Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The celebrated chef from Chicago's buzzy new
restaurant, the Duck Inn, offers up his favorite Windy City dining spots.
"I have an eating disorder—I eat all the time," jokes chef
Kevin Hickey about his relationship with food. For this Chicago native, the
obsession has paid off—his six-month-old Duck Inn, in Bridgeport, has
quickly become one of the city's hottest tables, serving hearty seasonal fare
like foie gras with rhubarb jelly and poached duck egg carbonara. Here's his
take on the Windy City, in five meals. Breakfast: I go to the Mexico
Steakhouse on Archer Avenue in Bridgeport for chilaquiles or carne asada and
eggs. It's a total dive, but I grew up with the family that owns it, went to
school with the owners' girls, and now their daughters work in my restaurant.
It's not terribly authentic but I've been going there my whole life and the
chilaquiles are fantastic. Lunch: the Indian Garden Buffet, in River
North, is my secret shame. A buffet is the worst thing in the world for
someone with an addition to food, like putting a bar in an Alcoholics
Anonymous. They keep bringing you tandoori chicken and naan until you force
them to stop. Dinner: Tête Charcuterie is really, really good. It's
run by one of my previous sous chefs from many years ago who also worked with
Paul Liebrandt. He opened it less than a year ago and focuses on amazing
cured meat and offal. It's very, very good. Late night: Strings, a ramen
shop in Chinatown, is my favorite. They serve food until 3 a. m. , maybe even
4 a. m. on Saturdays. All of the noodles are hand-pulled in the basement
kitchen and served with four or five different styles of broth. The house
ramen is hands down the best. The broth is spectacular. They don't serve
any liquor (it's BYOB), but really, this is where I go after I've had too
much to drink. Brunch: I very rarely go to brunch, but the last really
good brunch I had was at Nightwood. I've been a huge customer since day one
when they opened six years ago. It was like the skies parted, and suddenly
there was a good place to eat in my neighborhood. The brunch menu changes
every week and they email it out as a newsletter every Saturday night. I
always get something different; I had an octopus, sausage, and egg sandwich
last time that was really cool. More good reads from T+L:
• NYC's Newest Burgers Are What Dreams Are Made Of
• Chef's Tour: Gavin Kaysen's Minneapolis
• Cuba, Beyond the Beaches: Five Must-See Cities
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chef Kevin Hickey of Duck Inn shares his five favorite restaurants for
breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night, and brunch.

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