The baby octopus gyro at The Peasantry (Jason Little/For RedEye )
Mini-review: The Peasantry
2723 N. Clark St. 773-868-4888
Rating: !!! (out of four) Off to a good start
The gist: A brick-and-mortar restaurant dedicated to "elevated street food" isn't a new idea (see Xoco and Belly Shack), but it sure is a tasty one. That's why my taste buds perked up when Alexander Brunacci (of Lincoln Park's successful sausage shop Franks 'n' Dawgs) opened this second spot dedicated to putting his own spin on street food favorites. His signature creativity—and love of meat—is all over the menu.
The scene: It's date-night central, even on a recent weekday. Couples pack the wooden tables along the walls, which are covered with a local graffiti artist's mural of flying pigs and other animals. A long communal table in the middle hosts larger groups.
The strange: A few of the meats on the menu may raise eyebrows, but if you're an adventurous eater, you'll be rewarded. Grilled chicken livers ($9) taste like soft nuggets of paté and arrive skewered with radishes and onions, but it's the thick slices of toast—slathered with creamy radish and herb-flecked butter—that almost steal the spotlight. A grilled baby octopus gyro ($10) with spicy chorizo sausage crumbles comes atop house-made roti bread that sadly became too soggy to eat with my hands, but the unexpected grape and herb topping is worth eating by the spoonful.
The familiar: If you want to play it safe, plenty of burgers, flatbreads, and sausages keep things comfortable. The Tur-doggin ($10), a turkey and date sausage that's become a Franks 'n' Dawgs signature, also appears on this menu, along with three burger choices (lamb, $11, beef and bone marrow, $12, and duck, $13). Counter all the meat with a grilled flatbread ($11) with roasted beets and goat cheese, perked up by the acidity of orange segments and pickled red onions.
Bottom line: The unique menu items here are fairly priced, meaning you're not investing a ton of cash when you take a risk and order something new, like frogs' legs ($8.50) or rabbit pasta ($15). If you and your less adventurous friends seem to always end up at the same burger and sandwich spots, you can still get those staples here, but with upscale twists that make them taste brand new.
firstname.lastname@example.org | @redeyechicago