$20 for $40 Worth of Farm-to-Table Cuisine at Mado

Wicker Park

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In a Nutshell

  • Rotating menu selections
  • BYOB restaurant
  • Intimate exposed-brick interior

The Fine Print

Expires Apr 8th, 2011. Limit 1 per table. Dine-in only. Tax and gratuity not included. Not valid with other offers. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

If you're serious about winning an offseason gold medal and getting showered in praise, don't try curling against the Swedes on an empty stomach. For $20, today's Groupon gets you a filling $40 worth of locally grown Mediterranean-inspired farm-to-table cuisine at Mado. This inviting BYOB establishment serves up dinner six nights a week. In the heart of Wicker Park, Mado is conveniently located just steps north of the Damen blue line.

Rotating novelty bowties are expressive, yet impractical. Mado's rotating menu options, however, combine the flare of fresh concepts with the consumable perks of seasonal, locally-produced ingredients. Scripted along the chalkboard-laden walls of Mado, chefs and owners Allie and Rob Levitt have devised a rotating menu that recently featured antipasti options such as fried farm-egg bruschetta flavorfully sealed with confit fat ($9) and a hearty puree of brandade awaiting a dip from grilled grains ($12). Hanger steak with gorgonzola polenta ($26) or rainbow trout dressed in white beans and cider brown butter ($25) are both bathed in flames on Mado's signature wood-fired grill, where chefs are known to gather for experimental recipes and flashlight-assisted ghost stories.

Intimate in both size and atmosphere, Mado is a gathering place for diners, interesting friends, and bland friends who bring exceptional wine. Cozy up inside the exposed brick walls or snag a window seat for views of the streets beyond the glass—streets that serve as a chilling reminder of the dark, non-BYOB world on the outside.

Reviews

The Chicago Reader, Time Out Chicago, Metromix, and Gayot all rave about Mado's commendable comestibles:

  • Recommending great dishes at Mado is a somewhat cruel practice, because there’s a good chance those dishes are one-night-only affairs. So instead, I’ll settle for recommending the restaurant itself. The spirit of what made [the poached tuna] so good—the combination of exemplary ingredients and minimalist preparation—is at the heart of every dish here, so though the menu changes daily, the style of food remains the same night after night. – David Tamarkin, Time Out Chicago
  • Nothing is too out there, letting the simplicity of good, honest food shine---from the killer pork rillettes with fresh-baked sourdough to sunchokes with lemon and parsley, ras el hanout-accented beets with crème fraîche and pistachio and spicy greens with roasted pig’s head and tangy delicata squash. – Gayot
  • Trout with walnuts was deftly grilled over wood to yield perfectly lush pink flesh under delicate crispy skin. Desserts were also excellent in their restraint, particularly a rhubarb fool, layers of lightly tart fruit and lightly sweet whipped cream. Don’t overlook the fragile, buttery shortbread, which crumbles at a touch--it’s listed modestly on the menu but it’ll be the last thing I forget about this place. – Mike Sula, Chicago Reader

More than 130 Yelpers give Mado a solid 3.5 stars, OpenTable users give it four, and 80% of Urbanspooners recommend it:

  • I was completely blown away by their house-smoked trout in a salad, and my dining companion's meal of flatbread, ricotta, arugula, and hazelnuts came together perfectly; it was hard to grasp that the recipe was such a simple one. But because each ingredient in each dish is so perfect, it is guaranteed that your meal will also be perfect. – OpenTable user who dined on 03/23/2010