IYH I will be in Chicago next week, staying in Rogers Park, but not much time to sample things. I will probably have time for one dinner out. Where should I go? 1) Ken's, 2) Manghal, 3) Ten Li Chow, 4) somewhere else? Shallots is more than I want to spend. How do these other places compare to their equivalents in NYC? Manghal v Olympic Pita, for instance?
How about lunches? Is there anywhere that does a genuine-enough Chicago-style pizza worth trying? How about MetroKlub downtown? Is that worth going out of my way for, or is it just for those who have to be downtown anyway?
From previous discussions I gather that I should definitely make a trip to Romanian Kosher, if only to get stuff to take home. Is there any product in particular that I should get? Bear in mind that I live in Brooklyn and regularly get Abeles & Hyman, so I'm not completely deprived :-)
Tein-Li, which I find to be very good, is a take-out counter in a large grocery store, so it can be eliminated as an eat-in option. Manghal is very good and nice to eat-in. Ken's food is diner food, also good, but the ambience is lacking.
You may also want to consider Good Morgan's fish restaurant in Rogers Park:
Romanian is not necessarily going to blow you away, but they do sausage very well, be it Italian, garlic dogs or salami. May not be all that different than what you can get in Brooklyn, but it's certainly at the top of the heap.
As far as Kosher pizza goes in Chicago, skip it. Even mediocre Kosher pizza in New York is better.
Be sure to go to Taboun. They have two locations, one in Chicago and the other in Skokie. They have an excellent reputation. I agree the pizza is lacking in Chicago, but if you need a pizza, I recommend Main Pizza in Skokie.
Romanian has great sausages and cured meats. Although there are some great products coming out of New York including Abeles & Hyman, I think that Romanian is the best around.
Metro Club is OK for what it is, but they are downtown and only open for lunch.
A complete list of Chicago places to eat are on the crc website http://www.crcweb.org/guide_chicago.php
have a safe trip and enjoyable stay in Chicago!
I will add my voice to the chorus Romanians does sausage well - Salami and hot dogs - especially the garlic dogs are well worth the trip - I also happen to really like Romanians Corned Beef, chopped liver and kishke -
I second the Taboun recommendation - there is one in rogers park and a brand new location in Skokie - a little nicer than the RP location but the food is eauqlly as good - of the three Israeli places in Chicago - Taboun, Menghal and Mizrahi in Highland Park - are all very good and well worth the visit - each having their own specialties but IMHO Taboun is the overall winner - The three are as good as any I have had on the east or west coast -
As others have pointed out Tein Li Chow is only counter service but I like to think I have tasted most of the top kosher chinese places in the US and I think Tein Li Chow is definitely in the TOP 5 -
In terms of pizza - Chicago is pizza is ok MO Da' Nalis is the best of lot - Slice of life makes a good pie but I have found to be inconsistent -
If I only had to pick one, I would do either Manghal or Taboun. Although I like Taboun's food better, I like the service at Manghal more. Plus I love the falafel lafahs and chicken wings at Manghal, while the kabobs at Taboun are great!
Romanian is great too, their small salami is awesome as are the hot dogs.
I agree about considering Morgan Harbour Grill on Devon for sushi/fish dinner. We enjoy that restaurant very much.
Living in NY, where you get access to most stuff, I think it would depend what type of food you would be most in the mood for. I would probably do (like the others are saying) Taboun or Morgan Harbor Grill. One thing that is nice about MetroKlub for tourists especially is that if you are going to do stuff downtown anyway, you can park there, and they validate your parking with your meal. So have lunch, and leave your car there while going to see the sights, then come back to your car!
Agreed! MetroKlub is great, however, keep in mind that they are only open until 3pm Mon-Thurs. I highly recommend the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich and the Salmon Entree as well as the Guacamole appetizer:).
I forgot to reply to the previous posts about the pizza. I suppose that I am kind of a pizza snob since before becoming more observant I have had my share of pizza. I had worked at a hole in the wall Italian pizzeria all through college. The place was open for over 50 years and they knew a thing or two about pizza. I am not even going to discuss the toppings, but the sauce would be my number one deciding factor in any pizza. The dough would be second followed by the cheese. My husband also happens to be a big pizza fan as he had lived in Italy for a period of time and is quite familiar with what authentic pizza is supposed to taste like.
Having said that, and having tried the pizza at every single kosher establishment in Chicago, I would have to say that we mostly stick to pizza from Tel Aviv, and although I refuse to eat inside the restaurant, we get their pizza for carry-out serveral times per month. The pizza at DaNali's is just OK, and that is only if you eat it fresh out of the oven right there. Main Pizza is terrible, we have actually sent it back. I can't say too much about Slice of Life pizza as I have not had their pizza recently, but considering that their food is overall disappointing, I would not imagine that the pies there are much better. However, recently, I was pleasantly surprised by some of the items from Slice's meat section, i.e. Hy Life Bistro.
Anyway, the above is strictly my opinion, hope you find it helpful.
As a heads-up, MetroKlub is "downtown" but in an area known as GreekTown. It's easily a mile West of the Loop area and even farther from Michigan Avenue shopping and museums, so if you left your car there you'd still need cabs there and back. I'd brave a walk from there in April or May, but not now.
Thanks for all the help. We ended up for dinner at Manghal, which I found to be good, but not quite as good as Olympic Pita. They charge for laffa, instead of giving it free; on the other hand they do allow you to order sandwiches at a table, and they don't charge young children for the unlimited salads deal. They were very nice about an order they got wrong; not only did they take it back without question and replace it, they then gave us the wrong order wrapped up to take home for the next day's lunch!
I also had lunch at Tel Aviv and at Good Morgan. Tel Aviv's shakshuka and onion soup were both decent, but nothing spectacular. Good Morgan's whitefish sandwich was good, and if I'm ever in Chicago again I'll be back.
On the way to the airport I stopped at Romanian and got one of everything, to try over the next few weeks. Also some nice sandwiches for the flight.