I don’t usually poach food from strangers when eating out, but I made an exception on discovering Coda di Volpe’s chicken diavola ($23). Seconds after the pretty young woman sitting next to me at the bar cut into her bird, I was so overcome by the tantalizing aroma of spice and lemon that I blurted out, “Ooh, that smells good.” Next thing I knew, she was offering me a bite. Maybe she hoped I’d politely decline, but I called her bluff.
Of course I ordered the chicken. And the expertly deboned half bird, marinated with garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes, and Calabrian chili paste, delivered. The crisp fingerling potatoes and grilled lemon made their presence known, too. I shouldn’t have been surprised when my dinner pals stared me down until I finally passed my plate around the table.
3335 N. Southport Ave., 773-687-8568, Lake View