Phil Vettel reviews Monnie Burke’s

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

CHICAGO, Ill. -- The newest restaurant addition to the Pilsen neighborhood is Monnie Burke's, a four-month-old charmer with a sedate, dark-wood and green dining room and a long, polished-wood bar. 

This summer, however, all the action is outside, as Monnie Burke's has one of the most appealing outdoor courtyards in the city, replete with umbrella-topped tables, string lights, a sheltered outdoor bar and, for chilly nights, a gas-powered fire pit.
Michael Shrader, a veteran Chicago chef, runs the kitchen, and his main goal is to keep things approachable and neighborhood-friendly.
For starters, there's a hearty Kitchen Sink salad, a variation on the classic Chicago garbage salad, a mix of greens with shrimp, salami, pepperoncini, blue cheese and garlic dressing. Tender octopus is tossed with shishito peppers and an 'nduja vinaigrette, which adds a punch, and the bowl is painted with black-garlic puree. And Shrader ups the ante on avocado toast by adding liberal doses of crab and yuzu over toasted ciabatta.
Faroe Island salmon gets a very pretty presentation, picking up color from tomatoes, capers and microgreens. Duck breast, meaty enough to share, features thick slices glistening under a cherry glaze, alongside mushrooms and cipollini-onion puree. The braised pork shank is essentially a re-imagined osso buco, using pork instead of veal, cheese grits instead of polenta and spicy vegetable chow chow instead of gremolata; it's really good.
Desserts are based on Shrader's childhood memory, particularly store-bought sweets. The gloriously gooey chocolate fudge brownie is topped by Cracker Jack, right out of the box, and the very good Key lime trifle is inlaid with Nilla wafers.
I give Monnie Burke's three stars.


Latest News

More News