Red Eye Chicago - - Around Town -

Aba Aba is a lively homage to all fla­vors Mid­dle East­ern; in a sense, it’s a se­quel ef­fort to chef C.J. Ja­cob­son’s Ema restau­rant in River North. But Aba shows its in­de­pen­dence with its em­pha­sis on pro­teins. Spreads are a must, if only to get one’s hands on the warm, puffy house bread, brushed with but­ter and dusted with za’atar. You’ll find a va­ri­ety of meats in “hum­ble” and “prime” cuts. The for­mer in­cludes egg­plant-wrapped braised lamb and beef short rib. Prime cuts are le­git steaks and chops, served in petite por­tions. Ryan Arnold’s wine list is a treat, keep­ing the less ad­ven­tur­ous bases cov­ered while of­fer­ing a trove of bot­tles from such places as Le­banon and Is­rael. Liz Pearce’s cock­tails in­cor­po­rate in­gre­di­ents found on the menu (turmeric, honey, mango) into nifty takes on daiquiris and mar­gar­i­tas.

Open: Din­ner daily. Prices: Main cour­ses $13.95$27.95. 302 N. Green St., 773-645-1400. — P.V.

Arami The rev­er­ence with which sushi chefs han­dle rice here is rea­son enough to visit, but this is one of the rare Ja­panese restau­rants in which the hot dishes are even bet­ter than the sushi. Pay at­ten­tion to the cock­tail list, and don’t skip the black-se­same short­bread and salt­ed­miso ice cream sand­wich.

Open: Din­ner daily. Prices: Maki rolls and en­trees $15-$17. 1829 W. Chicago Ave., 312-243-1535. — P.V.

Funken­hausen Chicago doesn't have a ton of South­ern restau­rants and barely any Ger­man ones; Funken­hausen at­tempts to check both boxes. Purists of these styles of cook­ing are un­likely to be sat­is­fied with this mashup, but for the rest of us, there’s much to ad­mire. The din­ing room gives off a Ger­man beer-hall vibe, al­beit one that’s warmer and less noisy than you’d ex­pect. En­trees in­clude the veal schnitzel, as crispy and crunchy as you’d want, and The Whole Mess of Chicken — sort of a pan-roasted South­ern chicken on an Al­sa­tian va­ca­tion. In­deed, the must-have dish here is the Piggy Plate, a char­cu­terie and pick­led veg­etable as­sort­ment that ar­rives on a pigshaped slate slab. The se­lec­tion varies from week to week, but ex­pect a Ger­man-South­ern blend of pork tongue, bratwurst and sausages with pick­led okra, bread-and­but­ter pick­les and, per­haps, some rib tips.

Open: Din­ner daily; brunch Sat­ur­day and Sun­day. Small plates $6-$15, main cour­ses $24-$27. 1709 W. Chicago Ave., 312-929-4727. — P.V.

Her­itage Restau­rant & Caviar Bar

Chef Guy Meikle is out to take the mys­tery, and sticker shock, away from caviar in this Hum­boldt Park spot. More than a half­dozen roes are avail­able each day, cost­ing as lit­tle as $10 for an a la carte nib­ble to $145 for a full-blown plat­ter of os­e­tra, white­fish and to­bikko caviars with ac­com­pa­ni­ments. Else­where on the menu you’ll find odes to East­ern Europe fare, in­clud­ing pierogi and pel­meni dumplings, pork goulash and roast duck with Czech bread dumplings. Part­ner Jan Hen­rich­sen cre­ated the fas­ci­nat­ing wine list (which sources from Croa­tia, Slove­nia and the Re­pub­lic of Ge­or­gia, among other re­gions) and the whim­si­cal, sea­sonal cock­tail menu. Pas­try chef Alan Krueger veers from rus­tic (hand pies) to cre­ative (pop­corn semifreddo) to clas­sic (souf­fles).

Open: Din­ner daily, brunch week­ends; en­trees $16-$35. 2700 W. Chicago Ave., 773-661-9577. — P.V.

La Sar­dine Ex­ec­u­tive chef Oliver Poilevey is quick to credit his late fa­ther, Jean-Claude, for cre­at­ing La Sar­dine’s vi­sion. At the French bistro, you’ll find a pic­turesque tableau of seared scal­lops sur­rounded by coarse fava-bean puree, oys­ter mush­rooms and pick­led straw­ber­ries. Skate wing gets the clas­sic brown­but­ter treat­ment. Sal­ads are de­li­cious, but no place for di­eters: The frisee salad is piled high with pan-crisped shred­ded duck, and the ly­on­naise salad is gen­er­ous with its thick, meaty lar­dons. La Sar­dine fea­tures $1 oys­ters and dis­counted bites and drinks at the bar 5-7 p.m. Mon­days-Thurs­days.

Open: Lunch Mon­day-Fri­day, din­ner Mon­daySatur­day. Main cour­ses $21-$31. 111 N. Car­pen­ter St., 312-421-2800. — P.V.

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