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Restaurant for sweetbreads

I've liked sweetbreads well before the TV chefs tried to make it popular.
Any recommendations for a Chicago restaurant?
(so far I've gotten Blackbird, Boka, and Custom House).
Thanks for the help.

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  1. You probably won't believe this, but I discovered an amazing place for sweetbreads that is not expensive. It's El Nandu on Fullerton w of western. It's an Argentinian place. Even funnier, I discovered it through a friend that was vegetarian at the time and ordered them by mistake thinking that it was some kind of a pastry, while waiting for a punk rock show to begin across the street at the Fireside Bowl. The sweetbreads are served in a large portion, nice and seared. The prices are affordable, the service however is very slow. Don't go totally hungry if you go. I hope this place is still open, I haven't lived in the area for 2 years, but if it is, check it out. The empanadas can be good also.

    1 Reply
    1. re: creamydeluxe

      El Nandu is still open, though I haven't been there.

      Tango Sur, described below, is also an Argentinian restaurant. The ones I had were served very simply: grilled and salted.

    2. I had very good ones at Tango Sur.

      3 Replies
      1. re: rubinow

        Molleja in Spanish. I think at Tango Sur they are part of the mixed grill for two.

        1. re: Querencia

          Anyone know if the Tango Sur offshoot in Wicker Park is still in the works? Or shelved in these hard times?

          1. re: ms. chow

            Today's "Countdown" column in Metromix says late April to early May. That's close enough that it's not likely to get cancelled.


      2. Oooh!!! I love sweetbreads! It's part of my "trifecta" of fine dining! There are three things that I love, and I always order when I see them on the menu (sweetbreads, foie gras, and short ribs). Unless a place has all three, in which case I have a tough time narrowing it down unless I can talk someone else into sharing.

        I've found that there are many restaurants where it shows up as a daily or weekly special, and then a few weeks later it's gone, so it can be very hit or miss. I realize that restaurants like to change their menus periodically and that they are susceptible to availability from their suppliers - it's just worth mentioning. If you really have your heart set on sweetbreads at a particular restaurant, it's best to call them (the same day you'll be dining) to verify that they will have them.

        This year I've had them at several places. One was Custom House ("veal sweetbreads with glazed bacon over white polenta with black trumpet mushrooms") where they were excellent. Another was Chef's Station in Evanston, one of my favorite restaurants, where they were also excellent; theirs were breaded and served over mushroom pierogis. Yum! At both Custom House and Chef's Station, they were on the regular menu. I also had them this year at Quince, in Evanston, where they were very good; I don't remember whether they were on the regular menu or a daily special (but I think they change their regular menu frequently so it almost doesn't matter).

        I see that they are now on the website menu at Michael in Winnetka, another of my favorite restaurants, so I'll have to go try them next time I'm there. I've also heard that they usually have them at La Sardine.

        Okay, so am I the only person who loves sweetbreads so much that I often order a double portion as an entree?

        3 Replies
        1. re: nsxtasy

          The sweetbreads at Le Sardine are excellent.

          1. re: chicgail

            I ate at La Sardine a few months back. I had the sweetbreads entree and I thought it was just okay - not bad, but not outstanding either (not as good as the places I mentioned in my post above). La Sardine sliced them as part of the preparation, which was a bit unusual (but no big deal either way as far as I'm concerned; I care about taste and texture). I was actually far more impressed with my other two dishes there, the mussels meuniere appetizer and the dessert of chocolate souffle with creme anglaise.

          2. re: nsxtasy

            I've never eaten at Michael but when Chef Lachowicz (sp?) ran Les Deux Gros in Glen Ellyn, years ago, the sweetbreads there were excellent.

          3. Thanks for the information. This spring I was in Argenina but didn't have time to sample the local sweetbreads after overdosing on steak and lamb.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JerseyJoe2

              They have them at many of the restaurants in Greektown, cooked a variety of ways. I remember some fantastic sauteed ones at the Parthenon.

            2. I've heard good things about Blackbird's owners' new place: Publican, but I have not personally sampled. Has anyone else sampled Publicans?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Eaterlover

                Sorry to bump this thread again, but I remembered Eaterlover's question: Yes, I tried Publican's sweetbreads and they are amazing. They are a tiny bit sweet and are served over ramps. You get a good portion of them, too. It was definitely my favorite thing I had that night.

              2. Takashi had some fabulous ones on the menu some time ago. Not sure if the menu has changed, but I would highly recommend them.

                2 Replies
                1. re: vrollings

                  Sweetbreads were on the regular menu at Takashi when they opened a year ago. They were no longer on the regular menu when I ate there in May. They mentioned they had removed a few of the heartier dishes (also short ribs) from the menu as they changed to a spring/summer menu. So it's possible they're back now. As with any restaurant, call ahead and ask if your heart is set on sweetbreads (to use a mixed-organ metaphor).

                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    Volo, on Roscoe, has had sweetbreads on the menu, paired with chicken livers & ???
                    You might call to confirm (and beware the mark-up on the wine)

                2. Urban Belly -- a trendy Noodle shop in Avondale on California near Belmont -- has them on Thursdays. Breaded with a spicy sauce. The sauce is a bit overpowering but the sweetbreads themselves are quite flavorful with a delightful crispy breading and just the right amount of carmelization. You may wish to ask for the sauce on the side and dip conservatively.

                  1. Lula Cafe has it when they have it. It is on their seasonal menu that changes usually every month. The last time i had it (sorry can't remember all the details), it was deep fried like a chicken nugget, there were smears of foie gras, and i think some kind of pickled veggie. Heaven!

                    1. The bump on this thread reminds me of the time I had sweetbreads at Schwa. Sweetbreads are actually part of the dessert course there. They're candied.

                      1. I've liked sweetbreads before zombies made it popular. "More Brains !!!" ... zombie from 80's classic " Return of the Living Dead ".

                        1. I had the sweetbreads at the Publican a couple weeks ago. Before I go on, let me say that I LOVE sweetbreads and always order them when they are on the menu, and that I loved Blackbird's sweetbreads.

                          Anyway, at the Publican, we were served a couple GIGANTIC pieces of sweetbreads-- each was the size of my fist. I think the restaurant was trying to be generous, as they had forgotten to input that order, but because the sweetbreads were so large, the insides failed to cook through. So the outside was beautifully seared, but when you cut into it, the inside was just white milky gelatinous jigly goop, still somewhat cold and leaking milky fluid. It was disgusting!

                          That said, the Publican ROCKS and everything else I had there-- the pork belly, cured meats, much more-- was amazing. The sweetbreads thing was probably just a rare mistake.

                          1. Hi. The first, thru the 7th & 8th times I've had sweetbreads has been at Cyranos Bistro on Wells ( French) I immediatly added it to my imaginary Death Row Meal! They're served with roasted root vegetables and a great chive cream sauce for around $16.00. I've also tried them at Tahlula (?) on N. Lincoln, they were cooked correctly but were tasteless. I would try them again but would select a sauce off the menu to enhance them.