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Bugsys - Where I was Kosher for a Night

Cathy2 | May 26, 200301:22 AM

Recently, we entertained two guests from Israel of which one observes Kosher. Highland Park has one Kosher restaurant/carry-out which my friend The-Rabbi’s-Wife does not like. She suggested I go to the kosher section at the Highland Park Jewel, order a meat plate and accept guidance from the resident rabbi who oversees this section for everything else. Pick up paper plates, paper napkins, plastic cups and plastic utensils for a kosher dinner at home. Normally, I would consider this option. Unfortunately, our home is in transition between projects, which means it looks as if a bomb dropped inside.

My friend The-Rabbi’s-Wife offered three suggestions in Skokie. If dairy is the desired menu, then Slice of Life where one can have fish and pasta amongst other offerings. Restaurant Marrakesh is a new Kosher restaurant which she couldn’t recommend because she had not visited yet. Her personal favorite is the fleisch/meat restaurant Bugsy's. Fortunately, our guests wanted fleisch, so we had an opportunity to try her favorite. I had been warned to make reservations at Bugsy's, which the young man accepted and promised to keep a table for the 15-20 minutes it would take to get there from Highland Park.

Bugsies is across the street from Restaurant Kabul in a strip mall. Oddly, you enter Bugsy's through a brightly lighted kosher fast food family restaurant with cartoon murals. Step into Bugsy's where the lights are dim, yet the walls were loud with Chicago-ish 1920’s-ish Gangster-ish murals and decorative details. The walls demanded bright lights and music. You had the impression maybe when there is a large party or bar/bat-mitzvah, they swing the doors open between the two related establishments to accommodate the crowd.

The young man did as promised, kept us a table. Not really a big effort, when we were the 3rd party having dinner in the entire restaurant. Our geriatric waitress was the type Gwiv admires most, very competent and seemed to have a running argument with the young man who took our ‘reservation.’ We guessed perhaps the young man was a grandson of the waitress. He was a cocky young man who needed to spend time doing busboy stuff rather than front and forward. He walked purposefully through the dining area with a phone glued to his ear having conversations in a clipped manner with potential guests. At one point he seemed to take an interest in our conversation and seemed to be lusting to join in. I was waiting, like my cat waiting on a cornered mouse, to slap him down but he interrupted himself in mid-opened mouth. Good thinking on his part.

Each dinner included a choice of salad or soup. Choices for soup were Sweet and Sour Cabbage, Mushroom Barley and Chicken Noodle. I normally would have had problems choosing between the cabbage or mushroom, however knowing I couldn’t have sour cream with the cabbage soup settled the issue. My mushroom barley soup was clearly homemade and quite delicious. I sampled my Mom’s Sweet and Sour Cabbage soup, which was homemade, really needed the sour cream ... ok, it was good enough without the sour cream. Everyone else liked their chicken noodle soup.

For the main course, I selected barbequed chicken with grilled vegetables and rotisserie potatoes. My barbeque chicken was rotisserie chicken with barbeque sauce. Fine, not spectacular, fine. My grilled vegetables should have been referred to as “Retro” Grilled Vegetables. Let’s go back some years ago when everyone had charcoal fires. What did most of the food taste like? Fuel starter! Ah, now you know what my grilled vegetables tasted like, they mostly stayed on my plate. The rotisserie potatoes were described as cooked below the rotating chickens absorbing the chicken’s juices. They were golden in color and totally lacked in flavor. I tried salt and pepper, to no avail. Of course, butter was out of the question. So I ate them together with the chicken. In retrospect I should have taken the mashed or baked potato, I had greater taste expectations than the cooking method allowed.

My Dad had steak, which was out of character for him. He usually gets ribs. When I saw a price of $26 for the ribs, I understood his change in direction. He had no complaints.

My Mom had the dinner I think I would have preferred: Apricot Chicken. These were large chunks of chicken breast, which seemed to be rolled in crushed matzo and fried. The sauce was a sweet and sour apricot sauce, which reminded Mom of Chinese Sweet and Sour Pork. I did the boarding house reach and plucked a chicken nugget off her plate. Nice! I have been to Jewish restaurants where apricot chicken was rotisserie chicken with an apricot sauce ... had I only known!

Dessert options were limited: 4-6 inch diameter tollhouse chocolate chip cookie or the same cookie with ice cream. Not fans of oversized cookies, we passed on dessert.

As we were leaving, I pointed out to our guests the restaurant Marrakesh across the street. One fellow already knew of it from the internet. Ah, the internet!


3353 W Demster St
Skokie, Illinois
Cuisine:(l,d) Glatt,steaks and ribs

3334 W. Dempster
Skokie, IL 60076
(847) 676-1948
Kosher: Meat Restaurants
Moroccan and Israeli cuisine, including couscous, shwarma, fresh fish, chicken and a variety of salads.

Slice of Life
4120 W Dempster St
Skokie, Illinois
Cuisine:(l,d) Dairy, ltalian, pasta,pizza, salads, fish

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