Friday, May 28, 2021

Sugar Blow

 -Grubbing in Chicago
Venezuelan Sweets and Sandwiches in Boystown

A visit to the Venezuelan owned Sugar Blow feels like you're visiting an Instagram influencers studio. I remember when they first opened around nine months ago and the pictures on both google and Instagram were in the 100's and in the case of google they were obviously taken by a professional photographer and likely posted by the owner. It's located on Broadway in the middle of Boystown so it's flamboyant style fits right in. Sugar Blow is both a sandwich shop and a dessert emporium. All of it designed to look good on the gram. It has some very much overplayed neon hanging on the wall inside and some Boystown type art on the opposite wall. A big dessert case sits next to the register. 

Recently Opened in Boystown 

Over the last five years or so Chicago has gone from virtually no Venezuelan restaurants to what's now a couple handfuls worth of options. It's not all a feel good story though as many of the people behind these newly opened restaurants came to the United States to escape unrest in Venezuela. Many have opened restaurants as a means of making a living and also to feed many of those that have recently relocated and might be looking for a taste of the old country. Sugar Blow serves up some of the better Tequenos I've tried which admittedly aren't my favorite snack but also not something I intentionally avoid. My biggest beef with Venezuelan style cheese sticks is they're most always made ahead of time and thus served with cheese that's not well melted. That said these were pretty warm with a tasty tarter like sauce served on the side for dipping. Very popular in Venezuela. 

Venezuelan Tequenos

Lots of online reviews mention the sandwiches and the baguettes they use to build some of their interesting sandwich options. The bread is baked in house and comes stuffed with options like steak or chicken. The meats are grilled and then chopped down and all of the sandwiches come with a blanket of melted cheese on top as well as some standard food-service fries that are kicked up with a dry spice blend. The Chicken Sensation comes with grilled chicken, bacon, cheese, garlic sauce, and corn. It's an interesting sandwich that works well with the soft bread and combination of ingredients used. I was unsure how I'd like this one when I first saw it but I think I preferred it to the steak with plantains which was also really good and dressed in a similar fashion to the chicken. Dessert options like cupcakes and cookies are baked in-house and instagram worthy milkshakes are also popular.  

Chicken Sensation (Grilled Chicken, Bacon, Corn, Cheese)

King Plantain (Grilled Steak, Plantains, Garlic Sauce, Cheese, Parsley)

Sugar Blow
3409 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 857-0160 

Monday, May 24, 2021

5 More Fried Fish Sandwiches

-Grubbing in Chicago
Fish Sandwich Special

Is the humble fish sandwich making a comeback in urban areas? I cant say for sure because it's not too often that food trends come from the Midwest. That said there's plenty of fish sandwich culture in the Midwest as I discussed in a previous post earlier this year. But for whatever reason they're not as popular in Chicago as they are in Middle America, or Los Angeles for that matter. A fish sandwich feature in the locally loved Los Angeles website LAtaco gives us hints that the fish sandwich could be making a comeback. I'm all in on this one. In fact I have plans to do a fish sandwich stand pop-up of my own if I can ever find the perfect pairing as far as a host goes. In the meantime I have a list of five more fried fish sandwiches I've tried around town. Find my previous fish sandwich roundup HERE.


Parson's Chicken and Fish 

The popular summertime hang in Logan Square is quickly becoming a miniature empire with locations opening what seems to be monthly (not really but they now have four spots across the city). While it's those Negroni slushies that helped propel them to becoming a namesake fixture in Chicago's dining scene don't sleep on their excellent fish sandwich. They use a pollack filet that gets a brittle batter like crust making for a crunchier fish sandwich than most. They also do a good job of melting the slice of American cheese which I think a good filet o fish type sandwich needs. Some fresh pickles and lettuce go with a zippy tarter that gets its job done. A contender for the city's best fish sandwich.

