Restaurants in Chicago: West Town
West Town is a vibrant, up and coming neighborhood that encompasses East Village, Humboldt Park, Smith Park, and Ukrainian Village. Walking down the busy Chicago Avenues, each storefront offers uniquely exciting dining and shopping opportunities.
2018 W. Chicago Ave
A popular, Ron Swanson-inspired BYOB restaurant, Whisk, serves breakfast inspired food throughout the day. The walls are decorated with whimsical portraits of the Parks and Recreation character, Ron Swanson, and the window display features a larger-than-life sized whisk that supports the restaurant’s name.
Known for both pancakes and burgers, patrons can order a combination of breakfast and dinner by ordering a burger with a french toast bun. Those feeling decadent can take a stab at the Snickers-stuffed french toast served with a white chocolate sauce. While the restaurant is BYOB, there is an extensive soda list available for adventurous non-drinkers.
If you’re coming for weekend brunch, expect to wait for a table. Whisk is definitely worth your time though, with a truly unique atmosphere that will make any Parks and Rec fan giddy. Service is prompt and friendly, but the food is the star of the show. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone at Whisk; everything on the menu is delicious.
Lunch: Yuzu Sushi and Robata Grill
1751 W. Chicago Ave
Yuzu Sushi and Robata Grill is a BYOB West Town restaurant known for its colorful decoration and presentation of sushi. In addition to sushi, the menu offers an eclectic assortment of seafood starters and robata grill options. With large windows looking out to Chicago Avenue, bright summer light shines in on the busy Wednesday lunch hour as patrons seated in rustic metal chairs stare delightedly at the creative sushi resting on the wooden table. The interior is fresh and inviting, with throwback rap music filtering through overhead speakers and detailed Japanese manga adorning the walls. Featuring an open kitchen, the genius designs placed on the sushi boards surprisingly prove to be created by people.
I began by ordering the Tuna Poke with avocado, green & white onion, Japanese chile pepper, and soy sauce. The tuna was refreshing and the pepper and onions added additional flavor to the slight salty tang provided by the soy sauce.
As someone who struggles with the art of chopsticks, I found the Monster Spider Roll to be a dish of intimidation. After a few minutes of effort, I finally managed to pick up the roll and succeed in eating it. The crisp soft shell crab provided a crunch that was offset by fresh cucumber, salty crab, delicate roe, and a thick but sweet soy sauce drizzled over the top. While only comprised of five pieces, this sushi dish was filling and satisfying.
Fast and efficient, the service was thorough and consistent. The food was delivered quickly and no water glass was was left less than a third empty. While personable and genuine conversation does not necessarily accompany the service, it is efficient and flawless. If you’re looking for a quick lunch with artful and delicious sushi, Yuzu is the place to go.
1529 W. Chicago Ave
Mexicue is the product of the now-achieved dream of chef and owner, Carlos Gaytan who earned his first Michelin Star in 2013 after appearing on Top Chef.
Walking through the small door, the quiet and calm atmosphere transports you from the busy Chicago Avenue into a dimly lit reality of artfully produced food. The cherry wood flooring warmly accompanies the white walls. Sprinkled with neutral canvases and connecting with the ceiling, the wall also allows bits of exposed brick to peer from the original structure and provides tasteful, simple decorations.
After the wine was served and orders were placed, a basket of crispy sweet bread was set down along with a chicken pate with a hint of chipotle spice. The mejillones were a perfect starter to dine on while waiting for the main course. The mussels were well cooked and submerged in a creamy, smooth saffron beurre blanc sauce. Bits of dried chorizo and pickled jalapeno added a kick of heat to the classic French dish.
A delicious twist on surf and turf, the Mar y Tierra included braised mole pork belly that fell apart with the touch of a fork, creamy sweet potato puree, pan seared scallops, green apple bacon crumbles and bits of roasted cocoa nibs. I wasn’t able to finish the rich main course, but the dish served as perfect leftovers for lunch the next day.
Mexique excels in the details. With a simple, chic atmosphere and a calm crowd, the dining experience is the focus. In addition to the warm and friendly staff, intricate details of the food are explained as each dish is set down. Mexique is the perfect restaurant for an upscale date night or meal with friends and family!
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