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The Bad Apple: Very Good Burger

The Bad Apple: Very Good Burger
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  • Post #61 - April 17th, 2011, 10:42 pm
    Post #61 - April 17th, 2011, 10:42 pm Post #61 - April 17th, 2011, 10:42 pm
    While I'm sure we're all enjoying reading you rip on Chicago and Chicago restaurants (including those you've never been to), I would take your posts a lot more seriously if you would tell us which places you actually like.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #62 - April 17th, 2011, 11:36 pm
    Post #62 - April 17th, 2011, 11:36 pm Post #62 - April 17th, 2011, 11:36 pm
    jesteinf wrote:While I'm sure we're all enjoying reading you rip on Chicago and Chicago restaurants (including those you've never been to), I would take your posts a lot more seriously if you would tell us which places you actually like.



    I don't know why everyone gets so sensitive about it, I'm not "ripping on Chicago" merely pointing out the hinderances that exist here to having a flourishing foodie culture. But I am enamored with Smoque which I have posted. Class act, efficient service, BBQ that's right up there with what I had in NC.

    I also had a very good burger at Burger Bar today. A little overcooked but just great. Will just have to explain that if I want pickled red onions I would use the word "pickled" so that they would serve me the regular red onions next time. Will also have to explain what medium-rare should be like so I don't get medium again. It was still very good served medium.

    One other places I have gotten good results after having dialog with the owner is surprisingly Raj Durbar in Lincoln Park. I explained to him my disappointment in his food and that now he has a Michelin Bib Gourmand and that I expect him to live up to it. All of a sudden his kitchen is sending me food that is fresh and properly spiced with a few lapse. I stick with 2 dishes there: Lamb Dhansak and Saag Lamb. I pointed out to him that his chicken is inedible, clearly hormone infested, antibiotic injected mutant sized tough meat. I'm not sure if they fixed that problem. I wouldn't bother with any seafood there either, but they have a good supplier for lamb and the chef is talented but needs to be goaded to produce good food.

    I like Big Star tacos great at 1AM, but during the day I actually like the taco counter at La Villa grocery store on West Fullerton. I think Flub a Dub Chub's makes a good hot dog, haven't been to Gene and Jude's yet. I thought sincerely that Hot Doug's is highly overrated.

    Usmania on Devon has some dishes going for it, but it represents an authentic take on what I would call "slap dash" or low end Indian cooking. Still good, but not as nuanced as Indian food could be, and they definitely use cheaper meat to provide massive portions. I will be trying Ghareeb Nawaz right now, based on a recommendation.

    Old Town social serves a good dessert that I enjoyed. It was a fresh strawberry, scone, and ice cream concoction. Their charcuterie is pretty good.

    Hot Chocolate served me a good pork belly and their Kobe Skirt Steak was very good. Service issues notwithstanding, I thought their food makes them an asset to the Chicago culinary scene.

    I had a good meal at Shanghai Terrace at the Peninsula, but frankly I'm more of a Chinatown/Hong Kong street food kind of guy.

    I am yet to try Naha, Alinea, Avec, Blackbird, Publican, Girl + Goat, Davanti Enoteca etc. They are well known and I'm quite confident I would be impressed by them. My work schedule makes it difficult for me to get to places with the need for reservations and the like. So I like to see if I can find good food in more casual places without the need for reservations, but I've made it a point to check out all the highly spoken of places in Chicago this season. But one must remember a great city has great food on the street and in hole in the wall places.

    If you need recommendations in NYC, I'll happily oblige.
  • Post #63 - April 17th, 2011, 11:57 pm
    Post #63 - April 17th, 2011, 11:57 pm Post #63 - April 17th, 2011, 11:57 pm
    sr1329 wrote:I don't know why everyone gets so sensitive about it, I'm not "ripping on Chicago" merely pointing out the hinderances that exist here to having a flourishing foodie culture.

    I think the (perceived) irritation over your flurry of recent posts is two-fold:

    1) You've attributed the problems you've encountered to the fact that you encountered them in Chicago. We're a pretty seasoned and well-traveled bunch here and know that some of the problems you've posted about could -- and do -- happen everywhere. The assertion that they don't happen elsewhere is so obviously erroneous that it's impossible to take it seriously. I had a lousy baguette in Paris. Does that mean that no one in Paris understands how to bake a proper baguette? Combine this with the fact that you appear to have not been here very long and it creates a credibility gap. Do you really believe that there are innate "hinderances" here that prevent a "flourishing foodie culture" from developing? If so, you haven't spent nearly enough time eating in and around Chicago. Like many major U.S. cities, Chicago has its culinary strengths and weaknesses. I hope you're here long enough to discover them for yourself.

    2) You seem to be very comfortable sharing opinions about places you've never visited. If you stick to posting about places you've actually visited, you are almost certain to get a better response from folks around here, even the ones who disagree with you.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    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 #64 - April 18th, 2011, 12:34 am
    Post #64 - April 18th, 2011, 12:34 am Post #64 - April 18th, 2011, 12:34 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    sr1329 wrote:I don't know why everyone gets so sensitive about it, I'm not "ripping on Chicago" merely pointing out the hinderances that exist here to having a flourishing foodie culture.