Fried Fish Sandwich at Parson's Chicken & Fish

Ramen Wasabi

The fried fish sliders at this always busy Logan Square ramen shop are a sleeper menu item. I imagine them to be what White Castle wishes it's fish sliders tasted like. Small filets of cod are cut to fit on a baby brioche bun and come panko breaded dressed with pickled pearl onion, mayo, japanese bbq sauce. I actually pick a couple up now and then without getting ramen (I prefer their sister spots for ramen). But these addictive little snacks make for a great appetizer pre-noodles and sushi.

Fish Slider at Ramen Wasabi

Oyster Bah
Over in Lincoln Park you'll find Oyster Bah which is a New England seafood shack inspired spot with a full bar and lots of seafood options on offer. It's ran by the daughter of the Shaw's family so she knows a thing or two about seafood. The menu has a crispy codfish sandwich described as apple cider battered, with lettuce, American cheese, garlic aioli, pickled onion, tartar sauce. Served with coleslaw and fries. This was on the pricier side compared to others and not quite as satisfying do to a smaller piece of fish that was slightly over-fried. Though there were fries included they were a below average factory produced brand. That said I was getting the clam chowder from here often last winter.

Crispy Codfish Sandwich at Oyster Bah

L. Woods Tap & Pine Lodge

This place is an an icon out in Lincolnwood for which it's name is a play on. It's one of Lettuce Entertain You's older venues and in my opinion one of their best spots. It has the looks and feel of a classic Northwoods type restaurant and watering hole which is hard to pull off when not done naturally. The menu has something for everyone so it's popular with families and groups of old ladies out to eat and the likes. I stopped in one sunny day recently and dined outside with an old friend. I knew I was getting the walleye as soon as we decided on meeting here as I had plans to get over for one sooner than later. I'd had it a few years back and enjoyed their offering. This one was also good but something was missing. It may have been something as simple as some lemon for the fish or shredded lettuce instead of a bunch of leaves. It was harder to eat bc of the toppings being too much. But they make a great house tartar sauce and serve their sandwiches with a pickle slice which I like.

Walleye Sandwich at L. Woods Tap

Hienie's Chicken and Fish

I spent a recent #FishSandwichFriday with a Chicago icon out at 104th and Torrence. Hienie McCarthey’s has been frying up chicken, fish, and shrimp since 1947. All of it fried in a mix of vegetable oil and beef tallow. Served with a hyper local to the area hot sauce that’s neon orange in color and vinegar forward in flavor. Originally developed in the 1950’s as a dip for Vitners Pork Rinds the sauce is now called Hienie’s no matter where it’s served (it’s served all over the area and popular with everything from fried chicken to chips). I never had the fish sandwich from here until my recent visit when I learned it’s two fried pieces of lake perch. At just $4.25 (with fries) I figured it was a frozen pre-breaded fish patty but I should’ve put two and two together as Hienie’s serves terrific lake perch and even breads their onion rings in-house. If there was one downgrade to this it’s the fact the buns come from the fridge and don’t take a trip to any type of heating device. Fix that and it's dynamite.

Fish Sandwich at Hienie's

See ya next time @chibbqking

Friday, May 21, 2021


 -Grubbing in Chicago
Modern Israeli in Andersonville  

We're up in Andersonville today where the owners of Jerry's Sandwiches closed their well known sandwich spot last year and opened a modern Israeli place where a wood burning oven is the focal point. It's a large space with a full bar and seats around the wood fired oven and a big patio in back. 

Recently Opened in Andersonville 

Fiya calls the food they serve "Soul Food of The Levant" and their menu breaks down into different sections. Those are Salatim, Hummus, Plates, Khachapuri, Pitas, and Dessert. Salatim means salad (in plural) and it's a common part of an Israeli dinner. Typically it consists of a bunch of different cold starters. In the case of the Salatim served at Fiya those starters include Roast Cauliflower, Labneh, Roast Eggplant and a Zippy Corn Relish. They were out of the cauliflower so we got the $4 hummus add-on substituted for that. It all comes with a large fluffy pita baked in that oven I mentioned. This was a nice spread for a warm weather day and I think the corn relish was my favorite part bc it was pretty unique with chopped deli pickles included among jalapeno and bell pepper. There was a side of heavily marinated olives included too. The miss was the eggplant and the pita was just room temp. 

