Staff Picks: the Best Dishes We Ate in February

| March 1, 2018 | Food & Drink

From burgers and burrata to mouthwatering mezzaluna and more, the must-try noshes we fawned over in February.

Maillard Burger at Maillard Tavern (494 N. Milwaukee Ave., 312.766.2727)

Maillard-Burger

Photo by Huge Galdones

"I've been on a burger kick all winter, revisiting favorites like Little Bad Wolf (1541 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., 773.942.6399,), Edzo's (1571 Sherman Ave., Evanston, 847.864.3396) and even Shake Shack (12 S. Michigan Ave., 312.646.6005) for the comforting flavor of superlative smash burgers. But there's one I can't stop thinking about, and that's the eponymous burger at Maillard Tavern, whose perfectly cooked patty plus crispy onions, bacon and onion jam, cheddar, pickles and Dijon mayo equals burger paradise. Delectably crispy duck fat fries on the side and a better-than-it-needs-to-be wedge salad round out a casual meal that feels surprisingly gourmet." —J.P. Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, @jpanders

Wedge Salad at Entente (3056 N. Lincoln Ave., 872.206.8553)

wedge-salad

Photo by Matt Meschede

When the James Beard Foundation recently announced its Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists, Brian Fisher received a nomination for Best Chef: Great Lakes category. It’s easy to see why: the Schwa alum absolutely dazzles as top toque at Entente, the Michelin-starred, contemporary American concept driving gourmands to west Lakeview. Among Fisher’s indulgent efforts: a wow-worthy wedge salad that tantalizes with crisp lettuce ringing a delicious dollop of green goddess under a bed of tomatoes, Cambozola and Benton’s bacon. —Stephen Ostrowski, @stephen_ostrowski

Fermented Squash Mezzaluna at Daisies (2523 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773.661.1671)

daisies

Photo by Ryan Gorey

After sampling Joe Frillman’s butternut squash agnolotti during a fermentation-themed dinner awhile back, I found myself fixating on the dish almost too frequently. Woe was me that the specialty dish was nowhere to be found on the regular menu at Daisies in Logan Square. But it seems the lacto-fermented squash filling the ravioli-like pasta was popular enough to find its way onto said menu, with a few adjustments. It can now be found housed inside mezzaluna pasta—“half moon” in Italian—and layered with lamb pancetta. Pumpkin seeds and a generous dusting of pecorino cheese finish off a $20 dish so rich and umami-packed, you’re likely to obsess over it just as much as I have. —Ariel Cheung, Dining Editor, CS Magazine, @arielfab

Burrata at The Dearborn (145 N. Dearborn St., 312.384.1242)

burrata

Photo by Neil Burger

One taste of this dish from chef Aaron Cuschieri swept me out of Chiberia and landed me smack dab in the heart of Italy. Credit that transportive power to fresh burrata cheese, MightyVine tomatoes marinated in olive oil and herbs, roasted, marinated beets, and sweet miso vinaigrette. The result? Rich, creamy bites that are met with perfect tang and texture.—Nicole Schnitzler, Online Contributor, @writetoeat



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