    I think the (perceived) irritation over your flurry of recent posts is two-fold:

    1) You've attributed the problems you've encountered to the fact that you encountered them in Chicago. We're a pretty seasoned and well-traveled bunch here and know that some of the problems you've posted about could -- and do -- happen everywhere. The assertion that they don't happen elsewhere is so obviously erroneous that it's impossible to take it seriously. I had a lousy baguette in Paris. Does that mean that no one in Paris understands how to bake a proper baguette? Combine this with the fact that you appear to have not been here very long and it creates a credibility gap. Do you really believe that there are innate "hinderances" here that prevent a "flourishing foodie culture" from developing? If so, you haven't spent nearly enough time eating in and around Chicago. Like many major U.S. cities, Chicago has its culinary strengths and weaknesses. I hope you're here long enough to discover them for yourself.

    2) You seem to be very comfortable sharing opinions about places you've never visited. If you stick to posting about places you've actually visited, you are almost certain to get a better response from folks around here, even the ones who disagree with you.

    =R=



    I suspect I'll be here long enough to explore and discover.

    I merely saw pictures of the food at Naha, and that was enough for me to know that I would have a better meal than 95% of what I have had so far here. It doesn't take a lot to figure it out from the pictures at the Naha thread. Also yes I haven't yet eaten the wings at Great Sea, but my gosh, when people discussed the fact that it is spiced up with Sysco style industrial hot sauce, it was enough for me to know what kind of place it was.

    It reminds me of when I instructed Raj Durbar to make my Malai Kabab spicy they poured some disgusting hot sauce over it. A Malai Kabab is a chicken kabab that is marinated in a milk based marinade and generally posted on the menu in US Indian restaurants to be the mild kabab for people who can't handle any spice (they usually make all the kababs bland and tasteless to cater to local tastes here though). What most people don't realize is that just because the marinade is milk based, doesn't mean it cannot be made into a very tasty spicy kabab. If you go to half way decent kabab vendor/restaurant in India they will make it spicy with right amount of fresh sliced ginger and green chillies and some garlic. It is quite a magnificent thing. I realize I am the idiot for requesting this Bib Gourmand place to get it right, but for them douse an otherwise bland, tough piece of chicken that even KFC would somehow tenderize with industrial grade hot sauce reflects the highest level of ineptitude in cooking. I would think that they would know better, and I should have known better given that only one maybe two places in the US that I know would know how to handle that request.

    But my point is that having read that Great Sea resorts to similar methods to add spice to their wings threw up a BIG red flag. I haven't yet eaten there, but knowing what I know of it now (which is kind of why we peruse these fora) I don't have any great expectations of it. I would rather order it mild/bland and see what comes of it. Also to see that picture of what should be golden fried crispy wings doused in a bland red sauce (bland as described by posters here) doesn't really arouse my interest either. However since some have said these are contenders for best wings in Chicago, I will go and try it if I can get there before they close. Those wings must have some redeeming feature that I cannot discern from the pictures. I would be shocked, simply shocked, if they offer 80% of what a good Korean fried wing offers, but let me go with lowered expectations because i find that it helps.

    It would be nice if someone compiled a "Best of Thread" a la eGullet.org. It would help newcomers target the better places and avoid the kind of disappointments that have led to my overall impressions of the local culinary scene. While I have written fairly extensively about places I liked, there are 4 places to each good one that were absolutely terrible. So believe me I have been around a bit.

    Also I would like to add another place that I really liked. You must try The Nile in Bridgeview for simple homely middle eastern food. A lot of people know about the fancier sit down place across the street Al Bawadi, but The Nile has great food in a more casual setting. I had a great Chicken Biryani there as well great Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Felafel, Shawarma and even eggs with olive oil. The yogurt salad and Jerusalem salad are also good there, but the yogurt salad could use a little more garlic. In fact the only thing I didn't like there was the Mansaf, way too much clarified butter (ghee) in use on that dish. I couldn't really stand it. I've had middle eastern in Dearborn, MI, Patterson, NJ and Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and this place gets most of the way there. I just miss the Lebanese Garlic Sauce (Toum) which this place does not offer.

    Just as aside since I said a lot about Indian kababs, Bhatti Indian Grill for Kebabs and Dhaba for curries and biryani. Both are on the same block on Lexington Ave around 26th. Eat that and you'll swear off any Northern Indian food elsewhere except India. Those two places have brought a level of Indian cuisine that stays authentic without resorting to any pretensions of fusion that some of the (more expensive) NYC places do. They are truly in a whole other league. They bring true Punjabi food to the US made by actual trained Punjabi cooks, instead of a Bangladeshi trying his hand at Punjabi food which is most restaurant Indian food in the US is. Bhatti for one serves the only Paneer that actually has the true texture and flavor of paneer. Dhaba is just amazing with their curries and 2nd best in Biryani (the best at Sri Biryani House in Jersey City) and one of the few to serve a real roomali roti. Don't get upset because it implies Indian food in Chicago isn't worth eating, there is acceptable Indian food in Chicago. But don't judge the cuisine by what you eat here, it wouldn't be fair to the cuisine. Don't get offended just take it for what its worth. But the chef at Raj Durbar can produce some good Saag lamb when goaded with some lapses like under frying the ginger. Dhaba would never make that kind of error.

    EDIT: Since I was asked about places I like in Chicago I thought of a few more:

    Birrieria Zaragoza - What a great dish! I'm thankful that he has put the level of devotion and passion into this dish and that he hasn't tried to be all things to all people. 2 things on the menu and that's all I'd like to see. Wonderful tender, yet crispy goat in that wonderfully executed tomato consomme with the fresh condiments they bring to your table. Great hot sauce too - full of flavor, not just heat for the sake of heat.

