Monnie Burke’s Anan Abu-Taleb, a restaurateur who also happens to be the mayor of Oak Park, put up a paradise with Monnie Burke’s, a Pilsen destination for American dining with Mediterranean influences. The menu, by culinary director Michael Shrader (previously of Matthias Merges’ Folkart group) isn’t exciting at first, but the execution is impressive, bordering on thrilling. He ups the ante on otherwise ubiquitous starters such as octopus, avocado toast and nicoise salad, and entrees don’t miss a beat, whether it’s a prettily presented Faroe Island salmon or slices of duck breast glistening underneath fermented cherry sauce. Desserts, also by Shrader, represent a stroll through the chef ’s childhood. A landscaped patio with radiant heating ensures a longer al fresco season.
Open: Dinner daily, brunch Sunday. Prices: Entrees $15-$28. 1163 W. 18th St., 312-243-2410. — P.V.
At S.K.Y. in Pilsen, out-oftowner