Ariel Kanter

February 10, 2022


The Hit List Chicago

Somehow it’s already February. The chill in the air is bracing. Valentine’s Day ads are everywhere, whether you want them or not. The salve for this physical and emotional roller coaster is comfort food, obviously. A huge bowl of fiery Sichuan beef stew from Shang Noodle should do the trick. As would a bucket of tips from Lem’s BBQ or shrimp and grits from The Graceful Ordinary. You could also do a potato chip tasting with all the varieties from Talard Thai Asian Market. A cocktail at The Graduate Homestead Room wouldn’t hurt, either. Need more ideas? Behold: our February hit list.

The Graceful Ordinary

Along the Fox River you’ll find The Graceful Ordinary, a finessed take on the Colonial-era “Ordinary” or town tavern. The spot, which opened in November, comes from a husband-and-wife team, Chef Chris Curren (Blue 13) and hospitality vet Megan Curran. There, they offer comforting, contemporary options like acorn squash ravioli with brown butter and a play on tuna conserva with puffed black rice. Many of the dishes get a hint of fire from their 12-foot open hearth — like the wood-roasted Slagel Farm chicken breast with truffle jus and the dry-aged rib eye with smoked cauliflower puree. That’s certainly one way to stay warm this month.