Dusek's when I first heard about it. Owned by the group that also owns Longman & Eagle, Parsons Chicken and Fish, and The Empty Bottle, I knew that it was going to be a hit, but it's in Pilsen, which while in Chicago, is a little farther than I normally like to bike. I decided one nice summer evening however, that it was a place I wanted to visit and the weather was great, so it was time to visit. Dusek's Board and Beer was originally founded by John Dusek in the 1890s as a bar and boarding house in Thalia Hall. It was refounded after several years dormant at the same location as a three part operation, Dusek's, a beer focused restaurant influenced by the original German, Czech, and Eastern European settlers in Pilsen, Punch Room, the basement Cocktail Lounge, and Thalia Hall, the music venue. The restaurant space is divided into two large rooms, with hardwood floors, brick walls, and prints and photographs from the 1890's. The big windows in the front provide a lot of natural light with additional light provided by chandeliers with Edison lights. The bar serving beer and liquor is at the bar in the front room, but there is an additional bar in the other room which is used for preparing charcuterie and cheese boards. I was seated next to this bar in an area with a lot of natural light. While the ham plates and the cheese plates both sounded really good, I started things off with Chicken Fried Veal Sweetbreads which were served with Blue Cheese Gnocchi, a Barigoule (a vegetable dish from Provençal, typically made with artichokes, braised in a seasoned broth of wine and water) of Carrots and Celery, Aerated Ranch, Hot Sauce Gel, and Dill Pollen. Many people are put off by the idea of eating sweetbreads, which are an animals' thymus glands. I have little fear of trying something new, but I remember once, a waitress comparing them to chicken nuggets. With the fact that these sweetbreads were breaded and chicken fried, the comparison was very apt. In fact, with the hot sauce, the ranch and the blue cheese, this was like boneless buffalo wings. The carrots and celery added a vegetable flavor to the dish which also enhanced the comparison of the sweetbreads to chicken. The ranch was aerated to thin it somewhat and the hot sauce was gelled to thicken it so that the sauces had similar consistencies. Everything worked together very well and it was a great starting dish.
While it is a little further than what I normally like to travel (on my bike) for dinner, it was very good and I really enjoyed the space and the food. I will definitely have to return in the future.