Salatim at Fiya 

They make good use of the oven by serving Georgian style Khachapuri which is a cheese bread of sorts. This dish has been making the rounds across the country as baking has really taken off especially during the quarantine of 2020. These cheese boats as some call them are made with a soft yeast bread and typically come with an egg on top as well. The exact recipes vary by region so it's very much like pizza as far as local culture in Georgia goes. The Shakshuka version served at Fiya is a cheese + egg variety with shakshuka sauce (tomato / red bell pepper) poured into the open center. This was basically the equivalent of a really good cheesy breadstick from a pizzeria. Fantastic. 

Khachapuri at Fiya

There's some interesting options on the plates portion of the menu including a whole wood roast chicken. But there's also some puzzling options including a piece of tilapia as the lone seafood offering. However the pitas at Fiya are big and make for a great sandwich stuffer. So I decided to go with a chicken schnitzel which comes served with Torshi (pickled vegetables), Tahini (ground sesame paste), and Amba (pickled mango condiment). It comes with a comically small amount of za'atar fries on the side. Maybe like ten total but they're pretty good and maybe worth ordering as a side on their own. Overall our dinner out back was quick and pretty much what I was hoping for. Fresh and filling. 

Za'atar Chicken Schnitzel at Fiya

5419 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640
(312) 493-0443

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Sandlot

 -Got Beef?
The Burgers of Chi (land)

Today's stop is a story about the little guy (David) showing the Big Guy (Goliath) how it's done. It takes place in the sleepy suburb of Park Ridge which has one of those historic small town feels to it. I've always liked Park Ridge in terms of it's cool old buildings (like the movie theatre) and such but the food scene over there has always been pretty plain. I cant remember the last time I had a spot to check out in the area but The Sandlot shot onto my list when it started making the rounds on social media. Nick K. over at the Trib did a Suburban burger search and The Sandlot was just about the only spot I hadn't been that caught my eye. So I've wanted to try them for a while now and did so recently. 

Locals Favorite in Park Ridge 

The Sandlot sits in an old KFC location and judging by the flow of customers on my visit they're doing better than the Colonel did over here. Score one for the little guys. The menu is super simple at this burger joint named after the popular movie. They do West Coast style cheeseburgers, fresh cut fries, hot dogs, and a chicken sandwich. The burgers are freshly ground and served in the In-N-Out style that's become popular throughout the country. Two beef patties are cooked on a hot flattop and dressed with lettuce, tomato, special sauce and your choice of grilled or raw onions. I tried their signature double which they call a 2-N-2 and chose the grilled onions with a side of fries to go with it. The total was less than $10 and both the burger and fries were super satisfying. I wasn't a huge fan of the bun (I prefer a softer variety) but it wasn't a major distraction either. A better product than every franchised QSR within 100's of miles of any direction. You can tell they're focused on the food first and foremost bc there's like two Sandlot movie posters hanging on the walls inside and that's it. 

Double Cheeseburger and Fries at The Sandlot

The Sandlot
1120 W Touhy Ave
Park Ridge, IL 60068
(847) 692-1900

Monday, May 17, 2021


 -Grubbing in Chicago
Thai Home Cooking in Avondale 

Around the beginning of 2021 the city got a bunch of new Thai restaurants. There were a handful listed among the openings in various online lists. EaThai replaced a Mexican restaurant at the corner of Kedzie and George right around the start of the year. While you never want to see a family owned spot close it's nice to see another one open. EaThai is the product of a longtime Chicago chef who has branched out on his own cooking the traditional food is mother made him growing up in Thailand. 

Newly Opened in Avondale 

EatThai made themselves known right away with an online presence on Facebook and Instagram. If you go over to Yelp it's been warmly welcomed to the Avondale neighborhood for the most part. I decided to try it one winter night when I didn't really know what I wanted but knew I was hungry for some sort of noodle soup. So I tried their Guay Teow Neua which is a Thai style beef noodle soup. It was exactly what I wanted without even knowing it. Nice tender chunks of stewed beef and a slightly sweet broth with green onions and stuff added for a little crunch. After that EaThai became a spot I go when I really dont have a taste for anything in particular and also for when I want some sort of Asian food that's not too far. Lots of online love for their wings and I completely agree. This was the best fry job on some fried chicken that I've had in some time. They had a super crunchy exterior with an extra juicy interior. They burst liquid like a soup dumpling. Served with a sweet & sour dipping sauce. 

