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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Man, people love Irazu. And I don't mean that it's always busy—which it is—but that people have some genuine connection to the place. Having lived in Bucktown for a year, I was well aware of the adoration before I stopped by last week, but the visit only reaffirmed that impression. Take what happened when a waitress asked a man nearby how everything was: he honestly admitted that he was in the process of texting his friend about how much he loved this place. I'm unsure if I've ever witnessed this before.

How does Irazu do it? I think the steak sandwich ($5.95) sums it up. Nothing revolutionary here, just a solid sandwich that is neither overstuffed nor too skimpy. It's all anchored by tender slices of marinated beef and crunchy sautéed onions. Along with some mayo, the sandwich also contains salsa Lizano, a Costan Rican sauce that is slightly sweet and spicy. While good on its own, a side of gallo pinto is a must.

Irazu

1865 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map)
773-252-5687
irazuchicago.com

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