Roasted vegetables, baked Amish chicken, lemon tart, carrot and spring pea salad
Surest sign that Chicago is a world-class food city: You can go to a generic North Side strip mall and find—tucked between Sarpino’s Pizzeria and AmeriCash Loans—Real Kitchen, a pleasant little takeout gem run by veterans of acclaimed restaurants. Nick Schmuck (Charlie Trotter’s), Andrea Correa (El Bulli), and Shannon Dudas (North Pond) have stocked their cases with irresistible stuff like a juicy baked Amish chicken, tender Italian polpette topped with goat cheese and tomatoes, and wonderful lemon tarts. The obvious model is Trotter’s To Go, but with even more accessible food, such as an honest muffuletta stacked with dynamite salami, capicola, ham, and pepperoni. Real, indeed. 1433 W. Montrose Ave.; 773-281-2888.
Photograph: Anna Knott