    Nookies trio - some may not agree but what a God send late night/early morning on weekends. Would love for the city to support one of these 24/7 - would rather go there than that disgusting Golden Nugget - bad even for a diner. I'm all about that smokehouse frittata. Eggs cooked perfectly (not overcooked) with gouda and bacon what could go wrong?

    Cafe Iberico - What could be a great restaurant is reduced to merely competent due to its huge portions. These "small plates" are massive. So when seafood or meats are on the menu they need to be lower quality and the dishes need to add filler (usually potato at this place). My beautiful grilled octopus dish came french fries mixed in with the octopus. Why? I would guess to make the dish bigger and more filling. I would have happily accepted the small portion of octopus (this octopus was good no compromises were made in regards to quality, they just mixed a bunch of french fries in there to address the quantity issue). The need for local diners to have such big portions to feel a sense of value is keeping this restaurant down. The seafood salad clearly has a lower quality of seafood but I could never fault preparation at this restaurant. The kitchen staff knew what they were doing, and especially so because they were creating wonders with lower quality ingredients. BTW, we ended up here because apparently Nacional 27's kitchen closes at 9:30. I laughed when I heard that, in my head thinking "what a joke".

    Cafe Lula - I might have liked it more if these people knew how to operate a place. Frankly I don't remember much about anything I ate because what I saw there angered me so much that all I remember is the place being acceptable. This was for breakfast on a weekday morning. I also visited the place soon after I had moved from NYC, so what might have been unremarkable then might be great in my new frame of reference, after all places like Cafe Lula are a dime a dozen in NYC. I ordered some kind of omelette and sides of their organic meat. The coffee was Intelligentsia: excellent as usual which I do remember well. What annoyed the hell out of me is that the place opens at 9 and I begin work at 10 so I still have a commute from there and I'm trying finish a breakfast in 45 minutes. The slow paced service angered me. But what takes the cake here is that I saw my food sitting on the counter for a full TEN MINUTES before one of the idiot waiters would stop talking to their friends and actually pick the darn plate up and bring it to my table. I wanted to point it put to the waiter but I wasn't sure if it was my order. As you can imagine my eggs weren't exactly warm. I can excuse slow paced service, but letting my food sit there and turn cold? Unacceptable. I don't care how "chill" these hipsters are and slow and whatever else, just bring me my food while it is still warm. I couldn't care about you and your socializing with your friend/co-worker/other customer/whatever. Now this will upset the more sensitive of you, but in the time I have been here I have found this problem to be endemic in Chicago. It happened to me at Burger Bar today. It happens at almost every bar and restaurant I go to. Tend to your customers first and then socialize all you want. I don't care about your stupid endless banter while my food is sitting on the counter and/or my check is waiting to be picked up. Just because you come up to me in the beginning and introduce yourself and are always nice, doesn't mean that you can ignore me and I won't care. That's what I consider the epitome of "fake nice". Anyway I think it would have been a good meal if it were served correctly.

    Tank Noodle - Okay Pho, but good Banh Mi. I had the beef one which was very good. Worth going back for. I heard the popularity got to it so I will cross my fingers. Reminds me of Art of Pizza which used to be good, until it got popular.
  • Post #65 - April 18th, 2011, 6:26 am
    Post #65 - April 18th, 2011, 6:26 am Post #65 - April 18th, 2011, 6:26 am
    sr1329 wrote:It would be nice if someone compiled a "Best of Thread" a la eGullet.org. It would help newcomers target the better places and avoid the kind of disappointments that have led to my overall impressions of the local culinary scene.


    Allow me to introduce you to the LTH Forum Great Neighborhood Restaurants.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #66 - April 18th, 2011, 8:46 am
    Post #66 - April 18th, 2011, 8:46 am Post #66 - April 18th, 2011, 8:46 am
    sr1329 wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    sr1329 wrote:I don't know why everyone gets so sensitive about it, I'm not "ripping on Chicago" merely pointing out the hinderances that exist here to having a flourishing foodie culture.

    I think the (perceived) irritation over your flurry of recent posts is two-fold:

    1) You've attributed the problems you've encountered to the fact that you encountered them in Chicago. We're a pretty seasoned and well-traveled bunch here and know that some of the problems you've posted about could -- and do -- happen everywhere. The assertion that they don't happen elsewhere is so obviously erroneous that it's impossible to take it seriously. I had a lousy baguette in Paris. Does that mean that no one in Paris understands how to bake a proper baguette? Combine this with the fact that you appear to have not been here very long and it creates a credibility gap. Do you really believe that there are innate "hinderances" here that prevent a "flourishing foodie culture" from developing? If so, you haven't spent nearly enough time eating in and around Chicago. Like many major U.S. cities, Chicago has its culinary strengths and weaknesses. I hope you're here long enough to discover them for yourself.

    2) You seem to be very comfortable sharing opinions about places you've never visited. If you stick to posting about places you've actually visited, you are almost certain to get a better response from folks around here, even the ones who disagree with you.

    =R=



    I suspect I'll be here long enough to explore and discover.

    I merely saw pictures of the food at Naha, and that was enough for me to know that I would have a better meal than 95% of what I have had so far here. It doesn't take a lot to figure it out from the pictures at the Naha thread. Also yes I haven't yet eaten the wings at Great Sea, but my gosh, when people discussed the fact that it is spiced up with Sysco style industrial hot sauce, it was enough for me to know what kind of place it was.

