Chicago: Polish, Lithuanian, Bosnian, Italian?
On a recent chow-intensive trip to
Chicago, I managed to try scores of
good hot dog stands (Fluky's in Rogers
Park is nonpariel); dozens of ribs
(every American city should have a barbecue
pit as good as Lem's on 75th St.) and
several examples of what I've fondly
begun to refer to as the Chicago institution
of the Hundred Dollar Meal (Le Francais is
one of the most profoundly silly restaurants
in the universe, but boy, those fellas can
Still, I found myself untterly incapable of
finding a great Polish restaurant (the beloved
Busy Bee was a recent victim of Wicker Park
gentrification), a great old-time Italian
place, which must exist in droves, or a
Lithuanian place that didn't reek of stale
bacon. Please, oh great mavens--can you
I went to the Warsaw Inn, out behind Midway,
and you're right--it was good, even though it
suffered from the usual deficiencies of an
all-you-can-eat buffet. And the place was
100 percent Polish: If there was an eye in
that crowded dining room that wasn't blue,
I must have missed it.
I also liked the Orbit up on Milwaukee--very
fine roast duck with apples, sauerkraut pierogi
and the thinnest, purest beet soup that
tasted more like intense beet tea than like borscht.
Fluky's is an amazing place, isn't it? It is indeed the high school hangout of my parents (in the 1930's!). I was lucky enough to meet Fluky himself in 1975, shortly before he died. He claimed to remember my parents, although I have a feeling he was just trying to be nice.
Never had great Polish food in Chicago, either. Even the Busy Bee was only good IMO, but a charming place nevertheless.
Also in Chicago is a GREAT korean restaurant called
cho sun ok....they are known for their naeng myun and
a wonderful tibetan restaurant called tibetan cafe
where lies yummy dumplings and a heavenly chili
chicken dish. If you are in Chicago, they are a must
and are both very small and easy on the pocket!