Why would you open yet another phở place there, at the very end of a strip full of phở places? Phở Tàu Bay has survived a year and more. And it's become a regular stop for me on Argyle, because it's easy. While people are lining up at Tank Noodle or one of the others, you can always get a seat.
Uptown, North Side
Sure, Ba La serves an exceptional bánh mì, but did you know it also had pickled chicken feet on menu?
If you're up for it and want to try something more along the wild side of things, go hang out at Shan Restaurant and give brains and feet a crack. Don't worry. You won't become a lamb zombie.
If dim sum has a gateway drug, it's surely char siu bao, the barbecued pork bun, candy-sweet pork in a ball of cotton candy-like steamed flour.
Reservoir opened last year with an ambition to take its food up a step from Uptown's everyman vibe. Yet there's an odd combination of high and low-brow going on that could be a kink in the concept or just a mission to appeal to every craft drink-loving patron who might wander in.
If you make the trek up to Siam Noodle & Rice, and you can somehow pull yourself away from nearby Sun Wah, Tank Noodle, or Ba Le, you'll be rewarded with some pretty solid offerings- especially of the stir fried noodle variety.
The restaurant faces a historic corner of Lawrence Avenue, where the glittering emerald lights of the Green Mill twinkle. Although Demera has only been open since 2007, it's already an Uptown neighborhood mainstay in its own right.
Far from the froufrou or overcrowded brunch spots elsewhere in the city, Pecking Order succeeds by keeping things simple and supremely satisfying, imbuing brunch staples with a punch of Filipino flair.
One mouthful gives you the warmth and creaminess of the coconut; the next is all-out chicken stew; then you snag a caramelized onion and it's a salty little explosion of flavor in your mouth.
Pho 888 offers a delicate but filling take on the Vietnamese bánh mì sandwich.
The wonderful, Belgian-inspired menu, features mussels, frites, and an aioli that offers free self-improvement seminars to other aiolis.
Years of experience go into a sticky bun worth going out of your way for: Baker & Nosh's fulfills all of the usual sticky bun requirements (buttery, tacky goo and crunchy pecans), but it's also made with a fantastic brioche dough, so instead of being Cinnabon-soft, there's a little more crispy, buttery crust here than your usual bun.
Giuseppe Scurato was born in Sicily and serves contemporary American food with an Italian slant at his Uptown restaurant Ceres' Table. He walked us through his picks for where he likes to eat in Edgewater and Uptown.
Until I find someone knowledgable in Southeast Asian food that's willing to guide me through Tank Noodle's extensive offerings, I'm stuck doing this the old fashioned way: working through the menu one item at a time. But with dishes approaching the mid 200s, it helps to do things systematically. And I can't think of any better place to start than with items straight from the deep fryer.
Whole shrimp are tossed with a mix of cornstarch, salt, and five spice powder, deep fried until crispy, and stir-fried with jalapeños, red pepper, and garlic. I'm sure that for those in the know, the delicately seasoned and expertly cooked shrimp and accompanying mound of rice would make for a great lunch. But I felt like I needed an instruction booklet for where to begin.
The al pastor spit dominates the taqueria. Central in its placement and comically oversized for its surroundings, you'll spot (and smell) its wares halfway down the block. You'd be missing the point not to order something sliced from the orange-hued cone.
Encased in glass and heat lamp lit from above are a selection of egg rolls and other fried appetizers. Generally, the first rule of TGI Fry-Day is "heat lamp = bad," but given the quality of Ba Le's bánh mì sandwiches, I figured I'd trust their judgment and give something a try.
It's too easy to walk into Ba Le, take one look at the menu, and order the Number 1: the classic bánh mì. But next time you're craving the assurance of satisfaction that comes with a well-known classic but want something a little different, the Meatball Bánh Mì ($3.95) is a great place to start.
It was with a conflicted heart that I made my (wildly overdue) inaugural visit to Sun Wah BBQ recently with the express intent to eat noodles. Would it be laughably misguided of me to finally hit up such a well-known haven of grilled meats and subsist solely on its slurpables? Turns out, it's not the crippling dilemma I thought it'd be.
The wings were crispy, with the skin achieving the crackly, fat-rendering induced texture most wing places screw up. Beyond the fish sauce, I think I tasted garlic, sambal oelek, and lime juice, but I'll never really know for sure.