Holy Mole, Batman
The two-year-old Logan Square Mexican spot Chilapan, known for its high-quality food and chill ambiance, will get a sibling in Ravenswood (1522 W. Montrose Ave.; 773-878-1077)—also BYO, and also called Chilapan. “It will be pretty much an exact replica of what we are doing here, only on a bigger scale,” says Olga Vega-Miranda, who owns Chilapan with her husband, Jorge Miranda. The new space seats about 65 inside and 30 on a warm-weather patio, and the larger size will allow for “more playful specials,” Olga says. Jorge will spend most of his time at the Ravenswood location, leaving his sous chef, Javier Cruz, in charge at Logan Square. The couple expects to open number two on February 20. Moles reproduce fast, we see. Did we also read that on a gardening website?
Holey Doughnuts, Batman
The icing on the cake doughnut for Glazed and Infused, the doughnut shop from Francesca’s puppet master Scott Harris, is that it will actually be three doughnut shops:
• At the corner of Halsted and Fulton Market in the West Loop
• At a window on the Damen Avenue side of Francesca’s Forno (1576 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-770-0184) in Wicker Park
• Near the Armitage Brown Line stop in Lincoln Park
The Wicker Park window and the West Loop location open in mid-March. “The West Loop will be our main commissary,” says Megan Brown, who runs operations for Glazed and Infused. Tom Culleeney, a former executive chef at Krispy Kreme, and Christine McCabe, a Charlie Trotter’s alumna and former Bon Appétit pastry chef of the year, are dreaming up the toric delights, seven to ten varieties of which will be available at a time. Tentative flavors include Milk Chocolate Malt, Crème Brûlée, and Coconut Crunch. Coffee will be Intelligentsia. At the Lincoln Park and West Loop locations, the café-style décor will evoke the era of World War II. “We are identifying with Rosie the Riveter,” Brown says. “Our floor managers will be the Rosies, and the server-type gals we will call the Rosebuds. We associate with that generation where women worked to keep America going.” A time of working toward shared goals where all workers pull their weight. On second thought, we don’t want to think about how much weight we’re pulling in the context of doughnuts.
“All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” —Lucy Van Pelt, character in the comic strip Peanuts
Erin Slucter, who works in communications at the School of the Art Institute, battled with her Peruvian boyfriend, Humberto Trujillo, almost from the moment they met. “I fought him tooth and nail not to open a restaurant. But every day he came with ideas and recipes, and it became part of our life and I got roped into it,” she says. “I caved.” The result of the caving is 4 Suyos (2727 W. Fullerton Ave.; 773-278-6525), a 30-something-seat full-service restaurant that opened January 26 in Logan Square. Trujillo, who previously participated in the opening of Lake View’s Machu Picchu, prepares authentic Peruvian food, with all its Japanese, Chinese, and French influences. Some dishes Slucter highlighted:
• Papa à la Huancaína: an appetizer of sliced, boiled potatoes, topped with a sauce made from cheese, cream, and a Peruvian pepper called ají amarillo.
• Ají de Gallina: shredded chicken with a sauce of sun-dried mirasol peppers, pecans, walnuts, milk, and cheese. “This is actually a traditional Peruvian dish,” Slucter says. “During the French Revolution, those that came to Peru introduced the cheese and the walnuts.”
• Lomo saltado: sirloin steak strips sautéed with onions, tomatoes, and fried potato wedges. “And then they flambé the heck out of that thing,” Slucter says. The dish comes with rice. “It really looks like Chinese stir-fry.”
• Seviche: fish cured in lime, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, and ginger.
• Leche de tigre: a drink made from the seviche marinade. “A lot of people are afraid to try it as a cocktail because it’s fish juice, but it is delicious,” Slucter says.
When an Irving Park restaurant space they owned sat unrented for two years, Zaida Muñoz and José Allende, who own the Humboldt Park Puerto Rican spot Coco, filled it themselves with Amoremia Cucina Italiana (3824 N. Kedzie Ave.; 773-293-6628). “We named it after our daughter,” Muñoz says. Amoremia the little girl is three and a half; Amoremia the restaurant opened January 5. The menu offers several types of small plates, including antipasti, bruschette, and house-made ravioli, and larger dishes, such as chicken Parmesan and a portobello Napoletana. Desserts include a cheesecake that Francesca Barsellotti, the pastry chef for both Coco and Amoremia, calls her signature cheesecake. “It’s light and creamy and not like any of the other cheesecakes that are so dense that you don’t want to eat [them],” she says. It’s industrious to take the liability of the vacant space and turn it into an asset. You might say life gave them lemons and they made limoncello.
