Mr. D's Shish-Kabobs
6656 West Diversey Avenue
Chicago, IL 60707 (map);
The Short Order: Grilled shish kabobs and steak sandwiches
Want Fries with That? Absolutely. Some of the best around.
How Many Seats? A few tables, but mostly just counter service.
Just when I thought I'd experienced every kind of great Chicago stand, something as unique as Mr. D's Shish-Kabobs comes along. Sure, there are a fries on the menu (truly astonishing fries, by the way, which I'll talk about later), and you'll be able to order a hot dog and a burger. But Mr. D's in the far northwestern neighborhood of Montclare excels at a couple items that most stands don't even attempt—steak sandwiches and grilled shish kabobs.
I'd actually been tipped about the place two years earlier, when Titus from Smokin' Chokin' & Chowing with the King suggested I take a look at this classic stand. In the meantime, LTH Forum recognized it as a Great Neighborhood Restaurant. It's a shame I haven't been before now.
Located in a kind of drab grey building, there are four tables, and one long counter up front. While I was there, everyone just walked in and leaned on that counter and got their food to go.
The shish kabob ($6.35) features alternating hunks of meat and onion slices. It takes time to make, as it is first cooked on the cooler part of the girl, before being finished off over high heat. The result is meat that is nicely charred, and flavorful thanks to a good marinade.
It's housed in a huge roll, along with two totally superfluous slices of tomato, and a wedge of lemon. (Discard the former, and squeeze on the latter.)
I actually kind of preferred the steak sandwich ($6.45), which features very thinly sliced beef that has been tossed on the hot grill for just a few minutes on each side. When it comes off, it is caramelized, but still juicy inside. Stuffed into the same kind of roll, the meat is topped with a ladleful of gravy—an indulgence that only ups the beefiness. The out of season tomato slices are still unnecessary, but the onion adds a nice textural balance.
Oh, and what about all of those fries? I've sampled some spectacular fries around the city, but these twice-fried hunks of potato are some of the best. Crispy on the outside and wonderfully creamy inside, they come with every order and should be treasured. Honestly, I ordered two sandwiches, and ate half of both. But I didn't leave any fries behind.