-Grubbing in ChicagoNew to the 'Scene'
Sometimes I get sucked into a place by social media. Results can vary. Luckily the team behind this hip Turkish and Spanish spot at the Hoxton Hotel has a great track record. Whether Chicago being dominated by restaurant groups is a good thing is a discussion for another day. But the folks at Boka Restaurant Group are damn good at what they do. If it wasn't them behind Cira I'm not sure I would've had any interest. It's location in a hotel on Green st. in the Fulton Market District is a bit of a foreign place to me. So much so I felt like a tourist when we came here. It was packed with people many of who were dragging luggage. Others were posing for pictures on the property in hope of lots of likes.
Newly Opened in Fulton Market
Cira is located on the downstairs floor next to the hotel bar. This means the scene is pretty rocking as far as atmosphere. Don't expect a quiet night at the restaurant as it's one big open space between the bar and Cira. The kitchen is at the end and it's also open which makes for more noise. This is without a doubt a spot for the younger crowd. That said the food isnt your typical upscale bar food. The folks at Boka are hopping on board with the current trend in Turkish food which is a mixture of Eastern European, Mediterranean, Central Asian, and more. It's long been one of the worlds more underrated cuisines as it goes all the way back to the Ottoman Empire. The menu also has Spanish influence which I believe is where an appetizer of fried olives comes from. Described as " Crispy Castelvetrano Olives" they come served over a basmati rice crema and topped with lavender honey.
Crispy Castelvetrano Olives at Cira
The smell of fresh made pita kept passing by to other tables so we were sold. They serve them hot with a hummus made from brown butter, chicken chorizo verde, and pumpkin seeds. As you can see in the pic they toast up the pita really nicely and that adds another dimension of flavor. Delicious.
Brown Butter Hummus at Cira
The dish that got me in were the Manti. Turkish dumplings are the product of Central Asian influence. That of the Mongol Empire to be exact. Found on the pasta section of the menu this is a good place to look as far as what you're going to get to eat at Cira. That's bc the folks at Boka are one of the city's best pasta purveyors. Little dumplings are stuffed with lamb and then steamed and served in a yogurt and charred tomato sauce. I loved these as I suspected I would. Of course my only complaint was I could have ate about 30 more pieces as I had to share this dish with the wife who also very much liked it. I could see myself stopping in for this if I'm ever back that way - that's a pretty big if.
Manti Dumplings at Cira
The Duck Leg Confit is another dish I would definitely recommend. The trend of small plates isn't practiced with this one. It's $38 but can surely feed two people. Served with the Persian classic known as Tahdig aka crispy rice. It's topped with sour cherries and toasted almonds. Both the duck and the rice were extremely well done. Not just that but the amount of food on the plate was so much we got breakfast out of it the next morning when I crisped up the duck and served it with rice and eggs. One good thing about Cira's hotel location means they're open all day and so they also do breakfast/brunch and lunch. I imagine you can also get it via room service and that's cool for guests.
Duck Leg Confit at Cira
200 N Green St
Chicago, IL 60607
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