WICKER PARK / BUCKTOWN
The Delta Chicago abounds with tamales, but The Delta manages to set itself apart by serving Mississippi Delta tamales, a distinct style that, if it weren’t completely obvious by now, originated in the Mississippi Delta (basically, the northwest part of that state). They differ from ubiquitous Mexican tamales in that they are constructed from cornmeal instead of masa (nixtamalized corn), and cooked in a liquid instead of being steamed. The regular red hot tamales ($5) come three to an order and are astoundingly tender, all without a trace of grittiness, each morsel soaked in a spicy red tomato and chile broth. Also checkout the catfish (grilled not fried), which is finished with coriander, parsley, dill, tarragon, chives and marjoram, herbs that bring freshness and depth to the dish.
Open: Dinner and late night, daily. Prices: Entrees $5 to $18. 1745 W. North Ave., 773-360-1793. — N.K.
Langhe Market Conceived by Italiantrained chef Cameron Grant and owner Aldo Zaninotto (both of Logan Square’s Osteria Langhe), Langhe Market traffics in meat. You’ll find so-called “off cuts”— sweetbreads, tripe and oxtail, for example—next to a smattering of lovely pastas Pork & Mindy’s Jeff Mauro, the star of “Sandwich King” on Food Network, picked his native Chicago for his first restaurant; more likely than not, he’ll be the guy taking your order or making your meal. A lineup of sandwiches feature smoked meats, house-made sauces and Pig Candy, Mauro’s name for brownsugar-glazed bacon.
Open: Lunch and dinner daily. Prices: Sandwiches $8 and up. 1623 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-799-8759. — Marissa Conrad
The isola catfish entree at The Delta.