I’ll get to the best thing I ate on my first visit to the Dawson (730 W. Grand Ave., 312-243-8955) in a minute. First, I want to tell you about the DIY spring rolls. Four wrappers arrive—round, thin, and brittle—and for you to roll in a clear water-wheel contraption until they become soft and pliable. Then you pile on the fixings according to your own whim and roll away. Probably no better than any other spring roll, I’ve ever had, but way more fun.

As for the best, I’ll go with the grilled squid with chickpeas and Spanish chorizo. The fish and saffron fumet made this dish super earthy.

The pigs in a blanket—not so much. Too doughy, just like Mom used to make them.