Chicken Wings at Eathai 

The menu at EatThai is smaller than many other Thai restaurants but this isnt a bad thing by me. There's still a wide variety of options including sections of apps, curries, noodles, and rice. I tried the veggie Pad Thai with my wife one night and it was better than I remember many a pad thai around town to be. I was never a huge Pad Thai fan anyway. EatThai has a rotating list of specials and some have been pretty interesting over the last five months or so. An Issan platter with fried chicken, som tum, chicken skins, soup, and sticky rice was very good and something I wish was on the menu regularly. I joined my parents and two young nieces there last week and got myself the Pad Woon Sen with shrimp which is currently on special through May. This homestyle Thai dish is stir fried vermicelli noodles tossed with a housemade signature brown sauce and mixed with cabbage, carrots, green onion, bean sprouts, egg. This one somewhat reminded me of another popular Thai dish that I loved in Bangkok (stir fried sukiyaki). While it wasn't quite the same it brought back memories of something I enjoyed so that was enough to really like this dish. A very solid neighborhood spot.

Pad Woon Sen at EaThai

2901 N Kedzie Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 961-7612

Friday, May 14, 2021


 -Grubbing in Chicago
"Healthy" Eating in Lakeview

So I have this thing I say when discussing Chicago restaurants and how many I think I've tried, the answer to which is I don't know. Tons but there's just as many spots that I haven't tried as those I have. But while I haven't been to them all I pretty much know of them all to the point where when a new restaurant does open I notice it's new immediately. So by getting around the city and browsing through sites like google and yelp I've documented pretty much every restaurant in town in my head over time. One such spot that I documented years ago is Pockets over on the corner of Lincoln, Wellington, and Southport in Lakeview. I've passed by this place a countless number of times in my lifetime going back to my childhood years when the logo would catch my eye. But I'd never tried it, or even thought of stopping in. The only thing that was a bigger mystery to me was the Church of Scientology located next door on Lincoln. So one day recently I said f-ck it and decided to try it out. 

Locals Favorite in Lakeview / Lincoln Park 

According to their website Pockets was born in Chicago in 1989. The Pockets franchise was founded by a guy who was inspired by a spot at the University of Michigan that served chipatis, a whole-wheat pita. The logo of Chip the Kangaroo was created by the guys landlord for $25 or so the story goes. I could see how the menu here would be popular in the early 90's as it has a very retro feel. The house named pockets is multi-grain bread that's baked on site and split open and stuffed with different salad concoctions that come with dressing on the side. They do custom pockets too. I tried the Asian Chicken Pocket which is pretty much a take on the Chinese Chicken Salad minus the citrus. I could tell the chicken was the frozen pre cooked stuff from Restaurant Depot or whatever but for those in the neighborhood that like salad this place can serve a purpose I suppose. I still ate the whole thing. 

Asian Chicken Pocket at Pockets

I was tempted by the smell of calzones being baked fresh on-site as well. I said why the hell not and got myself a traditional calzone too. These are made with the same pocket dough except they're stuffed with ingredients and folded over before being baked. I chose Italian Sausage and peppers and which was paired with mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce. I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Despite the wheat baked bun this was junk food but I could see it being a guilty pleasure for some. The Italian sausage was fennel heavy and the sauce wasn't too sweet. The cheese was extremely well melted and the whole thing just worked as far as a quick carb bomb goes. They also do baked potatoes loaded with the same ingredients from their salad and calzone offerings. It's a retro spot and maybe it'll even come back into style. Hey it survived the Atkins diet phase so maybe Pockets lives long enough to make true on the belief everything that goes out of style eventually comes back in. 