Six Questions for Frank Lassandrello
Lassandrello, 30, runs Broad Shoulders Brewing (2337 S. Michigan Ave.; no phone yet), a new brewery slated to start pouring in July or August. His business partner is his father, Bob Lassandrello.
Dish: When did a young guy like you start brewing beer?
Frank Lassandrello: I started home brewing beer with some friends when I was in college.
D: In college? Was it legal?
FL: Absolutely not.
D: What did you want to do when you finished college?
FL: I wanted to be a brewer. After brewing beer at home, it inspired me to try and make this passion a career.
D: What will your beers be like?
FL: One of my main beers will be reminiscent of traditional, European-style lagers. What I plan on doing is making them my own with some American barley and hops. I [also] plan on having three seasonals. Also having special one-time draft releases, meaning I have a tank dedicated to doing special small batches that will be available on draft at the brewery and other bars in the neighborhood.
D: So there will be taps at the brewery?
FL: We have a tavern license. We will not a have a full bar. And definitely not a restaurant. It’s a production facility—primarily [for] six-pack 12-ounce cans. As well as draft-beer accounts around the city.
D: What about your dad? Is this new for him?
FL: All new for him. He trades live-cattle futures at the Board of Trade.
“We’re talking to a lot of chefs. Some Top Chef people . . . It’s going to be sort of gastropubby,” teases Roger Greenfield, talking about the 9,000-square-foot space at 169 West Kinzie Street that he hopes will be a 280-seat restaurant by late September. Greenfield and Ted Kasemir launched the successful Bar Louie chain and Kinzie Chop House, which is kitty-corner from the space at 169. Other Greenfield concepts, however, such as Bluepoint Oyster Bar and Dixie Bar & Grill, have fizzled, so maybe a high-profile chef will lead back to, um, greener fields.
- Portion control is a nonissue at Seven Ocean.
- Butcher & the Burger manages to marry “butcher” and “cute.”
- Steak tartare becomes sports bar fare at The Ogden.
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Things to Do
1. Grab a seat for tomorrow’s 6:30 p.m. filming of Chicago Live!, which will feature an interview with the iconic Charlie Trotter. The 60-minute production takes place at the show’s brand-new digs, Second City’s Up Comedy Club (230 W. North Ave.; 312-662-4562). Tickets are $18.
2. Stock up on sweets for your sweet (or your sweet tooth) this weekend at the third annual Logan Square Kitchen Valentine’s Day Pastry Market (2333 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-342-2333), a sugar-fueled fête that runs Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and showcases local treat purveyors, such as Veruca Chocolates and Celestial Kitchens. Entry to the event costs $1.
3. Have another helping of small-batch goodies (think chocolate croissants from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and maple–pecan–tart cherry granola from Vanishing Granola) at this month’s Dose Market (River East Art Center, 435 E. Illinois St.; 312-321-1001), held Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $8 online or $10 at the door.
Dot Dot Dot . . .
Cheers to Charlie Trotter for his latest accolade, the James Beard Foundation’s 2012 Humanitarian of the Year award. . . . Two new Italian spots hit the scene tomorrow: a Highland Park BYO dubbed 2nd Street Enoteca and an Andersonville coffee-bar-by-day, small-plates-eatery-by-night called Ombra. . . . Also making its debut tomorrow is Cyrano’s Farm Kitchen, a renovated, more rustic take on the former Cyrano’s Bistrot and Wine Bar. . . . Creperie Saint Germain soft-opens in Evanston Friday. The owner, Pascal Berthoumieux (Bistro Bordeaux), expects to have a grand opening in late February or early March, once the restaurant secures its liquor license. . . . The pizza-and-ribs joint Big Bricks is slated to get cooking February 13. . . . Everything—even the toast—is bigger in Texas. So naturally, the Dallas-based chain Del Frisco’s plans to open a massive 23,000-square-foot steak house here in December, in the Gold Coast’s former Esquire Theatre. According to our unscientific research, the size tops even the sprawling Mastro’s, which measures 22,000 square feet. . . . Nieto’s, the replacement for the North Shore grande dame Carlos’, opens Friday with a menu a world away from the French ancien régime. A couple of main courses: salmon with basmati Mexican rice with spinach and guajillo, braised brisket with roasted cauliflower and green peppercorn sauce. . . . A newcomer to the suds scene, Big Shoulders Beer Company (not to be confused with Broad Shoulders Brewery, described above) contracted with a brewer to produce its first ales, Crosstown Wheat and Hopapalooza, in Michigan. Both should be available in Chicago in April.
Editors’ note: Susan Frasca has owned Kinzie Chop House since 1998.