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#1
Posted September 30th 2005, 5:55pm
New City's Best of Chicago 2005 is up on their website. Here's the link to the Food and Drink section.

All I have to say is:

Best Polish: Wolfy's
Best Fish Tacos: Park Grill
Best Alternative to Starbucks: Argo Tea
Reader's choice for best middle eastern: Sultan's
Best Deli: Manny's (this one is thrown in for the sole purpose of flustering those who always protest slapping Manny's with the deli label)
Best Locally made bread: Red Hen

bleh.
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#2
Posted September 30th 2005, 6:01pm
gleam wrote:New City's Best of Chicago 2005 is up on their website. Here's the link to the Food and Drink section.

All I have to say is:

Best Polish: Wolfy's
Best Fish Tacos: Park Grill
Best Alternative to Starbucks: Argo Tea
Reader's choice for best middle eastern: Sultan's
Best Deli: Manny's (this one is thrown in for the sole purpose of flustering those who always protest slapping Manny's with the deli label)
Best Locally made bread: Red Hen

bleh.


I have never been to Park Grill so I can't comment on the fish taco selection (but I would wager not so good). I strongly agree with both the Wolfy's and Manny's selections, though. I've never been a fan of Sultan's cold falafel, but it does have its following. In terms of bread, all I want to know is what kind of bread? There are so many better ones to choose from.
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#3
Posted October 1st 2005, 11:15am
Is that the Sultan's Market in Wicker Park? If so...urf. They are truly terrible. As per their rabid following, a negative review I attempted to post on metromix never made it past the fawning cut.

Oh, what the hell: could someone please elucidate why SM's middle eastern food, often in casserole form, served off a steam table is a good idea? The hippie-ish staff is friendly enough, but conviviality doesn't make up for the bad food.
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#4
Posted October 1st 2005, 12:20pm
The food isn't entirely awful, and the weirdness of the 10-minute-old falafel combined with sambal oelek grows on you after a little while. That being said, I work two blocks away and haven't eaten there in 9 months, which shows you how unimpressed I am with the food. I just save up my middle eastern cravings for city noor or noon-o-kebab or semiramis or something.

But, the truth is, the employees and the decor and the fact that it is a hipster hangout in the neighborhood means that, yes, the food could be worse than it is and they'd still get customers. Look at places like Underdog (which won Best 4am hot dog) and Flash Taco for proof of this.

I said it before and I'll say it again: You clearly underestimate the ability of a restaurant to survive on XXXXX dollars alone. Sometimes XXXXX is trixie. Today it's hipster.
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#5
Posted October 1st 2005, 3:49pm
gleam wrote:But, the truth is, the employees and the decor and the fact that it is a hipster hangout in the neighborhood means that, yes, the food could be worse than it is and they'd still get customers. Look at places like Underdog (which won Best 4am hot dog) and Flash Taco for proof of this.

I dunno. It's not like there are all that many places you can get a hot dog at 4 a.m. I'd guess not many of New City's readership are likely shlep down to Jim's Original at that hour.
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#6
Posted October 1st 2005, 4:27pm
LAZ wrote:
gleam wrote:But, the truth is, the employees and the decor and the fact that it is a hipster hangout in the neighborhood means that, yes, the food could be worse than it is and they'd still get customers. Look at places like Underdog (which won Best 4am hot dog) and Flash Taco for proof of this.

I dunno. It's not like there are all that many places you can get a hot dog at 4 a.m. I'd guess not many of New City's readership are likely shlep down to Jim's Original at that hour.


But Wiener's Circle is certainly a better choice for both food and atmosphere, if you classify being berated atmosphere. :?
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"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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#7
Posted October 1st 2005, 4:43pm
Oh, I never underestimate the ability of an enterprise to survive on hipsterism alone. I find SM's food not merely mediocre, but execrable: bland, undercooked lamb-esque casserole, muddy, thixotropic lentil soup, and the non sequitur presence of plastic sambal oelek barrels. The interior isn't quirky or kitsch: it's plywood and salad bar. Their following reeks of tahini and desperation.

