I suppose needing to exercise all my eating repetoire later that day, I stayed very close to home earlier on Saturday with TWO meals at Onion Roll. To me, these two meals encapsulated everything I believe about this Jewish restaurant run by Italians.
Breakfast, I got the lox and bagels. No matter how many times I order it, and probably no matter how many times anyone orders it, they will ask you if you truly mean lox, a brined and extremely salty product and flavorful product, or nova, a lightly smoked product and much less flavorful product. Onion Roll serves their lox and bages ala the Earl of Sandwich, a style not seen in New York or Miami where the lox and bagel are always served open face. Still, Onion Roll probably serves about as close a product in this region to those better options. They hand slice their lox (and nova) to order, which produces a much more interesting, and "rougher" texture. While a few other places, say Max and Benny's in Northbrook, offer hand sliced lox/nova as an option, only Onion Roll only offers this better way of doing it.
The bite of the lox is mitigated only slightly by a big block of cream cheese and an out of season tomato. Best in Chicago, New York Bagel bagels, complete this bargain sandwich.
Lunch, I shared soup and sandwich with the Condiment Queen. Onion Roll, I am sure based on the yellow tint and strong flavor, uses some kind of helper for their chicken soup, but what kind of commercial kitchen could make the soup fillings? Just not quite perfect to make them better than perfect, I especially like the meaty, soft kreplach (a/k/a Jewish wonton). The matzah ball is pretty good too.
Onion roll slices some good meats for their sandwiches, good pastrami, good corned beef, but the sandwiches really fail because of their size. Onion Roll serves the anti-Manny's sandwich, understuffed. Granted these are not quite as limp as the minute salt beef sandwiches sold in the East End of London, they are still pretty small, and for whatever reason, Jewish meats taste much, much better in abundance. Like Chaim's and Kaufman's, Onion Roll's meats are best made at home.
6935 W. North Ave.
Oak Park, IL
Tel: (708) 383-2548