Ever since Alpana Singh opened The Boarding House, a lot of attention has been paid to her wine list. She was, afterall, the youngest female ever to attain the status of Master Sommelier. But the food has taken a bit of a back seat. In the bar area, and in the cellar, downstairs, the menu is less ambitious than it is on the 3rd floor main dining room. Think shellfish towers, pizzas and poutine. The latter, a result of her chef’s Quebecois upbringing. It’s not the most glamorous dish, but after a few cocktails, the combo of fried potato, earthy gravy and melted cheese really hits all of the right notes.
Grand Rapids, Michigan isn’t exactly the first place you might think of when it comes to French and Belgian-style ales, but local hero Brewery Vivant has been making those types of beers its specialty. It has a relatively new farmhouse ale out called Farm Hand, and The Hopleaf‘s Michael Roper says it’s one of those beers that also happens to be extremely food-friendly. Cheers to that.
I’ve been preaching about the tacos at En Hakkore since they first opened, about a month ago. It’s too bad they’re buried on the menu of rice bowls (bibimbop) and maki rolls. Listed under the “sandwiches” section of the menu, they come with either BBQ beef or spicy pork belly, and feature a beguiling spicy mayo that brings together the sesame-scented mushroom, onions and kimchi; the real genius move is to abandon the usual corn tortilla, and go with a thicker, flakier Indian paratha flatbread as the starchy vehicle for transporting all of these delicious ingredients to your mouth.
1840 N. Damen Ave.
Dogfish Head Brewery is known for producing some irreverent beers, but their latest is a doozy: one of the first successful collaborations between the world of wine and beer. It’s called Noble Rot, and the key is some botrytis affected viognier grapes; there’s also pinot gris must, and the combination produces a uniquely distinctive, saison-esque style beer. Cheers.
Ever since it opened last year, Kai Zan has quietly become one of Chicago’s favorite BYOB sushi spots. Tucked away in the smallest, most demure little nook of a shopping strip along west Chicago Avenue, the space is hard to spot. But when you enter the cozy little restaurant – dominated by the tall sushi bar – you’ll instantly feel transported. Brothers Melvin and Carlo Vizconde quietly slice and assemble from behind the bar; they offer standard nigiri and sashimi, as well as some rolls, but best bet is to let them cook for you, omakase style. One of their more interesting presentations, called the “Orange Rush,” marries sashimi (salmon and scallop) with the idea of a maki, since they are rolled together, but there’s no rice. Slightly torched, kissed with fresh citrus and a few droplets of unagi and wasabi sauce, this little knob of seafood packs a wallop of flavor. Definitely something you should eat.
By Camille Izlar
Gluten-free diners have been enjoying the creative, mind-boggling good food at Senza in Lake View the past few months. Now, the restaurant is betting that they’ll also enjoy sitting down for a cup of coffee and a muffin in the morning. From Tuesday through Friday mornings, they’re selling gluten-free treats from their bakery. Read More