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Deep Fried Chicago: Rockit Burger Bar

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[Photograph: Joe Roy]

Located in the shadow of Wrigley Field, Rockit Burger Bar looks like your typical Wrigleyville bar. A Jack Johnson-esque guitarist serenades on the outdoor patio as burger and fry baskets whiz past to crowded tables. But a closer look at the carefully chosen ingredients in thoughtful combinations reveals a thoughtfulness not typical of the neighborhood, and the fried items are no exception.

The Jumbo Buffalo Chicken Wings ($10.00) are as classic a take as I've had in a while. The comparison that jumped immediately to mind were the textbook ones up the way at Toon's Bar & Grill. While they did very well in our wing round up early last year, I found their sauce to be lacking in heat and zip. No such complaints here: the neon orange vinegary sauce has a pleasant kick enhanced by a generous dousing of black pepper that hits the back of the throat. Next time I'm looking for a respectable recreation of my college era trips to Buffalo Wild Wings, I know where I'm heading.

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As their name more than implies, Rockit Burger Bar's focus is on beef, and I couldn't resist ordering a burger with a fried bent. The Hottie ($12.00) fits the bill, with its thick, habanero cheese soaked patty topped with precariously placed jalapeño poppers. The burger more than lives up to the menu's warning, with a ever-present spiciness that lends perspective to its name. But to be honest, I wanted more. The patty itself was thick and juicy, and everything else got sort of lost next to it. Another popper or two, maybe a whole ghost pepper buried in the center—any sort of burger-ridiculousness would've been appreciated.

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BD's Sweet Potato Fries ($2.00 added to burgers and sandwiches or $6.00 as a side) sound promising. The brown sugar salt and chipotle mayo from the description seem like part of a thoughtful approach to the ever-popular fry alternative. But both are a little one note, adding little more than sweetness to the overall experience. Next time, I'm going with my gut and ordering the seasoned curly fries.

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Dessert Nachos ($6.00) are what happens when Mexican fried ice cream meets a banana split. The crisp flour tortillas puff substantially in the deep fryer and take well to their cinnamon sugar coating, while the ice and whipped creams merge into one great, indistinguishable sauce. Smaller tortilla pieces would make sharing easier, but then again, that would mean less for me.

Though some swings certainly end in a miss, Rockit Burger Bar mainly gets it right. And as long as I don't have to listen to a cover of "Better Together" on the patio, I'll be back for sure.

Rockit Burger Bar

3700 N Clark Street Chicago, IL 60613 (map)
773-645-4400
rockitburgerbar.com

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