For anyone new to the scene, here’s the roundup:
When Serious Eats announced that they were launching a city-by-city eating series, we got excited — but skeptical. Picking up on our skepticism was Mike Gebert, whose credentials for skepticism far exceed our own: he’s one of Chicago’s great eaters, founder of LTHForum, writer/filmographer of Sky Full of Bacon, and all-around gastronome-about town. He put together his own Chicago list, preempting Serious Eats’ roundup.
How do they stack up? For your consideration, we present: A side-by-side comparison of the Must-Eat Chicago picks of Messrs. Gebert and Nagrant, edited to include only those categories in which they both had something to say. For their full picks, check out their own respective lists. Gebert also has his rejoinder to Nagrant’s list up here.
We’d like to start, because we can, with their selections for “best date night,” because both of the answers are so adorable that we kind of are tempted to ask the Mikes to call up Our Boyfriend and have a conversation with him about what he should do with us this Saturday night.
Best Date Night:
Gebert: “Surely this category says more about you than about the restaurant scene, depending on how you determine what makes an ideal date night, but I’m going to say that the most romantic place I can think of, good food in a great building, is North Pond Cafe. If you want energy and scene, though, you’ll want something else entirely.”
Nagrant: “Double Li or Khan BBQ.. Sure, you could take your future significant other to NoMI, L2O, or L.2O, but if they are so pretentious or coddled that they can’t get past the storefront vibe, the hardcore ethnic crowds, and the no-nonsense preparations to enjoy what are arguably some of the best examples of Chinese and Pakistani cooking in Chicago, you definitely don’t want to be dating them for long. Think of these spots as “weeder” date spots, so you don’t have to mess around wasting large bucks on someone at the high-end places you were going to break up with anyway. Even if the date sucks, the food won’t.”
For the rest of the comparison, click the jump!
Best pizza, deep dish
Gebert: Art of Pizza’s spinach
Nagrant: Pizano’s, Burt’s, Pequod’s
Best pizza, thin
Gebert: Vito & Nick’s
Nagrant: Vito & Nick’s
Gebert: Top Notch Beefburger
Nagrant: Top-Notch Beefburger (among others)
Best Late Night Eats:
Gebert: “I dunno, I don’t eat out late. Kuma’s, since they didn’t make the burger spot?”
Nagrant: Hai Woon Dae and, on the high end, Avec
Best Bar Food:
Gebert: “Avec, in a walk.”
Nagrant: Hopleaf, at least until the Publican and the Bristol open.
Gebert: “Just to be difficult, I’m going to skip the obvious choice (Violet Hour) and plug the surprisingly great natural-organicky cocktails at Crust (though it’s not much of a bar).”
Nagrant: Violet Hour and Nacional 27
Best [Meat] Market:
Gebert: Paulina Meat Market
Nagrant: Paulina Meat Market
Must Eat Before Leaving City:
Gebert: “see Best Pizza.”
Nagrant: Mario’s Italian Lemonade
Best Bargain Lunch:
Gebert: Fancy-pants option: “My wife suggests Trotter’s To Go, where she eats soup for lunch practically every day.” Nonfancy-pants: “Humboldt Park vans.”
Nagrant: Nonfancy-pants only: Spring World
Gebert: Over Easy Cafe.
Nagrant: Shui Wah
They agree on some, they disagree on others. RIght now we would like to make a MikeLander: There Can Be Only One! joke, but we are worried only like three of you will get it.
But Seriously… My Serious Dining Guide [Sky Full of Bacon]
Serious Eats City Guide: Chicago [Serious Eats]
Serious Eats Taps Mike (hmmhmm)-t To Pick Chicago’s Best [Sky Full of Bacon]
Serious Eats Chicago Est Arrivé! [previously]
[Photo: Batman vs. Superman, via Doug Schwarz’s Flickr]