What Mado looks like: one of the most active in the Chicago eating community, Ronnie Suburban, takes great food pics. We dined with him at Mado last week. Let his pictures do the talking.
The menu canard: the early reviews of Mado warned
By the time you read about what I ate at Allison and Rob Levitt’s minimalist new Wicker Park restaurant, you may have to wait until next year to try some of it.I've already revealed this on the blog, but Mado does not change quite as much as first suspected. The hanger steak has not left the menu, nor has baby octopus. A grilled lake fish, probably trout, will be there, with a spare sauce, either herb or nut based. Given that these items have been consistently spot-on, I am not so much complaining. Still, not as an every day diner, but as a frequent Mado diner, I can report that the menu does not change as much as you would think.
The impact: over the last several years, my food interests have segued from the hounding, find the next great find mentality, to an intense interest in local, farms and the such. In other words, instead of having a new favorite restaurant each week, I have come to favor only a few. Instead we mostly dine-in on our bounty of local. Mado joined a short list. It is special to me, and I have had few bad things to say about it both in idealism and execution. As I said above, nearly everything I have eaten at Mado, I have loved. Still, I want to express a few ires.
The ires: I think I have already expressed my primary ire, a tendency to play it safe. This, of course, is only a criticism that a true devotee, a full kool-aid sucker could express. I think I understand Mado's concerns. The need to attract customers not as over-the-top as me. To afford some safety or at least have dishes that will sell. It's a needle-threader. I think there are many up to the challenge. More lamb belly? Cuts of cow beyond hanger? Get a little Fergus Henderson on us Rob. Also, I'd like to see a bit more veg adventure too. Mado tends to stall on favored preparations. Small potatoes are roasted; summer squash is escabeached; eggplants are honeyed. The left side of Mado's menu seemed a bit stagnant on my last visit.
Am I like the indy music fan who rejects his favorite band on the first whiff of its hitting it big? But I love Nevermind. I love Mado. I do not think Mado has gone downhill in two short months, nor has it violated any spirit it once had. I think a few revelations, good and bad, are fine for this blog.
1647 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
Website under construction