Tribune Dining, Digested: Viva Veggie Burgers and Vietnamese!

• Monica Eng offers herself up in the name of science, as she tasted a few dozen of Chicago’s finest (and not-so-finest) veggie burgers. The results of her epic quest are chronicled here — the four overall winners hail from Grand Lux Cafe, The Counter, Ed Debevic’s, and Highland Park’s Michael’s Chicago Style Red Hots. Though there’s a long list of runners-up by category, she plays nice and doesn’t reveal the losers.

• Phil Vettel hands over two stars to chef Dan Nguyen’s Viet Bistro, a “cute and comfortable” restaurant on West Devon that delivers intensely flavorful Vietnamese food to an incongruously empty dining room. Vettel wants to put asses in chairs, though, and makes a strong case for it with a laundry list of dishes like catfish in a clay pot with a caramel-based sauce, banh tom (fried sweet-potato-and-shrimp cakes), and classic pho. Desserts aren’t made in-house, but who comes to a Vietnamese restaurant for dessert?

• Joe Gray files for Cheap Eats on Rocks Lakeview, an offshoot of the Rocks in Lincoln Park. Here’s what you need to know: It’s a sports bar, and they serve sports bar food — tacos, wings, mini corn dogs. Doesn’t sound like anything’s exceptional, but it’s a cut above average.

• Feeling unintelligent in the beer department? (Beer is the new cupcakes is the new bacon, or so we hear.) Tony Regan lines up local bars where you can order flights of beer — Jack’s Tap, The Yardhouse, and D4 Irish Pub & Cafe will all let you order multiple mini-glasses in one go.

[Photo: the veggie burger at Dunlays On Clark, which Eng qualified as “grainy but great,” via lindsaygrrrl’s Flickr]


Tribune Dining, Digested: Viva Veggie Burgers and Vietnamese!