You know you’ve ruffled some feathers when you have to post a sign explaining why the top half of the bagel is missing from your $8 tartine. (Note: The top is available for $1 extra.) But this new little bi-level Lake View café wants diners to embrace the fact that here, bread is just a vehicle (albeit a tasty New York Bagel & Bialy one). The star of the show is the house-cured, hand-sliced fish topped with carefully chosen accoutrements.
Silky hunks of tuna belly confit get the niçoise treatment, with a tomato jam schmear, chewy cured olives, mustard vinaigrette, and pickled red onions ($9). Invite a hungry friend to meet you for lunch and split a few tartines or a cured-fish tasting ($14) along with a playful salad: perhaps an iceberg wedge dotted with blue cheese and hunks of roasted tomato ($5). And hope owners Jennifer Kim and Bill Montagne will pass you a sample of that coral-hued trout pastrami they’re slicing. You won’t care that it’s topless and bottomless.
2819 N. Southport Ave., 773-899-4711