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Passerotto - Jennifer Kim, 'Fun Korean Fare' - Andersonville

Passerotto - Jennifer Kim, 'Fun Korean Fare' - Andersonville
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  • Passerotto - Jennifer Kim, 'Fun Korean Fare' - Andersonville

    Post #1 - June 29th, 2018, 10:22 am
    Post #1 - June 29th, 2018, 10:22 am Post #1 - June 29th, 2018, 10:22 am
    A friend and I had a really nice dinner at this relatively new spot in Andersonville from Snaggletooth and One Off Hospitality alum Jennifer Kim. We tried a bunch of dishes, which ranged from good to excellent . . .

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    Yellowfin Tuna | snow peas, hijiki, Thai chili
    Simple, clean and tasty.

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    Bay Scallops | homemade xo, soy onion puree, citron
    I really enjoyed the soy onion puree, which accentuated the briny scallops very well.

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    Summer Tempura | fresh buckwheat noodles, farm & foraged vegetables
    Sorry for the lousy shot. It was hard to hold still, as I just wanted to start eating this. It was a refreshing and delicious take on udon, plated skillfully so that many of the tempura elements managed to stay perfectly crispy until we ate them.

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    Hwe Dup Bap | farro, seasonal raw fish, pickled ginger
    This dish was actually farro, not rice and it was quite tasty. It kind of reminded me of a Japanese-style chirashi bowl.

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    Kalbi (front/center) | glazed short ribs, Mama Kim's kimchi
    Cacciucco Soondubu (10 o'clock) | clams, mussels, silken tofu, kimchi broth
    2 dishes are pictured here, each of which is listed on the menu as being for 2 people. The highlight (of the entire meal) for me was the Kalbi, which was an impossibly unctuous short rib, perfectly charred, parted out into bite-sized pieces and placed meticulously on top of 3 sections of bone. The meat was cooked to a texture that left it satisfyingly chewy but still tender enough to eat pleasurably. And those sections of bone were nice and meaty, and ready for gnawing. A modest assortment of banchan -- none particularly astonishing -- is served with these 'for two' dishes, though, the Mama Kim's kimchi on the plate with the rib itself was fantastic.

    The other dish in the shot is the Cacciucco Soondubu. I liked this one a lot, too. The broth was rich and flavorful, and reminded me more of a bisque than a traditional soondubu. The clams, mussels and head-on shrimp were all fresh and tasty but the shrimp were a wee bit mushy in texture, maybe slightly overcooked? The bowl contained just a few scant cubes of delicate tofu. In any case these 2 dishes (along with a lamb tartare that had been 86'd) would definitely have me returning sooner than later.

    Beverage options are limited but manage to nicely cover just about every category . . . reds, rosés, whites, sparklings, draft and packaged beer, digestifs and a trio of cocktails. Service was friendly, efficient and knowledgeable.

    =R=

    5420 N Clark St
    Chicago, IL 60640
    (708) 607-2102
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #2 - July 3rd, 2018, 9:09 am
    Post #2 - July 3rd, 2018, 9:09 am Post #2 - July 3rd, 2018, 9:09 am
    I had many of the dishes Ronnie described above and can second his comments: the cooking here is unusually refined for its brief lifespan--the best is surely to come. But this has to be one of the worst designed restaurant spaces in the city right now.
  • Post #3 - July 3rd, 2018, 2:29 pm
    Post #3 - July 3rd, 2018, 2:29 pm Post #3 - July 3rd, 2018, 2:29 pm
    chezbrad wrote:But this has to be one of the worst designed restaurant spaces in the city right now.

    This space used to be the In Fine Spirits Wine/Cocktail Bar, then Premise and, most recently, The Brixton. I remember the first two of those fairly well and this space seems to have changed a lot since those concepts occupied it. Maybe it's mostly unchanged from The Brixton; I couldn't say.

    In any case, it is a strange lay-out, with what seems to be an excessive amount unused space, especially near the front door. There's also a unusually long communal high-top that runs along the northern wall of the space. At first it seems like a counter but there's seating on both sides of it. We declined to sit there and instead, requested a table (we had a reservation). No one loves a bar stool more than I do, but sometimes you just want your feet on the floor! We didn't think the space was unattractive, uncomfortable or loud, though. It just felt like they could have had 25% more seating if they wanted to.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #4 - July 4th, 2018, 11:20 am
    Post #4 - July 4th, 2018, 11:20 am Post #4 - July 4th, 2018, 11:20 am
    It's not just the use of space, which I entirely agree is underutilized, but the overall aesthetic, which is wanting. I don't want to rag on a first-time restaurateur who obviously had to launch on a shoestring budget, but her cooking deserves a better room than the haphazard faux-"70s grotto" look they ended up with.