    It reminds me of when I instructed Raj Durbar to make my Malai Kabab spicy they poured some disgusting hot sauce over it. A Malai Kabab is a chicken kabab that is marinated in a milk based marinade and generally posted on the menu in US Indian restaurants to be the mild kabab for people who can't handle any spice (they usually make all the kababs bland and tasteless to cater to local tastes here though). What most people don't realize is that just because the marinade is milk based, doesn't mean it cannot be made into a very tasty spicy kabab. If you go to half way decent kabab vendor/restaurant in India they will make it spicy with right amount of fresh sliced ginger and green chillies and some garlic. It is quite a magnificent thing. I realize I am the idiot for requesting this Bib Gourmand place to get it right, but for them douse an otherwise bland, tough piece of chicken that even KFC would somehow tenderize with industrial grade hot sauce reflects the highest level of ineptitude in cooking. I would think that they would know better, and I should have known better given that only one maybe two places in the US that I know would know how to handle that request.

    But my point is that having read that Great Sea resorts to similar methods to add spice to their wings threw up a BIG red flag. I haven't yet eaten there, but knowing what I know of it now (which is kind of why we peruse these fora) I don't have any great expectations of it. I would rather order it mild/bland and see what comes of it. Also to see that picture of what should be golden fried crispy wings doused in a bland red sauce (bland as described by posters here) doesn't really arouse my interest either. However since some have said these are contenders for best wings in Chicago, I will go and try it if I can get there before they close. Those wings must have some redeeming feature that I cannot discern from the pictures. I would be shocked, simply shocked, if they offer 80% of what a good Korean fried wing offers, but let me go with lowered expectations because i find that it helps.

    It would be nice if someone compiled a "Best of Thread" a la eGullet.org. It would help newcomers target the better places and avoid the kind of disappointments that have led to my overall impressions of the local culinary scene. While I have written fairly extensively about places I liked, there are 4 places to each good one that were absolutely terrible. So believe me I have been around a bit.

    Also I would like to add another place that I really liked. You must try The Nile in Bridgeview for simple homely middle eastern food. A lot of people know about the fancier sit down place across the street Al Bawadi, but The Nile has great food in a more casual setting. I had a great Chicken Biryani there as well great Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Felafel, Shawarma and even eggs with olive oil. The yogurt salad and Jerusalem salad are also good there, but the yogurt salad could use a little more garlic. In fact the only thing I didn't like there was the Mansaf, way too much clarified butter (ghee) in use on that dish. I couldn't really stand it. I've had middle eastern in Dearborn, MI, Patterson, NJ and Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and this place gets most of the way there. I just miss the Lebanese Garlic Sauce (Toum) which this place does not offer.

    Just as aside since I said a lot about Indian kababs, Bhatti Indian Grill for Kebabs and Dhaba for curries and biryani. Both are on the same block on Lexington Ave around 26th. Eat that and you'll swear off any Northern Indian food elsewhere except India. Those two places have brought a level of Indian cuisine that stays authentic without resorting to any pretensions of fusion that some of the (more expensive) NYC places do. They are truly in a whole other league. They bring true Punjabi food to the US made by actual trained Punjabi cooks, instead of a Bangladeshi trying his hand at Punjabi food which is most restaurant Indian food in the US is. Bhatti for one serves the only Paneer that actually has the true texture and flavor of paneer. Dhaba is just amazing with their curries and 2nd best in Biryani (the best at Sri Biryani House in Jersey City) and one of the few to serve a real roomali roti. Don't get upset because it implies Indian food in Chicago isn't worth eating, there is acceptable Indian food in Chicago. But don't judge the cuisine by what you eat here, it wouldn't be fair to the cuisine. Don't get offended just take it for what its worth. But the chef at Raj Durbar can produce some good Saag lamb when goaded with some lapses like under frying the ginger. Dhaba would never make that kind of error.

    EDIT: Since I was asked about places I like in Chicago I thought of a few more:

    Birrieria Zaragoza - What a great dish! I'm thankful that he has put the level of devotion and passion into this dish and that he hasn't tried to be all things to all people. 2 things on the menu and that's all I'd like to see. Wonderful tender, yet crispy goat in that wonderfully executed tomato consomme with the fresh condiments they bring to your table. Great hot sauce too - full of flavor, not just heat for the sake of heat.

    Nookies trio - some may not agree but what a God send late night/early morning on weekends. Would love for the city to support one of these 24/7 - would rather go there than that disgusting Golden Nugget - bad even for a diner. I'm all about that smokehouse frittata. Eggs cooked perfectly (not overcooked) with gouda and bacon what could go wrong?

    Cafe Iberico - What could be a great restaurant is reduced to merely competent due to its huge portions. These "small plates" are massive. So when seafood or meats are on the menu they need to be lower quality and the dishes need to add filler (usually potato at this place). My beautiful grilled octopus dish came french fries mixed in with the octopus. Why? I would guess to make the dish bigger and more filling. I would have happily accepted the small portion of octopus (this octopus was good no compromises were made in regards to quality, they just mixed a bunch of french fries in there to address the quantity issue). The need for local diners to have such big portions to feel a sense of value is keeping this restaurant down. The seafood salad clearly has a lower quality of seafood but I could never fault preparation at this restaurant. The kitchen staff knew what they were doing, and especially so because they were creating wonders with lower quality ingredients. BTW, we ended up here because apparently Nacional 27's kitchen closes at 9:30. I laughed when I heard that, in my head thinking "what a joke".

