They may not be trendy like avocados or photogenic like fried eggs, but we think dates are having a bit of a moment right now. From a bacon-wrapped classic to a smoothie, here are five dishes and drinks that prove dates' status as an unsung hero of Chicago's current culinary climate.
One of Chicago's most iconic shareable dishes, these sweet, savory, and slightly spicy chorizo-packed dates are a major draw at this popular One Off Hospitality concept. Each massive date arrives at the table wrapped generously in bacon and nestled in a pool of piquillo pepper-tomato sauce, which is best soaked up with pieces of the accompanying crusty bread. 615 W. Randolph St., 312-377-2002
Thick, rich, and loaded with nutrients, this drinkable stunner is a date lover's dream realized. The brunch-only smoothie is vegan-friendly, and features bananas and dates blended with almond milk, almond butter, and flaxseed. 1 W. Erie St., 312-204-6981
Executive chef Nate Cayer employs dates to deepen the complexity of flavor in his popular Brussels sprout salad, and lend a subtle sweetness to the otherwise savory dish. The salad is also comprised of sharp manchego cheese and toasted almonds for a bit of crunch, then thoroughly coated in a tangy mustard vinaigrette. 127 W. Huron St., 312-754-0700
One of the most decadent ways to get a date fix is via Lawry's coveted sticky toffee pudding. No prime rib feast is complete without the date-studded, English-style sponge cake, which is drenched in thick, rich toffee sauce and finished with creme anglaise. 100 E. Ontario St., 312-787-5000
The newly minted dosa frankie bar at this eclectic River North gem features a variety of filling and chutney options that span from duck vinadloo and tamarind shrimp to coconut-cilantro and tomato chimichurri—and even tamarind date. The Indian-style, crepe-like pancakes promise to become a staple, and are available all day long. 10 W. Hubbard St., 312-527-4060