Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dove's Luncheonette

I have talked about Paul Kahan several times and have raved about every restaurant that is under his umbrella that I have been to (Blackbird, The Publican, Nico Osteria, Big Star).  He is a master chef and a great mentor who is able to find and lead talented young chefs with the many concepts that he has undertaken.  There are some restaurant groups in which most of their restaurants have a common theme and are very similar.  The several concepts run by One Off Hospitality, the restaurant group in which Paul Kahan is a partner, are very different.  The one common theme between the various properties are their devotion to local farmers and seasonal food.  I went recently to their most recent restaurant, Dove's Luncheonette, an old style diner that serves mostly Mexican food and is located in Wicker Park, next to Big Star.  The restaurant is kind of inobtrusive, with the sign painted on the window next to the door.  The building in which Dove's is located is a beautiful vintage building with wood framed windows.  The inside looks as an old diner should, with stainless steel counters facing the windows as well as a dining counter looking into the open kitchen.  The walls are paneled on the lower half and covered in numerous old photos on the upper half.  There is an old jukebox in the corner as well as a turntable behind the corner with a great collection of old blues and soul records.  The menu is one page (both sides listing all meals including the all day breakfast).  In addition, there is a board behind the counter, near the ceiling, that lists the daily specials.  While there were several things on the specials list that looked really good (the Pork Milanese Cemita), I decided to stick with the menu and started with the Pepper and Potato Hash which in addition to the Fried Potatoes and the Shishito Peppers, had Aioli, Charred Scallions, and Queso Fresco.  Shishito Peppers are long and green and look similar to Jalapeno peppers, so while they are sweet, it was a little annerving to see all of those peppers among the potatoes.  I did try a pepper before anything else and found it to be fresh, crisp and sweet and went well with the crispy fried potatoes, and the slightly spicy aioli.  The queso fresco added a little salt and texture to an excellent dish.
For my main course, I ordered Enchiladas de Cochinilla, or Suckling Pig which was roasted, shredded and wrapped in Corn Tortillas.  The dish was served in a cast iron pan giving it kind of a homey appearance.  They were served with Mole Verde, Pepitas (fried sunflower seeds), Onions, Queso Fresco, Chicharrones, and Cilantro.  The pork was very tender as would be expected and the dish was a wealth of flavors and textures.  It was so good, that while I try to change what I order when I return to a restaurant, it would be difficult not to return to this.  I liked everything about this place and I will definitely return.        

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