    Cafe Lula - I might have liked it more if these people knew how to operate a place. Frankly I don't remember much about anything I ate because what I saw there angered me so much that all I remember is the place being acceptable. This was for breakfast on a weekday morning. I also visited the place soon after I had moved from NYC, so what might have been unremarkable then might be great in my new frame of reference, after all places like Cafe Lula are a dime a dozen in NYC. I ordered some kind of omelette and sides of their organic meat. The coffee was Intelligentsia: excellent as usual which I do remember well. What annoyed the hell out of me is that the place opens at 9 and I begin work at 10 so I still have a commute from there and I'm trying finish a breakfast in 45 minutes. The slow paced service angered me. But what takes the cake here is that I saw my food sitting on the counter for a full TEN MINUTES before one of the idiot waiters would stop talking to their friends and actually pick the darn plate up and bring it to my table. I wanted to point it put to the waiter but I wasn't sure if it was my order. As you can imagine my eggs weren't exactly warm. I can excuse slow paced service, but letting my food sit there and turn cold? Unacceptable. I don't care how "chill" these hipsters are and slow and whatever else, just bring me my food while it is still warm. I couldn't care about you and your socializing with your friend/co-worker/other customer/whatever. Now this will upset the more sensitive of you, but in the time I have been here I have found this problem to be endemic in Chicago. It happened to me at Burger Bar today. It happens at almost every bar and restaurant I go to. Tend to your customers first and then socialize all you want. I don't care about your stupid endless banter while my food is sitting on the counter and/or my check is waiting to be picked up. Just because you come up to me in the beginning and introduce yourself and are always nice, doesn't mean that you can ignore me and I won't care. That's what I consider the epitome of "fake nice". Anyway I think it would have been a good meal if it were served correctly.

    Tank Noodle - Okay Pho, but good Banh Mi. I had the beef one which was very good. Worth going back for. I heard the popularity got to it so I will cross my fingers. Reminds me of Art of Pizza which used to be good, until it got popular.


    The restaurant is called Raj Darbar.
    The marinade for Malai chicken is cream/creme (Malai) not milk.
    Perhaps something about the manner in which you interact with your servers might be impacting your experience. Same for the restaurateurs to whom you dictate recipes. Just a thought.
    Last edited by boudreaulicious on April 18th, 2011, 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #67 - April 18th, 2011, 8:55 am
    Post #67 - April 18th, 2011, 8:55 am Post #67 - April 18th, 2011, 8:55 am
    Just to round out this discussion a little before it gets too off-track, LTH has a history of dictating recipes and preparations to restaurateurs. That might be the thing that makes sr1329 fit right in here.
  • Post #68 - April 18th, 2011, 12:49 pm
    Post #68 - April 18th, 2011, 12:49 pm Post #68 - April 18th, 2011, 12:49 pm
    sr1329 wrote: Also yes I haven't yet eaten the wings at Great Sea, but my gosh, when people discussed the fact that it is spiced up with Sysco style industrial hot sauce, it was enough for me to know what kind of place it was.

    sr1329 wrote:But my point is that having read that Great Sea resorts to similar methods to add spice to their wings threw up a BIG red flag.


    I would suggest that you go back and re-read a bit. No one ever said any such thing.
  • Post #69 - April 18th, 2011, 4:01 pm
    Post #69 - April 18th, 2011, 4:01 pm Post #69 - April 18th, 2011, 4:01 pm
    Mister Beefhead wrote:
    sr1329 wrote: Also yes I haven't yet eaten the wings at Great Sea, but my gosh, when people discussed the fact that it is spiced up with Sysco style industrial hot sauce, it was enough for me to know what kind of place it was.

    sr1329 wrote:But my point is that having read that Great Sea resorts to similar methods to add spice to their wings threw up a BIG red flag.


    I would suggest that you go back and re-read a bit. No one ever said any such thing.


    Noooo, please don't insist on facts, that would restrict the rantage!
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #70 - April 19th, 2011, 1:54 pm
    Post #70 - April 19th, 2011, 1:54 pm Post #70 - April 19th, 2011, 1:54 pm

    The restaurant is called Raj Darbar.
    The marinade for Malai chicken is cream/creme (Malai) not milk.
    Perhaps something about the manner in which you interact with your servers might be impacting your experience. Same for the restaurateurs to whom you dictate recipes. Just a thought.



    I've considered that. After my "poor" interaction he delivered an excellent Saag Lamb, which is what gave me the confidence to ask for a Malai Kabab spicy. No amount of purported poor interaction justifies a bland Malai Kabab doused with cheap hot sauce. Yes you are correct the marinade is clotted cream based not milk based.
  • Post #71 - April 21st, 2011, 3:14 am
    Post #71 - April 21st, 2011, 3:14 am Post #71 - April 21st, 2011, 3:14 am
    I don't know why I've been so silent for so long about Bad Apple. Most of the comments have been pretty accurate, but i just wanted to chime in and say I love the place. Mrs. Laikom and I seem to end up there just about every weekend. The food is great, but it's the beer list at super reasonable prices which keeps us coming back.

    I'll start by saying the service is awesome. I go here mostly for the beers, and I'm happy to report that the servers and bartenders really know about beer. They are always capable and willing to answer all of my questions, and i usually have many. Most of the bartenders get excited about the new beers coming in and will tell me about them weeks before they are tapped. The tap selection is great, around 25 taps, all of them quality. You won't find a bud or miller on tap here. Also, when compared with other bars, the prices are usually the lowest. My current favorite beer on tap is the New Belgium, Le Terroir. It's a sour which is barrel aged for 2 years then dry hopped. A 16oz glass is only $6.

