Half the fun of discovering a new restaurant is sharing it with people you know will enjoy it. As Rachael Ray’s resident restaurant guru, here’s an inside look at what I report back to Rach about some of my favorite restaurant finds and food experiences!
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 5:14pm
Subject: Chicago Under the Radar
Hey RR -
I’ve got a few places to share with you that I think you (and your readers/viewers) will dig. First up is Edzo’s Burger Shop is in Evanston, a suburb just north of Chicago. Eddie is a culinary school grad and a proper chef, but was sick of the long restaurant hours. So, he decided to make his own hours in order to be able to spend more time with his family. The result is burger success. Fresh ground burgers, hand-cut fries, hand-dipped ice cream shakes…they all benefit from the simple menu yet great attention to details that Eddie has. I mean, the guy grinds his meat fresh every morning – that’s dedication. You have the option of a griddled burger that is thinner and crispy, or a char burger, which is thicker and juicier. Choose from Buffalo Fries, Garlic Fries, Old Fries, Angry Fries and more. I ordered a griddled burger, Buffalo fries and a Nutella shake. I promise you’ll enjoy your experience at Edzo’s. Just do me a favor and don’t grab a table before you get your food (and don’t say I didn’t warn you!). P.S. Edzo’s Lincoln Park recently opened.
My gosh, I can’t wait to tell you about Rootstock. I’ve had a number of great experiences at this casual and small semi-out-of-the-way wine bar with delicious food (and beer). In truth, I hadn’t been in awhile, but I actually recently went back and was blown away. In the past I’ve had their flatbreads, their perfectly cooked French fries, their burger and tried their unique salads, such as faro and duck confit… all more than satisfying. This last time I went with a hand-cut pasta dish with brown butter, butternut squash, ricotta and pea shoots. Now, I like brown butter, but I don’t like how a pasta is usually swimming in it – this was perfectly coating the pasta and it was one of the better pasta dishes I’ve had in a long time. We of course got the fries again and the burger, but we also added what turned out to be a mind-blowing Squash Salad with butternut squash puree, a hen egg, kale and oat crumble (pictured above). If you’re on the lookout for a low-key dinner with unique flavors in a relaxed wine bar atmosphere, Rootstock is the place for you.
Now, Katy and I are always up for a casual and delicious Mexican adventure. In New York City, like you, we both love Mexicana Mama. We had heard about this place on the north side of Chicago called Mixteco Grill and decided to give it a try. Picture a Mexican diner of sorts. Upon entering, I noticed a woman making homemade tortillas and I was sold. We had some chips and salsa and guac, of course. We’re also queso fundido fans, so we ordered that. It was really good, but could have used a little more browning. However, the chicken enchiladas with homemade black mole more than made up for it. Also popular at our table were the tamales, a steak with a Mexican pepper sauce, and the cochinita pibil. This place is super affordable and very casual.
Lastly, I have a friend whose go-to is Bistro Campagne in the Lakeview area of Chicago. It’s really a pretty straightforward French bistro, which done right, I love. They unfortunately had a loss in the family of their chef/owner just a few weeks before I went in, but the restaurant has remained open for business. I started with a wonderful asparagus salad and followed that with the neighborhood favorite, roasted chicken with crispy onions and mushroom gravy. And it was just that… a great roasted chicken with crispy skin and a rich mushroom gravy draped over the top. What more can you ask for?
And that’s what’s on my plate!
1571 Sherman Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201
954 North California Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
1601 West Montrose Avenue
Chicago, IL 60613
4518 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625
Andrew “Kappy” Kaplan loves food. A professionally trained chef, by day he runs Yum-o!, Rachael Ray’s charity focused on kids and cooking, and keeps special projects running smoothly for her. By night he hops course to course, place to place, all across the country. He’s Rach’s own personal dining guide! You can also follow Kappy on Twitter to see what’s On Kappy’s Plate in real-time!