    Still: both the crudos and pastas are promising. Comparisons to Parachute are inevitable but warranted: she has the potential here to cook at a high level.
  • Post #5 - July 4th, 2018, 12:30 pm
    Post #5 - July 4th, 2018, 12:30 pm Post #5 - July 4th, 2018, 12:30 pm
    chezbrad wrote:It's not just the use of space, which I entirely agree is underutilized, but the overall aesthetic, which is wanting. I don't want to rag on a first-time restaurateur who obviously had to launch on a shoestring budget, but her cooking deserves a better room than the haphazard faux-"70s grotto" look they ended up with.

    Still: both the crudos and pastas are promising. Comparisons to Parachute are inevitable but warranted: she has the potential here to cook at a high level.

    The space is pretty stark. I'm guessing budgetary considerations played into that. But we were there on a nice, sunny evening and the doors facing Clark Street were open, so it was very much a pleasant dining environment.

    Were you ever at The Brixton? Looking at some old google pics, the space doesn't appear to have changed very much since then. Fwiw, the grotto elements were there when it was The Brixton but not when it was Premise, so they must have been "inherited" from The Brixton.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #6 - July 15th, 2018, 9:24 am
    Post #6 - July 15th, 2018, 9:24 am Post #6 - July 15th, 2018, 9:24 am
    I found this place odd, particularly the weird use or underuse of the space. The food was good. Nothing we had we didn't think was outstanding but the food just seemed neither here nor there. I couldn't quite put my finger on it but this seems like the kind of place that will have a hard time holding onto an audience.
  • Post #7 - July 15th, 2018, 11:02 am
    Post #7 - July 15th, 2018, 11:02 am Post #7 - July 15th, 2018, 11:02 am
    j0emv wrote:I couldn't quite put my finger on it but this seems like the kind of place that will have a hard time holding onto an audience.

    Given how many different concepts have occupied that space over the past few years, I think your feeling is entirely reasonable. For me, not even the call of that glorious Kalbi, which I loved, has inspired a second visit. Otoh, if someone asked me for dining suggestions in the area, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this.

    Will it develop a following with people who live nearby? Is it good enough to become a destination for those who don't? The answers to those questions will become clear enough over time.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #8 - July 16th, 2018, 8:42 am
    Post #8 - July 16th, 2018, 8:42 am Post #8 - July 16th, 2018, 8:42 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Will it develop a following with people who live nearby? Is it good enough to become a destination for those who don't? The answers to those questions will become clear enough over time.

    As someone who lives within walking distance, we haven't been yet. I scanned the menu when looking for a place for dinner and felt the price point was a tough high. It's on my list though as it looks good.
    -Mary
  • Post #9 - July 16th, 2018, 9:22 am
    Post #9 - July 16th, 2018, 9:22 am Post #9 - July 16th, 2018, 9:22 am
    The GP wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Will it develop a following with people who live nearby? Is it good enough to become a destination for those who don't? The answers to those questions will become clear enough over time.

    As someone who lives within walking distance, we haven't been yet. I scanned the menu when looking for a place for dinner and felt the price point was a tough high. It's on my list though as it looks good.

    That makes perfect sense. To me, this feels more like a twice-a-year restaurant than a twice-a-month restaurant.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #10 - July 22nd, 2018, 9:20 am
    Post #10 - July 22nd, 2018, 9:20 am Post #10 - July 22nd, 2018, 9:20 am
    I've been once, and overall enjoyed but didn't love the food. As for the space, I didn't find anything particularly odd about it at all. I actually thought they did a nice job with the design, and I appreciate that they didn't try to pack tables in just because they can. If they ever get huge crowds (questionable in Andersonville given the cuisine), they can address the space. I also like the open feeling and natural light coming in the front, particularly in the summer.

    As for the food, well, drinks first, I really loved the Coalmine's Canary - gin, malort, Aveze, grapefruit and bergamot, one of the more unique and delicious cocktails I've tasted in quite a while (so good I drank most of it before I took the picture):

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    Here's the yellowfin tuna Ronnie talked about. Yes, really good:

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    But the best thing I tried was the lamb tartare. The lamb flavor was so prominent and wonderful, and the match of savory with the slight sweetness of the Asian pear was perfect. I can't recall having had a more enjoyable tartare.

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    I was a little less enthused with the pajeon. One of my favorite things about pajeon is the texture and I thought that was missing in this version, and the toppings made the pancake slightly too wet. The flavor was decent though. In any event, it's not even on their current online menu so maybe they didn't love it either.

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    Ddukbokki lamb ragu was tasty, though I shared it and it was such a small portion that I hardly recall much about it.

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    Not pictured here is the hwe dup bap that Ronnie mentioned above. I only had a few tastes but I thought it was really good.

    I enjoyed the food at Passerotto but with the possible exception of the incredible lamb tartare (and my cocktail), but based upon my one visit, I'm a bigger fan of Parachute's unique twist on Korean food. And with limited dollars and time, I'm not sure how often I'll find myself at Passerotto, but I'm fairly certain I'll return and check out more of the menu.
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago

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