    The food has always been good, sometimes great. My burgers have always been quality and cooked perfectly to my specification. Someone has mentioned a dislike of the pretzel bun on a rare burger. I happen to love the pretzel bun, even on a medium rare burger. My one complaint (more of a suggestion) would be the flavoring I've tried for the fries. A friend of mine ordered the chipotle, it basically tasted like BBQ potato chips seasoning. The curry was also just a curry powder and pretty gross too. It's not so much a complaint as a suggestion to anyone considering it, to be safe, just avoid the flavor powders. Mrs. Laikom always raves about the Grilled Eggplant Salad which I agree is really good.

    I go here for beers, but when the company I bring orders a cocktail, they have always been really happy with them. A couple of the beer cocktails I've tasted have been pretty impressive. I wasn't expecting to like them. The "laura saurus" was one that sticks out in my mind as being pretty impressive. It was made with a New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk, vanilla vodka and framboise. It would make an awesome desert.
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #72 - April 21st, 2011, 6:48 am
    Post #72 - April 21st, 2011, 6:48 am Post #72 - April 21st, 2011, 6:48 am
    All good points laikom. One note for those who don't like pretzel buns (like myself). You don't have to get the burger on a pretzel bun. Just let them know.
  • Post #73 - April 21st, 2011, 6:56 am
    Post #73 - April 21st, 2011, 6:56 am Post #73 - April 21st, 2011, 6:56 am
    BR wrote:All good points laikom. One note for those who don't like pretzel buns (like myself). You don't have to get the burger on a pretzel bun. Just let them know.
    I never, or at least not to date, get a pretzel bun at the Bad Apple. I don't order any of the burgers it comes stock on and see no reason to pay the $1 upcharge to add. I'm starting to allow my inner simplicity more freedom, no fry flavor add on, no egg. A juicy med-rare burger and crispy fries make me quite happy.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #74 - April 21st, 2011, 9:18 am
    Post #74 - April 21st, 2011, 9:18 am Post #74 - April 21st, 2011, 9:18 am
    I'd actually say that my one complaint about the Bad Apple is that they have never allowed me to get the pretzel bun on a burger that doesn't come with it. I'm happy to pay the surcharge, but the response I've gotten each of the 3 or 4 times I've tried, is that they don't have enough pretzel buns, so no switching. Annoying!

    Love the burgers though.
  • Post #75 - June 17th, 2011, 2:26 pm
    Post #75 - June 17th, 2011, 2:26 pm Post #75 - June 17th, 2011, 2:26 pm
    SR1329, I quite liked Lula Cafe on the 4-5 times I've been (for both brunch and dinner, I though the food was fantastic) and was wondering about the places just like it that are a "dime a dozen" in NYC. I grew up in NYC and go back there frequently; would love to sample some of these other places so that I might also compare to Lula. Thanks.
  • Post #76 - September 8th, 2011, 11:12 am
    Post #76 - September 8th, 2011, 11:12 am Post #76 - September 8th, 2011, 11:12 am
    With grandma in town to watch the kids, I finally checked out The Bad Apple with my wife on Saturday night and was thoroughly impressed. It was fairly crowded around 8:30 and we were initially seated in the game/TV room off to the side; the ambience wasn't great in that back room, and all it took was a couple of words with our host and she promptly and happily found us a just-vacated table in the main dining room, which was louder but with more fun, light, and color (cool artwork).

    The beer list didn't disappoint -- having a hard time choosing what to order from the immense list, were directed to the "beer flight" option -- for $18, you get five 6-oz glasses of on-tap choices from either a "light" or "dark" menu (each flight is pre-selected; I don't think they offered substitutions, though we didn't ask). The beers were all fantastic and wildly varied -- Wild Blossom Wild Berry Mead, Founders Cerise, Green Flash Summer Saison, Left Hand Biere de Garde, and Mikkeller Single Hop Super Galena IPA (our favorite).

    Our meals were great, as well. The fried cheese curds were the best we'd ever had (and we've had our share), in their crispy tempura batter with house-made ranch on the side. My wife's burger was excellent, though she wished she'd been a little more adventurous given the options on the menu, and also wished she'd ordered it medium instead of medium well (long discussion with our server ensued about the quality of the meat they use is not conducive to overcooking).

    The fries were excellent, though based on comments previously posted here, I was surprised that if anything they were undersalted (though I think the salty punch may come with some of the fry toppings you can order, as well as the very good house-made ketchup).

    The most surprising item of the night was the sandwich I ordered -- house-smoked beef brisket on texas toast with grilled red onions. The brisket was maybe the 2nd-best I've had in Chicago (after Smoque, of course). There were about 4 or 5 nice thick slices layered together, filling out the edges of the big, thick, toasted bread, and the meat was thoroughly well-smoked with a nice, salty-peppery rub. It was perhaps a tad on the dry side, but it looked like I got an "end piece" or two, and I like my brisket a little on the "burny" side anyway (not sure if "burny" is a real word, but it is in our household). It was very satisfying. As I nodded my approval with my mouth half-full, I was informed by the wait staff that the kitchen just ordered a new smoker and is "smoking everything now". Sounded like this smoker is their new "toy" and presumably there will be more emphasis on smoked meats in the future (as opposed to the burger-centric focus to date).

    Oh, and the service was really outstanding; they use a "team" approach and each host and server we encountered seemed more friendly and knowledgeable than the last.

