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Restaurants & Bars 4

Chicago report

John Scar | Aug 1, 200410:34 PM

Just got back from a few great days in chicago where I was able to eat at a few great places. I have a friend from college who lives in Chicago now and I told her that I was interested in some mexican perhaps Chilpancingo or Ixtalp(spelling?). Later she wrote back and suggested Nuevo Leon. Little did she know that is where I really wanted to go I just thought it might not be her type of joint. Well we ended up meeting her and her husband along with a another college buddy of mine and his friend at NL. Before we got to the restaurant we went over to the licqour store and picked up some negro modelo and pacifico. We sat down to a table of three very good sauces followed shortly after with a complimentory plate of asadas de puerco on chile arbol (or something like that) and it was great. Tender chunks of pork in a rich chili gravy. We followed that up with a good queso dish with homeade chorizo which was very tasty, it was a little more together than the mexican chorizo's i usually get, its probably because it is homeade. For an entree I enjoyed my mole, it was very good and the chicken was perfectly cooked. My buddy surprised me and ordered the egg dipped tongue for his entree. This was surprising because he went to red lobster for his anniversery recently, I almost died when he told me that. The tongue was very good, it was very desabradaesque with the exception of appearance.
The next evening we met up at blackbird for our nice dinner. Blackbird is very small and very cool. Personally I don't mind dining so close to people, it gives me an oppurtunity to see what others are doing. All me friends ordered the same appetizer of corn bisque, I was able to convince one of them to order something else for a little variety, again it was my buddy who surprised me and decided on the fois gras. I had the suckling pig appetizer. First the fois gras. It was great. The liver was fried expertly and sat on a starch of some sort I believe and accompanied by a mamalaid of some sort, it all worked great. The fois gras was lightly crisped which is sometimes hard to do for some placed, the crispness gave it a great contrast in textures. The suckling pig was nice but in hindsight I wash maybe I would have gone for the diver scallops. Anyway the pork seemed like it was braised first then rolled into a ball and fried up. It was accompanied by a slightly over sweet cherry sauce. Don't get me wrong its a good dish, I just think I might have missed out on those scallops. For the entree I had the sturgeon in oxtail au jous and was please by the dish yet not overwhlemed. Again I think I might have done better with the lamb. To tell you the truth i cant really remember a ton about the dish, it was good not great. You guys in Chicago are lucky to have a place like Blackbird but I will probably not hit it again in favor of the Trio chefs new place or maybe Moto on my next visit.
The next night I dragged all these people to Spoon Thai and was getting pretty nervous because it was so far away and once we got there everyone was looking at dishes like pad thai and spring rolls. I told everyone to order what they want but if they were going to judge me on the restaurant pick they had to also eat what I ordered. The first dish which also turned out to be my favorite was bannana blossom salad. The flavors in this dish EXPLODED! Chile, onion, lime, coconut along with chicken and shrimp made for damn close to an alltime favorite dish of mine next to the stewed issan pork at Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas. Next was the one bite salad. Its a really cool dish of lettuce leaves filled with peanuts, cocunut, and dried shrimp accompanied by a tamarind paste perhaps. Very cool package and very tasty although it ended up near the bottom of the dishes I liked in terms of taste and that says alot about this restaurant. Next was the pork neck laarb. Others in the party liked this dish the least which was great because it left so much for me. Very good dish, near the top of my favorites. Next was the great thai fried chicken. Simple yet great dish. The chicken is coated in thai seasonings then fried and served with agreat sour/spicey diping sauce. Near the top of my favorites. After that was spicy crazy noodles, this was by far the hottest dish and probably my least favorite. Agsain it was good but others were better. The next dish helped relieve the burn in our mouths from the noodles, it was bbq pork with ramen noodles and a pho like broth. Very nice dish and the fact that it helped subside the heat didn't hurt. We followed that up with sticky rice and mango and sticky rice banana. Both were very good renditions of the dish. In conclusion I would have to say that Spoon Thai is close to Lotus of Siam in LV but falls just barely short in terms of food and of course it doesn't have the wine list of LOS. But being able to BYOB is very appealing.
Hope you enjoyed reading this and see you soon hopefully Chicago. What a great city!

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