Southport & Grace
went on a thurday night a little while ago. the place was crowded, loud, and very dim (all light supplied by candles). The steaks were not prime, but grilled well with a very nice garlicy parsley pestoish sauce on the side. The best items were the potato egg frittata and the empanadas (spinach, beef and chicken), pasta ordered by veggies in the group was pretty weak. unless you are looking for a semi-romantic candlelit dinner with a hungry carnivore before a movie at the music box, get the empanadas which ARE delicious from the grocery store next door for 1.50 a pop
sheridan just south of argyle
This place was reviewed in the reader a while back. they did a little story on how they had outfitted the place for vietnamese-style roast duck, and quoted one of the owners saying how the seasonings were very different from chinese duck. I am a big fan of roast duck and wanted to see what these differences were. This is a very basic place, just roasted/grilled ducks, chicken and a few meats in a steam table type thing for takeout. I got a half duck and some bbq pork to go (Sorry, I couldn't bring myself to order the roast pork uteri). Maybe it's just me, but I couldn't discern any noticable seasoning difference between this duck and chinese ducks I have had. Their bbq pork was not as sweet as some I have had, nor as lean, but a little tougher- the fat hadn't been done to melting. On the positive side they were not stingy with the duck juice. However, IMO I would stick with sun wah; their duck is better(skin is nicer,and meat is juicier) and they many other tasty options as well.
Cafe las Delicias
Western a block north of lawrence
This place was really good. A honduran woman I know had mentioned that this place had good pupusas, so I thought I'd check it out. It has 5 0r 6 4-person tables and some brightly colored posters on the wall, a cheerful, sunny little storefront. Was there pretty early around 6:00pm, and my friend and I and our waitress were the only persons in the place. Since I had been told about the pupusas ($1.50 each), I ordered one con todo (beans, cheese and chicharron) and one with just chicharron. Also my friend and I split an order of plantains and a guatemalan tamale that was handwritten on the back of the menu in spanish. The pupusas were very nice. Their texture was fluffy and slightly grainy on the inside, not mealy as I have sometimes had. The chicharron was more of a spiced ground pork than what I normally think of by chicharron but tasted pretty good. My one reservation was that the cabbage slaw and the thin red hot sauce which they served to top these wasn't as spicy as I would have liked. The plaintains were fine, but the winner was the tamale. I don't usually care for tamales, maybe I have never been served a very good one. It was very large, maybe 4-5 times what you would normally expect, and looked like it had been steamed in a banana leaf (and also wrapped in tin foil -our waitress opened ours up for us) Inside the texture of the cornmeal/ flour was amazing, soft and rich almost like custard. the fillings were a few piesces of tender pork and 2 or 3 canned or bottled green olives. I know it sounds strange but those were a great addition to the tamale, it gave the whole thing a nice subtle olive flavor. My buddy said that if he could like that every day in el salvador he would never come to the US. these could be akin to what hling said he had at maxwell market.
Dempster between skokie blvd and 94 in skokie.
I stopped in here and grabbed a pastrami sandwich to go. Its strictly takout, a little store with a deli counter, some kosher produce, and lots refrigerated shelves with lots of soups and other prepared food to go. No seating. the pastrami was very nice, a little fatty the way I like, nicely peppered, but for $5.00 was a little small I could easily have eaten another. For full disclosure I should say I am not a veteran of NYC delis or really a connoiseur of this sort of food, but I have had a few pastramis and this was pretty good, if small.