[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Usually when a restaurant advertises a dish as "homestyle," you can be guaranteed affected rusticity. Think unevenly chopped everything, balance thrown to the wind, and potato skins left on the fries (I'm looking at you, Arby's and Chili's). Compound this descriptor to a restaurant as a whole, and you'd expect Homestyle Taste in Bridgeport to collapse under the weight of its own casualness. Luckily for me, this cozy little spot must've missed the memo, because the nuanced and satisfying fried food coming out of their kitchen is anything but amateur.

The Pork Pot Stickers ($4.95), with their blatant lack of uniformity, are defiantly homemade. The food at this place is heavily inspired by Dongbei, China's wheat-heavy cuisine, and if the thick, doughy, and substantial shells on the stickers are characteristic, I could definitely consider taking an extended break from rice. Though the fried face is a little less crisp than I prefer, the tender and herbal pork filling more than makes up for it. It contracts just enough from its casing to make plenty of room for the tableside soy, vinegar, and chili oil sauces.


The Fried Fish Fillet with Chili Bean Sauce ($10.95) features the flavors of Lao Hunan's similar dish, but with the texture of mapo tofu. The thin slabs of soft tofu drive the comparison home, and spooned alongside rice, this dish will disappear rapidly from your table—number of other items ordered and available remaining stomach space be damned.


The Deep Fried Sautéed String Bean ($7.95) is exactly what I'm looking for when I order this dish. The quick oil flash ensures just the right amount of shiny, fried wrinkle without obscuring the beans' vegetal crunch. They're also fingerlickingly salty, though picking them up with chopsticks is just as affective and much more socially acceptable.

Though the food here is unlike anything I've ever eaten at home, if this is what "homestyle" really means, you can keep your rough cut fries. I'll be in Bridgeport, slowly making my way through the fried items and beyond at Homestyle Taste.

Homestyle Taste

3205 S Halsted Street Chicago, IL 60608 (map)


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