Italian Sausage Calzone at Pockets

3001 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 528-2167

Monday, May 10, 2021

More Roadfood in Illinois

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties
- Random Stops in the Land of Lincoln

Summer is near and lots of Roadfood is coming with it. With international travel restrictions still in place I'm expecting lot's of people to hit the road in some form or fashion this summer. I'm certainly planning to do so and will have quite a few reports from some different places to share. Plus there's always more to uncover in places I have been (expect plenty of follow up reports too). Today's post doc's five food stops in Central Illinois that I tried at some point and time in the last few years or so. 


The Valley Inn (Green Valley, IL)

When the discussion of breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches (or BPT's) is had, Central Illinois is often overlooked in favor of Indiana and Iowa (as is Kansas City). But as residents of the middle of the state will tell you you're never far from a good BPT in these parts. The town of Spring Valley sits about 30 minutes south of Peoria and is home to one of the regions best BPT's. You can find it at The Valley Inn which is a pretty typical small town America spot where they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Just be prepared to wait for lunch if it's still breakfast hours. We were there around 10:30a and lunch wasn't until 11a and she wouldn't put the order in until exactly then. I became less annoyed after hearing what sounded like pork tenderloin being pounded in the back kitchen right around 11a. While it's not the biggest BPT I've ever seen Valley Inn serves a pretty large version that's better than most. 

BPT at The Valley Inn

Avanti's (Multiple Central Illinois locations)

If you went to college at Bradley University or Illinois St. you're probably familiar with our next stop. Avanti's is synonymous with both campuses and all the hungry students that have come through them over the years. It got it's start in Peoria across the street from Bradley University in 1966. The owner bought a previous pizza business and changed the name but kept the Gondola Submarine Sandwiches that the previous tenant sold. Except he decided to switch the bread up and bake his own. The rest of the story is Central Illinois history as that Gondola sandwich has spawned 5 locations in the Peoria area as well as two in Bloomington-Normal which are run by the founders nephews. Not just that but their popularity also meant other places would try and profit off their local fame. Pictured below is one large deluxe Gondola - ham, salami, American cheese, Mozzarella cheese, tomato and lettuce. Served on their signature super sweet house baked bread. This sandwich is cheap and filling thus its been a favorite of the regions college kids and also Illinois politicians who enjoy Gondola's annually when State Rep. Danny Brady has Avanti's cater lunch down at the Capitol in Springfield. 

Gondola Sandwich from Avanti's

La Gondola Spaghetti House (Multiple Central Illinois locations)

I stopped into a Bloomington location of La Gondola Spaghetti House a couple years back without putting 2 and 2 together. They call their sub sandwiches "torpedo's" here and as someone told me there was a lawsuit over the name between this place and Avanti's. Although I cant find anything on it. That said people really love the pizza bread on top of the sub sandwiches from La Gondola which was also founded in Peoria around 1982. The original location still goes by Leonardo's but they expanded under the La Gondola name. I tried the popular pizza bread and came away with the same conclusion as I did for the sub sandwiches from Avanti's above - this is cheap college food. 

Pizza Bread at La Gondola Spaghetti House 

Aloha Restaurant (Decatur, IL) 

I had some dealings down in Decatur (Birthplace of Da Bears) about a year or so ago. I can’t even front, this yelper rec’d Chinese restaurant and it's cashew chicken (bottom picture) was the goods. I had my eye on this locally loved American-Chinese restaurant due to its longstanding presence in the Decatur, Illinois community. They’ve been open for more than 40 years making them a popular spot with generations of locals. But what do you get? Well that’s where a site like yelp comes into play. I don’t use it for reviews of trendy dining but I do find use in it for mom and pop spots like this. More times than not you can find a tip or two worth putting to use or at the very least get an idea of the food from the pictures. Another review mentioned the chicken wings which was also a good call. I had to draw the line at the generic tiki cocktails though. The sugar would’ve killed me on the ride home. 

