I know it's kind of hard to believe, but the little hunks of fried goodness pictured above are vegetables—not chicken, pork, or any other kind of meat. Not that you'll care much. Though it is completely vegetarian, this is still one greedy appetizer.
There's no real reason these chicken wings from Joong Boo are so good, but I crave them like a five year old binging on yesterday's Halloween candy haul.
Though you can never quite predict what Belly Shack will next have on its menu (hot dogs, jibaritos, and chicken wings?), I've learned to just accept whatever the special is and order it. But the general excellence of the food here didn't prepare me for the flautas.
As far as I'm concerned, a salad can only be improved by addition of meat, or, better yet, something fried--anything, really, to remove the notion that I'm eating something vaguely positive for my arteries. So the Crispy Onchoy Salad ($12) at Andy's Thai Kitchen in Lakeview is basically my dream dish.
With so many restaurants opening along Hubbard St. in River North, it's understandable to lose track of a few. That's the only excuse I have to explain how I could have possibly forgotten about Vermilion, which has been serving up a fusion of Indian and Latin American food for the past ten years.
When Oiistar first opened, I assumed the Wicker Park shop was focused solely on ramen. That was fine with me, especially since all the noodles were being made by hand. But a recent visit revealed that the first section of the menu is devoted entirely to buns.
Basically, it's like getting your chips and guacamole all in one go: the tempura shatters on contact, while the avocado mixes with the pickled watermelon radish and serrano to make a guac I wouldn't hesitate to serve at a party.
While I'm fond of most of the taco options, the one that is always impressive is the shrimp taco ($3.50).
A few other places have barbecue chips on their menu, but no place quite nails them like Chicago Q. There are no soft chips here—each and every chip is crisp and distinct.
I've tried my fair share of fried shell-on shrimp, but all I ever ended up with were impenetrable pieces of shell lodged in the back of my throat. But if done right, like the version served here, the shells transform into an extra crunchy casing, which shatter dramatically when you bite in.
Between the housemade charcuterie and other fried delights, you can't blame me for never sticking around for dessert at Old Town Social. But after trying the warm doughnuts, I'll have to remember to always save a little room.
Like an empanada, a pastel ($6) is a fried pocket of dough that can be stuffed with any number of ingredients. Rickshaw Republic's version goes for pure comfort.
Whenever a dish requires quotation marks, you can safely assume it's probably not that thing. Sure, it may share a similar flavor profile and look, but it usually differs in some monumental way. That's definitely the case the Buffalo style tofu "wings" Ground Control.
Like most dishes at Vera, the churros make for incisive and bold bite. Just make sure this is the last one you take before walking out the door.
Yes, you read that correctly. You can purchase dill pickle wings ($10) at The Monarch. But are they any good?
Is it wrong to compare something favorably to cheesy puffs? That's the position I'm in trying to describe the awesomeness of the white cheddar chicharrones ($5) at Trenchermen.
Mai-tou (known mostly as mantou) are fried buns that look and taste an awful lot like doughnut holes. They are served with a side of sweet and syrupy condensed milk, which affixes itself so well to the mai-tou that it almost resembles Elmer's Glue (in a tasty way, of course).
As all nachos should, the Machos Nachos at Little Goat look like an absolute mess, but there is an underlying method to this madness that separates it from most others.
Few fried fish dishes in Chicago are as well known as the fish and chips ($10.25) at Duke of Perth in Lakeview, though I'm guessing that the real reason it's so well known is the all-you-can-eat special on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Even with all the wine being swirled around, I didn't feel the least bit self-conscious setting my silverware aside, grasping a leg of Edith's Fried Chicken ($12), and chowing down like I was at Harold's Chicken Shack.