Thursday, October 11, 2012

El's Kitchen

Location: 1450 W Webster
Cost: About $20 per person

September ended in a really busy way for me. I had Step 2 of my boards to take, and then the day after that I had to drive to Cleveland for an away rotation. So the day before all of this nonsense, I spent most of my time packing and trying to take it easy. Of course I still had to eat though. Jeremy and I decided we'd find something walkable from our place. Ricky had always raved about this place El's Kitchen near Clybourn and Webster, so we decided to check it out.

Isn't walking into an empty restaurant the worst? You walk in and notice it's empty, but before you can turn and run, the eagerly waiting staff pounces on you. In a mix of empathy and a loss for words, I usually just sit down. That's totally what happened here. The bartender then began to hold a conversation with us from across the restaurant. So you don't need a reservation. There's plenty of street parking nearby. It's basically one large room with some dividers and classic music memorobilia on the walls. They play some pretty good music too.

Our waiter was friendly and the drink glasses were always full. There was this one annoying point where the bar tender went out for a smoke and the waiter had to cover the bar. In turn we had to wait for this shift change to end before we could get our bill. The cost is pretty cheap considering how gigantic the portions are. Most entrees are between $12 and $15, and unless your in for a night ending dinner, you'll have plenty left over.

Note: I don't remember what the deal was exactly, but I think they have some kind of all you can eat fried chicken special for $10 on Sundays.

The Food
We had a hunch that the entrees were going to be huge, so we skipped right past appetizers. Jeremy got the Half Fried Chicken and I got the Trio (Brisket, Ribs, and Smoked BBQ Chicken). The fried chicken was crispy and had a nice seasoning. I thought it was a tad dry, but the real issue was the saltiness. When I usually get sampler platters, I'm usually upset at how small each thing is, but this was not the case. The brisket was in a whole bunch of BBQ sauce which made it tough to appreciate the quality of the meat. That being said, the sauce was tangy and not a bad way to go. The ribs were a little tough to chew but at least they didn't come off the bone in the encapsulate "Chicago style" way. The Smoked Chicken was my favorite thing on the plate. It was way more moist than the fried chicken and had different layers of flavor from the penetration of the smoking.

 The Fried Chicken

 The Trio

We also got the Whole Wheat Mac N' Cheese and the Mashed Potatoes for side dishes. They were both great. The mac had this grainy and strong cheese topping. The mashed potatoes had bits of smoked bacon and the skins mixed in.

The Whole Wheat Mac N' Cheese

 The Mashed Potatoes

El's Kitchen has good BBQ and fried chicken at low prices and huge portions. I was surprised that it was so empty with the quality of a bunch of our dishes. I guess Pequod's cleans up most of the foot traffic in that part of town. I'm giving them 3.5 out of 5 Pearls.

El's Kitchen on Urbanspoon


  1. Great review. I totally agree to some factors that you have mentioned on the above post. Thanks so much for this informative description

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  2. Your review makes me want some fried chicken. Thank you for sharing!