Lunch at Aloha Restaurant 

K&H Truck Plaza (Gilman, IL)

If you're ever traveling on I-57 and you find yourself hungry around Iroquois County (90 miles south of Chicago) I suggest getting off at the K&H Plaza exit. This is a full fledged truck stop with a terrific little diner where it seems most of the food is homemade. I think we found this little gem by chance while getting gas and I decided to glance at the menu which had a bunch of daily specials that caught my eye. My friend got a standard breakfast plate and some bread pudding that he absolutely crushed. I decided to try something off the daily specials menu which is always the same it just switches by day. On this day they had a smothered pork chop with some sort of paprika / tomato sauce that rocked. I made a mental note of their other daily specials which has options like beef and homemade noodles. All that and their pie is made in-house too. The banana cream piece I took home was also top notch. 

Home Cooked Food at the K&H Truck Plaza Restaurant 

See ya next time @chibbqking

Friday, May 7, 2021

Tugo Tea House

-Grubbing in Chicago(land)
Taiwanese Eats in Arlington Heights

Arlington Heights (and it's surrounding suburbs) remains a great place to explore as far as food goes. There's a strong Asian presence in terms of both the restaurants and the grocery stores. It's always a tough choice deciding where to eat out there. One spot that's entered my regular rotation is a mom and pop owned bubble tea shop. It's in a large strip mall on the other side of town from the Mitsuwa Market which is usually what brings me up this way. Tugo sells Taiwanese snacks and bubble tea. 

Locals Favorite in Arlington Heights 

Tugo is run by a middle aged husband and wife team with their kid hanging out in back when not in school. She's Taiwanese and I believe from Taiwan so you'll notice when you order it's her doing most of the cooking. He runs the front of the house and will make drinks. Beef Noodle Soup is a dish you can expect to appear on most Taiwanese restaurant menus. But rarely is it the same anywhere. Each spot has a family recipe or whatever and ingredients can vary. I've only gotten to try the soup taken to go which isnt as good as hot and fresh but it was still a really satisfying bowl. The beef must be from some sort of tendon bc it has that chew going for it. I believe she makes the noodles in house. 

Beef Noodle Soup from Tugo Tea House 

While the noodle soup did hit the spot it's the fried items from here that I return for. Taiwanese style popcorn chicken has really taken off in the States while it's been one of Taiwan's most popular night market foods for a while now. It's little chunks of chicken that are thin coated with a flour and eaten on the go hence it's popularity at the markets. I think the version from Tugo is as good as any I've tried. 

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken at Tugo Tea House 

Another popular nightmarket snack is the Taiwanese style pork chop. The Chinese do good things with pork chops and the Taiwanese style of frying them is up there as one of the best. Tugo offers a bento box featuring a sliced bone-in chop served atop a pile of white rice with a layer of minced pork in between. Taiwanese style sausage, cabbage, corn, and a hard boiled egg complete each bento box. Last trip in I saw they were introducing a Taiwanese hot dog using sticky rice as the bun.  

Fried Pork Chop at Tugo Teahouse

Tugo Teahouse
1285 N Rand Rd
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
(847) 873-1333

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Fast Track

-In Chicago: Every Dog Has it's Day

While working on a recent project for Chicago Magazine (stay tuned) I had the daily urge for a Chicago dog (a clue). Let’s just say they were on my mind quite regularly and when that’s the case I tend to go on binges. Not just that but I’m in a FB group revolving around Chicago food and hot dogs from around town are commonly posted. One of the recent postings over there that caught my eye was Fast Track located in the West Loop. A spot I probably hadn’t visited in more than a decade. 

Locals Favorite in West Loop

Fast Track is a classic Chicago hot dog stand. They got Hall of Fame recognition from Vienna Beef in 2015 which at the time was close to a quarter century that they'd been in business. So they must be coming up on 30 years open. The menu here is a what's what of Chicago style fast food including fried shrimp from Lawrence's down on S. Canal. All that said I was returning for a char dog which was what I saw in the social media picture that got me in. It's a natural casing Vienna Beef wiener and the option to have it steamed is also available. It's a pretty picture perfect example and it tasted like one too. Fries don't come with the hot dogs ($3.99) here but they make a thinner fresh cut variety that get nice and crisp. Plus you have the option to add Merkt's cheddar spread. The atmosphere is top notch too, as are the decorations inside and outside. Glad I returned and could document them on here. 