    Hopefully others can go back and check out some of the smoked/BBQ options to offer a full report on how they're doing, but I'm definitely going to be heading back there when I can.
  • Post #77 - September 8th, 2011, 11:49 am
    Post #77 - September 8th, 2011, 11:49 am Post #77 - September 8th, 2011, 11:49 am
    I want to second the comment about the service. Every time I go here, I feel genuinely welcome and if I raise even the smallest question about one of the beers, the bartenders are eager to geek out with me. Even at their busiest, their promises to come back over to my seat for further discussion have never been empty. If my wallet and arteries could afford it, I'd be here biweekly!
    pizza fun
  • Post #78 - September 8th, 2011, 12:17 pm
    Post #78 - September 8th, 2011, 12:17 pm Post #78 - September 8th, 2011, 12:17 pm
    I made a return visit to the Bad Apple this past Saturday. After emerging from the man cave after watching the earlier college football games I decided I needed to get out of the house prior to the prime time games . . . so I headed over to BA to sit at the bar, enjoy some quality beers, and watch the mid-afternoon games. Note: for all of the "I hate TV's at bars crowd" there's no volume on the TV's, just pictures, while (IMO) a good selection of music plays over the sound system.

    The beer list, both draft and bottle, at BA is extensive and each person I've ever engaged behind the bar has always been knowledgeable and helpful - definitely no attitude on tap here. Spied the Ska Modus Hoperandi on tap, which I'd only ever had in the cans, so I tried that first. Noticeably different from the cans - not in a bad way - just different. I'd definitely have it again. Worked my way up through a variety of IPA's and stouts and realized 7 PM was approaching - and I needed to reload some growlers from Half Acre. Ordered a couple burgers to go and offered to hand over a CC and/or driver's license while I ran down to Half Acre but the bartender told me not needed and kindly placed a coaster over my half-finished stout.

    When I came back I finished my beer as the food came out, settled up and headed home. Had ordered the "Slow Burn" for Mrs. Kman (I've had this before and like it, her first time) which is: Belhaven Scottish Stout sautéed spicy chilies & onions, bacon, white cheddar while I had (first time) the "Red Dragon": topped with brisket hash, over easy egg, pepper jack, roasted red pepper sauce. Both ordered, and cooked, medium rare and served with the very tasty house cut fries. As I live maybe a mile, at most, from BA the food was still in fine shape and hadn't suffered terribly from the travel - fries were still crispy. I really, really, enjoyed the Red Dragon - quality burger topped with the rich hash and egg, oh my, what's not to like. The brisket hash was excellent - this would be a standout breakfast item with egg and no burger. Mrs. Kman thought her Slow Burn to be excellent and the bite I had confirmed it was as good as the last time I had it. It's as advertised - this isn't an Adam Richman challenge but just a nice, continuing, background spiciness that complements rather than overwhelms the burger.

    Good beers, good food, nice service from friendly people in a pleasant environment (I've never been in the back room, just the bar and the "main" dining room) - it's a neighborhood go-to place for me that I'd still want to go to even if it wasn't in the neighborhood.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #79 - January 10th, 2012, 10:44 am
    Post #79 - January 10th, 2012, 10:44 am Post #79 - January 10th, 2012, 10:44 am
    I made my first trip to the Bad Apple a couple of days ago and came away very impressed. I can't believe I haven't made it here yet, but my beloved Jury's has been sold and the new owners have changed the food quality. I started with a redemption rye manhattan which was very well made, although they need to get some house made cherries. One friend looked at mine and immediately repeated the order, the other had what she said was a very well made martini.

    Two people got the Black 'N Blue burger, while I tried the Bad Apple burger without the cheese so I could taste the beef. We all loved what we got, the flavor of the beef was great, deep and rich and I liked the egg bun, I don't always like a pretzel bun so a good quality egg made me very happy. Having read this thread we all ordered rare and they came out close to medium rare which is what were hoping for. The fries were a miss on all three orders, somehow they managed to look well done (i.e. dark brown) while being soggy. They still tasted good and we didn't feel like sending them back, next time I'll use the stevez rule and order extra crispy.

    The beer list was overwhelming, but with a little help from our waiter I ordered a Blaugies La Moneuse that I was very happy with. The room at 7 on a Sunday evening was a nice mix of families and groups, football was on the flat screens, but with the sound off which makes it acceptable for me. As others have mentioned the waitstaff really shines here. They're proud of what they serve and really know their menus. When we didn't see our waiter and wanted something another server immediately got it for us which I appreciated.

    I'm glad to have a new burger place in my rotation and I look forward to trying more of the menu.
    For what we choose is what we are. He should not miss this second opportunity to re-create himself with food. Jim Crace "The Devil's Larder"
  • Post #80 - January 10th, 2012, 9:43 pm
    Post #80 - January 10th, 2012, 9:43 pm Post #80 - January 10th, 2012, 9:43 pm
    mbh wrote:The fries were a miss on all three orders, somehow they managed to look well done (i.e. dark brown) while being soggy. They still tasted good and we didn't feel like sending them back, next time I'll use the stevez rule and order extra crispy.


