You are reading this review for free on the internet. This is because, one, I’m stupid, and two, because of the perceived and real pressures of a system. While you would take great pleasure from me counting the ways of my idiocy in depth, let’s examine that system first. Advertisements
A vision of bro-bar bottle service is not the reverie chef Stephen Gillanders is trying to invoke with the name of his new Pilsen restaurant, S.K.Y.. Rather, the name is a sweet commemoration of his wife, Seon Kyung Yuk’s initials. But, it is hard for me not to hear S.K.Y. and think of the cerulean-colored Skyy vodka bottle, a 1990s-era talisman for things like blue-shirted consultants booty shaking to the former Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s #1 hit “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”.
I felt like I’d walked into the secret love nest of Hugh Hefner and a crazy old bird lady. I know that sounds crazy. Like why would Hefner shack up with a bird lady? But, the dude loved quaaludes, so anything is possible. And even if he never did, Bellemore restaurant’s interior design looks like what would have happened if he had.
I recently ate squirrel. The meat was free-range, a mix of Indiana squirrel and the Albany Park alley variety. By that measure, I also imagine because the latter likely subsisted on a diet of exhaust fumes and empty Chobani containers, it was not organic.
Even though we’ve got no problem sinking our teeth into chicken hocks and the back muscles of cows, break out a little organ meat and the most hardened carnivores run for the door. Thing is, offal is almost always anything but, so we’ve rounded up and rated some of Chicago’s scariest eats. Some qualify as treats, while others are, at best, tricks. (This article first appeared in Chicago magazine in a different form.) BOUDIN NOIR GRILLE La Sardine (111 N. Carpenter St.; 312-421-2318) Though its name sounds like a harmless French flick, boudin noir, or black sausage, has a dark side—literally. It gets its oily black color from pig blood, used as a thickener to bind chopped pork, fat, onion, and quatre épices (clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger). La Sardine’s version, a custardy, smoky hunk of rich meat offset by sweet caramelized apple and onion and the acidic zing of mustard-tossed frisée, is the best in town. SICHUAN TRIPE Double Li (228 W. Cermak Ave.; 312-842-7818) Cold pieces of chopped stomach are usually enough to turn yours, but when Ben Li tosses them with sesame seeds, crisp celery bits, and cilantro dressing, you’ll want to stuff your…
Whenever friends came to town with the itch to throw down $50 for hunks of fire-licked glistening meat carved from glinting scimitars wielded by fake gauchos at spots like Fogo de Chao, Sal y Carvao or Brazzaz (the best of the three), I usually stopped at Sam’s for a couple bottles of Chilean or Argentine red and headed over to the popular BYOB Tango Sur in Lakeview instead.
I’ve not been especially easy on The Bristol. In an old review, I accused them of cooking mediocre dishes, mixing terrible drinks, and ripping off other Chicago restaurants.
I never met an organ meat I didn’t like. This has become my eating mantra. It makes me sound like a culinary bad ass and makes the chicks swoon. Food Network chicks anyway.