Chef Denise Roy, who helms the kitchen at Surf?s Up, knows the value of a good deep fryer: she slips everything from lobster and shrimp to green tomatoes into hers, creating delicious and crunchy seafood dishes. The fryer?s bounty is then dipped into sauces or nestled in tacos, competing with shrimp po? boys and snow-crab legs for a place in diners? stomachs, hearts, and hollow peg legs. Hand-cut fries and housemade biscuits accompany the seafood to the tables, which are grouped in a cozy dining room whose blond-wood food counter is decorated with a colorful skurker board, the offspring of a surfboard and a set of water skis.
Wingz slathers its signature fried chicken wings in a dozen different specialty sweet and spicy sauces. A 10-piece wing combo challenges dining groups of up to six to slather their wings in mild-barbecue, hot, or lemon-pepper sauce (other sauces available at $0.50 charge). Pause in between licking fingertips and comparing wet-nap scents to nosh on the combo's side dishes of fries, coleslaw, and bread. A sandwich combo, meanwhile, outfits hands with one of eight hot sandwiches and fries. Tender meat comprises the philly-steak sandwich, while the thinly sliced italian-beef sandwich celebrates Gallic influences with its drizzling of au jus, warm french bread, and dual usage as a festive battering ram on Bastille Day.
Danny’s Cafe warmly serves what co-owner Carl Dote described as “Italian peasant food” on Danny’s Check, Please! feature. Their cooking aims to comfort, from generously stuffed artichokes to their signature fried-meatball sub. The hefty sandwich, highlighted on WGN, comes to fruition after staff members hand-form fresh meatball mix into patties and pile on fried peppers. Co-owner and chef Paula Dote told ABC’s “Hungry Hound” that when she and her husband bought the restaurant, she wanted to make exactly what she made at home, and indeed, she uses recipes from her mother and mother-in-law in all of her cooking and homemade volcano experiments. She ladles vodka sauce and crumbled sausage over homemade rigatoni, and layers provolone, parmesan, mozzarella, and ricotta in the four-cheese lasagna. Pork neck bones, one of Danny's more unique dishes, are served twice a week and praised by Hungry Hound for the tender meatiness resulting from hours spent simmering in spiced tomatoes. The eatery has also spawned relatives—appropriately named “Cuzzin’s Cafe”—that serve similar dishes in Des Plaines and Orland Park.
Thick cuts of meats and seafood broiled over an open charcoal flame travel to tables around Tom's Steak House's elegant dining room or full bar. Filets, rib eyes, and new york strip steaks are cut fresh every day and carried to linen-clothed tables in charcoal braziers, an oval warmer filled with charcoal to keep the steak at the ideal temperature to warm mouths or soothe neck pain. The menu's myriad selections of fresh seafood, sandwiches, and salads can be paired with fine wines that introduce the robust flavors of fermented grape. Bronze chandeliers and windows inscribed with art-deco patterns loom over booths where bar patrons sip cocktails.
The epicurean engineers at Squabs Gyros dole out dishes from a mouthwatering menu all a-bristle with Mediterranean cuisine and juicy, grilled meats. Savory slices of gyro⎯a roasted mixture that combines the flavors of beef, lamb, and spices⎯lounge atop foundations of warm pita, dressed with piquant onions and vibrantly red tomatoes. Creamy dollops of house-made tzatziki enhance the edible architecture with notes of cool, tangy flavor like the edible columns that encircle the Acropolis. Sharable plates of fresh-cut fries and diners' choices of fountain drink join forces to form a full meal in a tasty triumvirate of Greek-American fare.
Sandy's Sandwiches prides itself on feeding customers high quality bread, but not too much of it. Instead, they focus on serving up more meat, more cheese, and whatever other toppings make up the customer's sandwich of choice. With the Big Bet BLT, it's bacon, sliced avocados, and ancho-chipotle sauce; in the Chicken Melt Sub, it's swiss cheese and honey mustard; while the Chicken Salad Sandwich is topped with baby spinach and creamy pesto. Other sandwiches include massive eats such as the Colossal Corned Beef with horseradish dijon on marbled rye, or the Big Hammer, made with enough smoked ham and swiss cheese to put Thor to sleep. The menu also includes hot dogs—the Chicago Dog, the Striped Dog, and the Bacon Chili Dog—and wraps such as the Straight Veggie Wrap with roasted red pepper and artichoke hearts.