I've made better falafel from a mix. But, this point doesn't conflict with prior posters' observations.

I could go on about the cultural acclaim of such a spot, but what's the point? New City's too obvious.
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#8
Posted October 4th 2005, 1:09pm
I live a block from SM and go there every couple weeks for a spicy falafel, which I promptly nuke for about 30 secs when I get home. It's not too bad. Better, I think, than that other place up at Damen & Armitage. I've sworn off the chicken shawerma, however, after getting one too many gristly surprises. At one point they were using the rotating gyro-style roasters and slicing it off to order but I think they bagged that after less than a couple weeks last year.

But I dunno, I don't think I'd call it a "hipster hangout". There are hipsters there because it's (still) a hipster neighborhood and it's very cheap. $3 for a sandwich isn't too bad.
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#9
Posted October 4th 2005, 1:29pm
Sultan's Market clearly won the "Best Middle Eastern Food For People Who've Never Left Wicker Park" award.
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#10
Posted October 4th 2005, 2:10pm
Maybe I'm crazy, but I seem to remember the food at Sultan's Market being a lot better when I first moved to Chicago about 4 years ago (or thereabouts). I used to live near there and ate there fairly often. I seem remember the Falafel actually being - gasp! - freshly fried when you ordered it. I ate there a couple of weeks ago (I had an appointment nearby and had to eat something quick) and the Falafel tasted like it had been fried at least a couple of hours ago. It wasn't very nice.

However, I also knew a lot less about good food (or food in general) when I moved here, so it's also possible that Sultans Market has always been pretty bad and my taste was just less discriminating. It's quite possible.
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#11
Posted October 4th 2005, 2:17pm
stevez wrote:
gleam wrote:Best Deli: Manny's (this one is thrown in for the sole purpose of flustering those who always protest slapping Manny's with the deli label)


I have never been to Park Grill so I can't comment on the fish taco selection (but I would wager not so good). I strongly agree with both the Wolfy's and Manny's selections, though. I've never been a fan of Sultan's cold falafel, but it does have its following. In terms of bread, all I want to know is what kind of bread? There are so many better ones to choose from.


My inclusion of Manny's was just to needle the people who constantly and loudly proclaim that it's a jewish cafeteria, not a deli. I think it's a perfectly fine category to put it in, and I think it's a fair choice.

I'll take maxwell street express over Wolfy's polish.
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#12
Posted October 4th 2005, 2:33pm
I just read the New City article...the choice that really sticks out the most (in my opinion) as being somewhat, um, misguided is -

Best new restaurant (opened in the last year or so): Osteria via Stato.

Lordy.
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#13
Posted October 4th 2005, 7:38pm
gleam wrote:I'll take maxwell street express over Wolfy's polish.


Although both are very good, they are completely different types of sausage. This is where personal preference comes into play.
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"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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#14
Posted October 5th 2005, 8:51am
gleam wrote:

My inclusion of Manny's was just to needle the people who constantly and loudly proclaim that it's a jewish cafeteria, not a deli. I think it's a perfectly fine category to put it in


I'm willing to concede that Manny's is a deli, since it labels itself one. I just don't think it holds its head up well against the iconic delis of my past, most of which are gone (e.g. Wolfie's/Miami) or fading (Canter's/LA), some of which still exist (Katz's/NY; Famous/Phila.). I would no more send anyone looking for a great deli to South Jefferson than I would send someone looking for a great German restaurant to the Berghoff. Heck, I can probably get a better smoked fish platter at the Bagel (and probably a better bagel, too, for that matter).

That being said, I still recommend the Berghoff (w/ qualifications) as a great Chicago institution worth a visit, and I agree wholeheartedly with the selection of Manny's as a GNR and mostly everything that was said in praise of it in the GNR thread. I just think that when you call it a "Jewish cafeteria" attaching the adjective "great" to it makes a lot more sense.
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#15
Posted October 7th 2005, 4:35am
My inclusion of Manny's was just to needle the people who constantly and loudly proclaim that it's a jewish cafeteria, not a deli.


Took a while to get someone to bite, but it seems to have finally worked... :lol:
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