228 W. Chicago Ave.

"A holdout from the days when Ukrainian Village was Ukrainian, Old Lviv still offers the traditional cuisine, from pierogi and blintzes to potatoes and sauerkraut, borscht and salad to schnitzel and stuffed cabbage." Actually, I went here last night, and loved it - it was what I wanted Red Apple to be (some people swear by that place, but I was disappointed). The sauerkraut and liver & onions were fantastic. My fiancee, who makes very good borscht, loved their version. It's a buffet, but a tiny one - maybe six or seven seats, with a 15-foot buffet table.

Habana Libre, 1440 W. Chicago

Now I'm cheating - I probably go here more than any other restaurant in Chicago. IMHO they do meat better than any restaurant in the city; I think I'd rather eat meat here than Honey 1 Barbeque.

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