Restaurants 

restaurants

CANNIBAL--2707 W Erie. Nonvegetarian. This modest west-side bistrette brings an exotic touch to an up-and-coming neighborhood. Chef-host Luke Chartreuse specializes in South Sea Island native cuisines, with a robust, contemporary twist. The menu goes heavy on human flesh, but preparations are unique: Try a trio of pecan-crusted thigh medallions coated with an apple-walnut glaze, perfectly accompanied by an array of delicately seasoned finger gnocchis. The sauteed whole baby, topped with chipotle tuna butter and served alongside a portobello pacifier, is a singular experience. Lunch; dinner. oagr $$

CHUCKY T'S--2025 Lincoln Park West. Home-style. Personal service distinguishes this supercasual outlet from Charlie Trotter, Chicago's master restaurateur. Trotter, who's married, has brilliantly re-created a bachelor's apartment. Diners are invited to Trotter's "home," where they choose among seating opportunities in his kitchen, living room, walk-in closet/dressing room, and bathroom. Then "Chucky T" himself, clad only in an undershirt and plaid boxers, serves healthy takes on what he calls "lazy bachelor cuisine." Among the more inspired offerings are mustard-soaked tuna, brought forth on a plate of coarse, salty Triscuits, and chicken breast sauteed in a little oil and a little soy sauce, served with toasted white bread and a very small piece of broccoli. The impressive wine list includes many lesser-known Blossom Hills, and the impressive dessert offerings include chocolate pudding. Lunch and dinner, unless Trotter decides to order in. xar7shr $$$$$$$

FUSION--2136 N Clark. African, Antarctican, Asian, Australian, European, North American, South American. Airy, clever Lincoln Park joint combining decor and dining from all seven continents. Customers sit in terra-cotta igloos or Serengeti-dusted Quonset huts. Soaring vaulted ceilings and mounted animal heads, both endangered species and not, add a homey touch. Chef Sara Miller's food changes seasonally and reflects the best the world has to offer: Water-buffalo ravioli is a triumph with lemongrass corn bread, and tender wallaby kebabs are perfectly accompanied by yucca roots slathered with bechamel sauce and a walrus blubber coulis. Desserts include delicious candied penguin eggs and a smoky but satisfying baklava. Open 24 hours, in all time zones. 0FighD $$

PUFF PUFF MICROBREWERY--1707 W Armitage. American. Food consumption takes a backseat to drinking and smoking at this spacious Bucktown pub. Patrons can choose from 6,500 home brews, including the delightful boysenberry-tinted, oak-hinted Loft Living Lager, the peanutty Swing Jazz Pale Ale, and the unadulterated Tastes Like Schlitz. Puff Puff also serves up a mind-boggling selection of Belizean cigars, Guatemalan cigarettes, Sudanese brandies, and Swedish whiskeys. Chef Tod Hackett's kitchen churns out simple dishes like popcorn, peanuts, and pretzels, served family-style in large bowls. Lunch; dinner. Closed Tuesday through Friday for cleaning. htgš $$

RIG 'N' SWIG--3702 N Elston. American. Hipsters meet the merely curious at this Levy outlet, inspired by, if not totally faithful to, a small-town truck stop. Attention to detail has been meticulously paid, down to the gift store, which sells such items as chain-secured wallets and presoiled jeans to help you look your trucker best. Actors dressed as truckers sit at the Formica counter, and pinch you if you're purty. Truck-stop classics such as meat loaf, biscuits and gravy, and hot turkey sandwiches cram the grease-stained menus, but for the more discerning palate there are some more unconventional offerings, like Brie tortellini in an almond pesto sauce and honey-glazed grouper served with a whipped sweet potato tartlet. And, of course, free air. Breakfast served 24 hours. oìªg $

YOU GO GIRL--1212 W 63rd. Korean-Soul. This no-nonsense little Korean-owned spot gleefully captures the spirit of Chicago's ethnically changing neighborhoods. Bi bim bop and chap chae are served alongside chitterlings and smothered chicken, with your choice of utensils--plastic chopsticks or wood. Regulars at the lunch counter engage in a running debate over which tastes worse, greens or kim chee, with no conclusion having been reached as yet. Lunch; dinner. DUnb ¢

ZOLA'S CAFE--3503 N Milwaukee. Polish. This neighborhood family restaurant reportedly whips up some of the most delicious food anywhere, but we can't tell you for sure. Every time we call, the owners say, "We have no interest in sharing our decades-old recipes with a bunch of dilettantes looking for 'adventurous' eating. Let us run our restaurant and leave us alone." Breakfast; lunch; dinner. xckr $

DAN'S CRIB--7509 W Chan. Nonvegetarian, French. This charming new offering from our advertisers at Lettuce Entertain You, Inc., combines elegant Parisian bistro fare with the retro feel of a 1950s roadside diner. Start with a delightful goose-liver milkshake, then move on to a beautifully-composed Roquefort Velveeta tart. Chef du maison Jean-Claude Cunningham's restlessly inventive kitchen is constantly fabricating new classics, such as a garlicky, hickory-smoked quarter-pound snail burger, and the house speciality, choucroute a l'Eisenhower. Roller-skating, Gum-chomping, beret-wearing waitrons annoy in every possible way. Breakfast; lunch; dinner; Brunch. oìªg $

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