Editor's Note: You may have noticed a new byline last week. Since I forgot to introduce her then, I'll have to make amends and properly welcome Molly Durham now. We're glad to have her on our crew!

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[Photograph: Molly Durham]

E.leaven Food Company is sort of tucked away in River North, right in the middle of a mass of touristy restaurants and serious shopping. But what's hidden in there is worth finding. They have a good selection of hot and cold sandwiches, soups, salads, and breakfast served all day (an underrated and majestic option, in my opinion). You can tell everything is made to order, because this isn't a quick grab-n-go spot. While you can absolutely get your food for takeout, it'll take about 10 minutes of waiting.

The short rib sandwich ($8.95) is filled with braised aji short rib, topped with horseradish crema, roasted leeks, and manchego cheese, all on sourdough bread. The beef on this thing is tender and juicy. The horseradish crema isn't too bitter, so the flavor doesn't overpower the meat. And while there's plenty of it, it doesn't overwhelm like an overzealous smear of mayo can. The sourdough is soft but crispy, giving you a crunch with no crumbs, and the leeks give it an extra dose of flavor without distracting from the rest of it. It's balanced but hearty, and I want it again.

E Leaven Food Co.

54 East Ontario Street, Chicago, IL 60611 (map)
312-202-0899
eleavenfood.com

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