Chicago Style Char Dog with Fries and Cheese at Fast Track 

Fast Track
629 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 993-9300

Monday, May 3, 2021

Andros Taverna

 -Grubbing in Chicago  
New to the 'Scene'

Because Chicago has the well known Greektown neighborhood it's assumed by some that there's great Greek food in the city to go with it. Not quite the case anymore as Greektown has become Greek by name only. There's still a few spots up and down the 200 block of South Halsted but it's merely a shadow of it's past. Plus nothing new as far as Greek restaurants go has opened up over there of late. Don't get me wrong there's some good Greek spots in town but they're scattered and many are in the suburbs. Enter Andros Taverna in Logan Square, a modern Greek restaurant that recently opened on Milwaukee in one of the neighborhoods many new condo / retail developments. 

Newly Opened in Logan Square 

Andros Taverna is the project of local Chef Doug Psaltis and his wife Chef Hsing Chen. Psaltis was with LEYE's RPM in a previous job. Chen is a pastry chef who worked at French Laundry as one of her previous gigs. As you could maybe tell from Chef Doug's last name he's Greek and thus this is a very passionate project for him. First off we got seated on the patio which is first come first served based off reservations. So you'll most likely need a reservation and only then can you maybe sit on the patio. So long as there's seating available. They can only hold parties of 4-5 people outside. They also have a drive up / walk up window that's accessible from the alley for taking orders to go.  

Grilled Calamari and Greek Potatoes 

The inside of the space is very nice, it's a pretty place and you can tell it's going to be a popular spot to hang out this summer. The focal point of the kitchen is a wood burning grill. Unfortunately it was hard to see and so I couldn't get a great look at it but I made sure to check it was up and running on our visit. An order of calamari grilled over live wood was really well done. My only complaint was there wasn't more on the plate as I could've sat there and ate it all night on what was the first 80 degree day of the year. Also pictured up above is a side order of the Greek Potatoes done in a Hassleback style. I thought they were just ok. None of the entrees come with sides so it's best to order a few or maybe try one of the mezze platters that feature fresh woodfired pitas with crudites, char grilled kalamaki and more. Andros offers two different preps of fish both grilled over the live fire. We tried the smaller of the two which is a sea bream grilled up in the typical Greek style with the typical Greek flavors. Simple but skilled in prep. The whole grilled sea bass ($46) was tempting but there's always next time. 

Grecian Sea Bream at Andros Taverna 

The reason for there being a next time is I really liked the traditional pork gyros. It's listed as Georgie's Gyros on the menu and it's made with beautiful cones of pork that sit horizontally over the live fire and are sliced fresh to order. The meat which I believe is pork belly gets a very nice grilled smoke flavor and comes served on one of the previously mentioned woodfired pitas with tomatoes, cucumber, and French fries which is a pretty standard practice over in Athens. A very fresh spiced yogurt sauce comes served on the side and really livens up the sandwich as whole. It was probably the most expensive gyro I've ever had at $22 but it was also one of the most memorable I've tried. 

Georgie's Gyros at Andros Taverna

My wife and I have started becoming more dessert focused when dining out by which I mean we used to usually say no thanks when they'd ask if we'd like to see a dessert menu. But as warm weather nears it's always hard for me to turn down a delicious sounding fruit based dessert option. On this evening that would be the vanilla soufra which was described as a ruffled custard pie with layers pf crispy phyllo topped with cinnamon, honey, pistachio, and huckleberry compote. Another winner and with it a contender for one of the years best dinners. Granted this was the first time we had dined out in Chicago this calendar year I have a feeling it will stick around as one of the favorites based on what followed. Though we were set on our dessert choice for the evening our waiter made a compelling case for trying their baklava froyo with baklava crumbles, pistachio sauce, menuca honey puffs. We ended up walking over for some the following night and it's our favorite new treat in town. I'd been hoping that a modern Greek spot like Andros would open and we're happy to have it near us. 

Vanilla Soufra at Andros Taverna 

Andros Taverna
2542 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 365-1900


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