    I'd chalk this up to an off order. I haven't had bad fries in a dozen plus visits in the last year. They are super accommodating if the food doesn't come out to your liking. I sent back a well done burger once and got a perfectly cooked med-rare replacement a few minutes later with sincere apologies.
  • Post #81 - January 10th, 2012, 10:58 pm
    Post #81 - January 10th, 2012, 10:58 pm Post #81 - January 10th, 2012, 10:58 pm
    i never liked the fries at bad apple. always subbed in a salad instead.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #82 - January 11th, 2012, 2:36 am
    Post #82 - January 11th, 2012, 2:36 am Post #82 - January 11th, 2012, 2:36 am
    jfibro wrote:
    mbh wrote:The fries were a miss on all three orders, somehow they managed to look well done (i.e. dark brown) while being soggy. They still tasted good and we didn't feel like sending them back, next time I'll use the stevez rule and order extra crispy.


    I'd chalk this up to an off order. I haven't had bad fries in a dozen plus visits in the last year. They are super accommodating if the food doesn't come out to your liking. I sent back a well done burger once and got a perfectly cooked med-rare replacement a few minutes later with sincere apologies.


    I doubt it was a bad order. I do think the fries at bapple are a matter of personal taste. People seem to either love them or hate them. They are twice fried, being blanched in oil at a lower temperature, cooled overnight, then fried the next day. They do seem a bit on the soft side to me, at least internally. Being twice fried, they are sure to be cooked all the way through. I would never go so far as to say soggy. They do remain very flavorful and certainly have crisp edges. Though they're not my favorite in the city, it seems I've grown to love them. I was also a bit surprised to learn they are on a lot of peoples, and various publications lists as the best fries in the city. They certainly stand out as unique.
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #83 - January 11th, 2012, 7:15 am
    Post #83 - January 11th, 2012, 7:15 am Post #83 - January 11th, 2012, 7:15 am
    I'm a big fan of the Belgian double-fry method and do it at home when I make fries. But perhaps it's the holding them overnight that's preventing the crisping . . . or just not a hot enough fry on the second fry. In either event, I like them but would prefer them to be more crisp. But that'll never stop me from visiting the Bad Apple . . . too big a fan of their burgers.
  • Post #84 - January 11th, 2012, 8:38 am
    Post #84 - January 11th, 2012, 8:38 am Post #84 - January 11th, 2012, 8:38 am
    Yeah, maybe it's the overnight hold. Mr. D's, Hot Doug's, Edzo's, and Wiener and Still Champion all double fry, and they've got some of my favorite fries in the city.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #85 - January 11th, 2012, 11:14 am
    Post #85 - January 11th, 2012, 11:14 am Post #85 - January 11th, 2012, 11:14 am
    gleam wrote:Yeah, maybe it's the overnight hold. Mr. D's, Hot Doug's, Edzo's, and Wiener and Still Champion all double fry, and they've got some of my favorite fries in the city.

    In 4 trips to Mr. D's I've never had a crispy french fry. Tasty yes, crispy no.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    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 #86 - January 11th, 2012, 11:53 am
    Post #86 - January 11th, 2012, 11:53 am Post #86 - January 11th, 2012, 11:53 am
    In the last half dozen times I've been, there I always make sure to order the fries well-done, and in return I always get super duper crispy (maybe actually a little too well-done, but I don't mind one bit) fries that still have a tender center.

    I also agree that when I have not specified well-done, I've never liked the fries. Also, I always skip the seasonings - I don't really like any of them, I don't think they add much of anything to the fries, and for some reason they seem to interfere with the desired crispiness I seek.

    Maybe the two are unrelated, but I know the only times I've ever really liked the fries have been when they are ordered plain, well-done.
  • Post #87 - January 11th, 2012, 1:36 pm
    Post #87 - January 11th, 2012, 1:36 pm Post #87 - January 11th, 2012, 1:36 pm
    I'll have to order them extra crisped to see how i like them. Thanks for the tip!
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #88 - April 30th, 2012, 6:19 am
    Post #88 - April 30th, 2012, 6:19 am Post #88 - April 30th, 2012, 6:19 am
    G Wiv wrote:I'm starting to allow my inner simplicity more freedom, no fry flavor add on, no egg. A juicy med-rare burger and crispy fries make me quite happy.
    So much for inner simplicity. Had a cold, needed rare meat and heat, Bad Apple hit all the high notes.

    Rare burger, fresh jalapeno, raw onion, pickle, grilled onion, fried onion, blue cheese, egg, crisp fries, no bun

    Image
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #89 - April 30th, 2012, 11:00 am
    Post #89 - April 30th, 2012, 11:00 am Post #89 - April 30th, 2012, 11:00 am
    This place is definitely a staple when I'm in the mood for some good bar food.

    I generally like the fries and seasoning options, but my favorite part would have to be the spicy ketchup they serve, particularly because the fries/seasoning combinations have a tendency to feel a bit dried out to me.

    I've only eaten veggie burgers here and the patty, while homemade, can also come off a bit dry if its on a combination without a lot of sauce. The Earthly - grilled portabella, truffled goat cheese, spinach, rosemary bun - is excellent though.
  • Post #90 - April 30th, 2012, 1:15 pm
    Post #90 - April 30th, 2012, 1:15 pm Post #90 - April 30th, 2012, 1:15 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    G Wiv wrote:I'm starting to allow my inner simplicity more freedom, no fry flavor add on, no egg. A juicy med-rare burger and crispy fries make me quite happy.
    So much for inner simplicity. Had a cold, needed rare meat and heat, Bad Apple hit all the high notes.

    Rare burger, fresh jalapeno, raw onion, pickle, grilled onion, fried onion, blue cheese, egg, crisp fries, no bun

    Image


    Holy crap. Was that on the menu??
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain

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