Monday, April 28, 2014

Chef's Burger Bistro

Location: 164 E Grand
Cost: About $20 per person
After a long day on the transplant surgery service, the team decided to go grab a meal and a drink. A bunch of us had been to Jake Melnick's so many times recently that we started looking for other nearby options. Then my senior resident reminded me how that armpit of a restaurant on Grand and St. Clair was bought out and remodeled. That's how we ended up at Chef's Burger Bistro.
Logistics
That restaurant I was talking about used to be a Boston Blackie's and the majority of the lot seemed to be taken up by the broken up parking lot in front. The remodeled Chef's Burger Bistro has this impressive front patio and a clean interior. They had plenty of TVs and a long bar. We plopped down at one of their larger high tops in the corner. Our waiter was friendly, the service was quick, but the food took a really long time to come out. The cost is so so with burgers in the $12 range that don't include fries. I was annoyed because I'd looked at an old version of the menu online before showing up that had lower prices, but I don't think I can really hold that against them.
The Food
We split a bunch of appetizers to get the ball rolling. The Fried Pickles were served in spears and had a great crunch. The Beet and Candied Walnut Flatbread had good topping coverage but the crust was mushy. Joel ordered the Deviled Eggs which were probably more cost than they were worth but had a good tang and creamy texture.

 The Fried Pickles

 The Beet Flatbread

 The Deviled Eggs
For the main course I went with the Paris Burger topped with onion jam, mushrooms, candied tomatoes, and brie cheese. The meat was an as ordered medium rare, and the topping made for a delicious mess. The brie got a bit oily, but the soft bun soaked everything up nicely. The table split some onion rings, regular, and sweet potatoe fries as well. Of the three, the wings were my favorite by far.
 The Paris Burger

 The Onion Rings

 The Brussel Sprout Salad

 The Regular and Sweet Potato Fries
Overall
Chef's Burger Bistro takes a good stab at taking the burger menu up a level. I really liked the Paris Burger, but I thought everything else was somewhat unimpressive. I'm glad it replaced the prior tennants though. I'm giving them 3 out of 5 Pearls.


Chef's Burger Bistro on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 21, 2014

County Barbeque

Location: 1352 W Taylor
Cost: About $25 per person

I was tired of Jeremy getting crumbs all over the carpet with his sub sandwiches, so I suggested we go grab some BBQ the other night. After a lengthy debate about where we should hit up we ended up driving a bit out west to sample County Barbeque, one of the newer ventures from the DMK group.

Logistics
We got to County Barbeque at the absolute worst time, around 7:15 PM on a Thursday. It was that perfectly wrong time where the early dinner wave had just gotten up and all new people had just sat down. It's worth mentioning that the restaurant is rather small with limited seating and not much room to stand and wait. Around 8, two spots opened at the bar, and we snatched them up. Cost wise it's pretty solid. Most main dishes are just above $10, but I'd recommend getting a few things based on the portions.

The Food
Jeremy and I are hooked on Rib Tips which made the entree choice simple. From there we also got some Fried Pickles and Okra, a Hot Link, the Mac n Cheese, and the Blackened Cauliflower. The tips were plenty juicy with a decent exterior char. I wouldn't put them at the level of Honey 1, but they held their own. The fried pickles and okra had an interesting grainy exterior. The hot link was plenty spicy and smokey. The mac was very heavy on the cheese which kept Jeremy happy. The Cauliflower was my favorite side with a great texture and a fresh sprinkling of cheese across the top.

The Rib Tips

 The Fried Pickles and Okra

 The Hot Link

The Blackened Cauliflower

The Mac n' Cheese

Overall
County Barbeque is a tiny place that has a very homey feel. The staff was small and very chummy with the customers. The BBQ was refined and well prepared. I'm usually in the camp of bigger portions, lower costs, and poor atmosphere. Still, it was a great place to watch a Hawks game and fill up. I'm giving them 4 out of 5 Pearls.


County Barbeque on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 14, 2014

Kinzie Chophouse

Location: 400 N Wells
Cost: Probably around $75 per person

I realized the other day that I'd skipped over a meal I meant to post about a few months ago. It was actually a restaurant week outing that my buddy Geoff and I went on. We were in the mood for steak and went scouring through the deals each restaurant was posting. We pushed aside all of the places offering pettite filets and finally decided on Kinzie Chophouse.
Logistics
We made a reservation which wasn't all that difficult in the middle of the week. After work we swapped out the scrubs for some button downs and drove over. There's a good amount of pay for parking on the street, and it's near the Merchandise Mart stop too if you want to take public transportation. I thought our waiter was trying to sell the specials a bit hard especially when we made it clear we wanted the restaurant week deal. Our food came out in a timely fashion though, and despite the crowded dining room, I didn't feel overly claustraphobic or rushed. We went with the $44 deal, but the typical steak runs in the $40 range if that gives you any better idea on pricing.
The Food
We both started off with the Chopped Brussel Sprout Salad. It was simple and crisp. This was one of the few times I had hoped for more dressing on my salad though.
The Brussel Sprout Salad
Next we went with the Mushroom Soup. It was heavy cream based and very rich. The bigger chunks of mushroom were a nice touch, and there was a bit of a peppery kick at the end to round things out.
The Mushroom Soup
The steak on the pre fixe was a Del Monico and came with a side of fingerling potatoes and green beans. Mine was prepared on the rarer side of medium rare (just how I like it). It was well seasoned, and the cut wasn't too fatty. The sides were simple but let the steak stand out well.
The Del Monico

For dessert they this Pecan Pie of sorts. It was gooey and delicious with plenty of ice cream on top.
The Pecan Pie

Overall
It's hard to judge a restaurant on its restaurant week menu, but I thought Kinzie Chophouse held up nicely. My steak was prepared well, and there were no big or flashy gimmicks that many steakhouses seem to be pushing heavily these days. I'm giving them 3.5 out of 5 Pearls.


Kinzie Chophouse on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 7, 2014

Range

Location: 1119 W Webster
Cost: About $15 per person (for brunch at least)

After we finished our residency program's in service examination there was an after party of sorts. One of my friends from the urology department, Laurie, happened to be there to join in on the fun. We got to talking about dead restaurant locations. You know that place that no matter what moves in seems to go out of business in a few months. I think 1119 W Webster is a great example. Laurie pointed out that current tenant, Range, happens to be very good and that she hopes it stays for a while. So the other weekend Jenny and I decided to trek over there and check it out.

Logistics
Range is a restaurant split in two by a divider. To the right is a bar area with some high tops and booths. To the left is a more causal sit down area. They also have some back of the restaurant party areas that we didn't venture into. Our service was quick and friendly. The cost for brunch was to be expected. Each dish was around $10.


The Food
Our order was simple. Jenny got the Chicken Sandwich and I got the Hangover Sandwich. Her chicken came with an aioli and orange pepper glaze with some cheddar over a ciabatta roll. She loved it though I fear Jenny would love any chicken sandwich without bias. The hangover sandwich was pretty good too. It was two eggs over hard with pulled pork, peppers, and a cranberry shallot jam. The cranberries gave it this whole thanksgiving feel. The bread was soft and soaked up all of the flavors well.

The Chicken Sandwich

The Hangover Sandwich

Overall
I'm with Laurie in that I hope Range stays around a bit (at least until I leave town in a few months). We didn't begin to break down the menu, but our sandwiches were solid. If you're looking for a good savory brunch, Range is not a bad choice. I'm giving them 4 out of 5 Pearls.


Range on Urbanspoon