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2018 Best New Restaurants
Photo: Jeff Marini

13

The Delta

Welcome to the best party in Wicker Park. On a comparatively sleepy stretch of North Avenue, this homage to the Mississippi Delta is so packed it’s practically shaking, filled with men in ironic mustaches and women in ironic wire-rimmed glasses, all of them nodding along to hip-hop and sipping fruity vodka punches from shareable cut-glass vases. The tamales get top billing and are prepped Delta-style, meaning they’re made with cornmeal instead of masa and are simmered, not steamed. They come to the table pillowy and moist and a far sight better than the kind you buy for $5 from your neighborhood bar’s tamale guy. All of them have a Chicago swagger, especially the Jim Shoe, which riffs on the gyro-esque components of the city’s sub shop classic. Topped with pastrami, giardiniera, and a Thousand Island-esque sauce, it’s gloriously sloppy yet precisely calibrated to maximize your salt-craving pleasure. Non-tamale options—from greaseless fried rice to crunchy-soft hush puppies—keep the delights coming. And best of all, the party lasts until 2 a.m. most nights.

Don’t miss:A burger ($15)—two patties of funky dry-aged beef piled with bacon, melted American cheese, and a tart house sauce—that’s so moist the juices run down your wrists.

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