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Ethic - worth a trip from NYC

I'm going to have the opportunity to have one 'ethnic' dinner when I'm in Chicago next week so I really want it to count. It can be upscale or way downscale. I just want it to be memorable. It needs to be in the city not the suburbs. Don't care if it's Asian, African, Mideastern etc. - just really worth it! Thanks.

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  1. Can't go wrong with TAC Quick for outstanding authentic Thai. Order off of the blackboard or the Thai-translated menu:


    TAC Quick
    3930 N Sheridan Rd
    (773) 327-5253

    3 Replies
    1. re: jesteinf

      We always go to Yum Thai... our all-time favorite. They really make you feel right at home. I've always thought of just trying out TAC Quick; do you think it would be worth well over an hour drive compared to a 15-20 minute drive to Yum Thai???

      1. re: wineaux

        Hmm, I've never been to Yum Thai so I really couldn't say.

      2. re: jesteinf

        I'd lean towards Thai food. Its a specialty in Chicago which you don't find elsewhere.

        Never been to TAC, although I have heard great things about it.

        I have been to Spoon Thai which was outstanding. FYI - its BYO, so bring your own drinks. Spoon also has a formerly Thai-language menu that has been translated.


      3. My top choice would be Topolobampo--extraordinary Mexican and apparently not readily found elsewhere in the US. Toloplo is next door to its better known sister restaurant, Frontera Grill, but it's quieter, has better food, and takes reservations (also open at lunch, though there's a great tasting menu in the evening).

        1. I'm going to throw in Coco - "modern Puerto Rican cuisine" - in Humboldt Park. About 2800 West Division. Their mofongo is the best and their raisin-stuffing chuleta is delish. It is off the beaten path though. They have some interesting Puertican art throughout the restaurant (the owner hosts gallery receptions on a regular basis). Most weekends you can find a salsa band - which is great fun in their intimate setting. If you go, make sure you try one of their coconut martinis (makes a great starter or a great dessert).

          1. Another idea is Cuban, agreed we have no palm trees, but Cafe Laguardia, a multi-generational cuban place is great! Tons of fun, on the weekends there is live music in the small bar that washes over the restaurant. It's about a 12 minute cab from N Mich Ave. Great food, tons of fun, watch out for the heavy-handed mojito and the spiked sangria.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jbontario

              I've never been to Cafe Laguardia (it'll be next on my list), but I know Café 28 (http://www.cafe28.org/) offers delicious Cuban food. If you go, try their frozen Mojitos. Regardless of whether or not you like traditional Mojitos — these are fantastic. I've never had a mediocre bite of food there. Fabulous.

            2. One thought: there are a couple of outstanding Indian places way north, on Devon Ave. near the intersection of Western (1 block east, on Oakley). Hema's Kitchen on one side and Bahbi's on the other. Small and informal, not cheap but not really expensive unless you go whole hog. I prefer Hema's, but they're both very good.

              The lamb curry at Hema's is terrific. Very subtle, multi-layered spicing that will have you spooning up the leftover gravy. The samosas come with several homemade dipping sauces that will have you debating which is the most excellent.

              Hema's also has an outpost on Clark at Fullerton that is a lot easier to get to from downtown. The service is pretty shoddy, but the food is good.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Pete Oldtown

                We just had a terrific meal at Eddie's Potsticker House on Halsted near Chinatown last weekend per recommendations from lthforum.com. An amazing variety on their menu which we barely touched - the soup dumplings are excellent (better than the potstickers) but the champion dish was a "sandwich" of a griddle pancake filled with smoked pork slices, scallions and a smear of hoisin and quartered - absolutely wonderful. They have an extensive menu with a lot of really interesting stuff that Ive not seen in NY - including, for example a "salad" of chilled spinach with a dressing of sesame, chinese mustard, etc - very japanese in type but the host said it was from canton.

                TAC is great (we went on last visit) lots of stuff you will not see in NY, even at Sri (its a different cuisine) - fine spot, near Wrigley Field.

              2. On the WAY downscale side, you can always go for a jibaritto (or is it jibarito) at Borinquen restaurant. You can search for it on the internet.

                Essentially, though, it's a Puerto Rican sandwich invented in Chicago at Borinquen. But instead of bread, they use flattened fried plantains.

                I only suggest it b/c although some places serve it in Chicago, it may not be available at all in NYC.

                3 Replies
                1. re: rubinow

                  So my boyfriend and I thought that the jibarito at Borinquen Restaurant sounded fantastic so we went and tried it tonight! It was delicious and the waitress was sweet and helpful with us as we picked out food and drinks. We had the tostones (fried plantains with garlic), a pastel (a tamele like dish), a mofongo (fried plantain ball) and we each had a steak jibarito. All I have to say is YUMMERS! And this is totally a place for people that LOVE plantains! SOOOO GOOD! Our sandwiches came with tasty rice and had onions and meat in it too! My drink was something I've never had, Tropical Cola (kind of like carbonated liquid bubble gum) and my boyfriend had cafe con leche (DELICIOUS!). Overall dinner was a total success! Parking was a little difficult but worth it! We would definitely recommend it and we will go back! Thanks rubinow!

                  1. re: Gweck

                    No problem. The Puerto Rican festival is this weekend (starting June 15, 07). Lot's of local PR food vendors out there.

                    1. re: rubinow

                      Thank you all very much for your kind suggestions.