Monday, July 30, 2018

A Place By Damao

-Grubbing in Chicago
Chengdu Street Food in Bridgeport

One of the more buzzed about restaurants in 2017 was a Place By Damao. It's located on Halsted in Bridgeport in a strip mall that's all Chinese businesses including a few restaurants. I'd thought about doing a post showcasing all three spots worth dining but then I went to Damao and realized it deserves it's own post. Chicago's Chinatown is the only in the country to be still growing and not with gentrification but rather with new Chinese restaurants and businesses. It's seeing more new restaurants than ever before. In fact it's kind of spreading into Bridgeport where Halsted street is seeing a steady uptick in Chinese restaurants opening. A Place By Damao is the cream of the crop.

They specialize in the regional street food of Chengdu, China. Aside from maybe Mexican there's no food that's more regional than Chinese. Of late the spicy delights from Chengdu have been gaining popularity in the States. But why? My guess is kids are now getting into the restaurant business instead of avoiding it all completely. It used to be you worked at your parents restaurant in Chinatown excited for the day you finally got to switch careers after college. But what I'm seeing now is younger people in the Chinese community opening restaurants. Damao is one of them. We were greeted with enthusiastic hello's by the young staff who was excited to have us. There's very good energy here.

Spicy Potatoes, Handmade Bell Dumplings, Handmade Spicy Noodles with Peanuts 

The menu has a section of exotic stuff such as roasted pig feet and also duck neck. But I'm not big on gelatinous foods. So I'll save those for if Mark Wiens ever calls me asking me to show him Chicago's food scene. We kind of stuck with stuff we knew and were pretty much blown away by the fantastic flavors and the heat that came with them. The spicy potatoes with secret seasoning are said to be a favorite on the streets in Chengdu and man were they addictive. They just need to learn the art of the double fry. Those will be some of the best fries anywhere when they do. Handmade dumplings were so soft and tender yet amazingly sturdy not breaking apart when picked up. The noodle dish is served cold with lots of spicy oil sitting underneath with chopped peanuts. It's one of those dishes that's perfect on a hot summer night. Crispy fried rib bits were lip smacking good. But also lip licking spicy. Still I couldn't stop eating them popping one after the other like I was enjoying popcorn at the movies. All in all it was one of my favorite meals this year. I plan on putting them in my regular rotation. Check out the Fooditor Southside Food Tour for a chance to eat here amongst other spots.

Spicy Rib Bits at A Place By Damao

A Place By Damao
2621 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 929-2088

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