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Big & Little's Seafood
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  • Big & Little's Seafood

    Post #1 - March 2nd, 2010, 11:37 am
    Post #1 - March 2nd, 2010, 11:37 am Post #1 - March 2nd, 2010, 11:37 am
    Has anyone tried this? The first few paragraphs of Tasting Table's article makes me wonder what it's like.
    http://tastingtable.com/ecs/2239.htm?sid=489774

    Big and Little's
    860 N. Orleans (Old address until 11/11 was: 939 N. Orleans St.)
    Chicago, IL 60610
    312-943-0000
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love

    There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach

    I write fiction. You can find me—and some stories—on Facebook, Twitter and my website.
  • Post #2 - March 2nd, 2010, 2:36 pm
    Post #2 - March 2nd, 2010, 2:36 pm Post #2 - March 2nd, 2010, 2:36 pm
    I went there with a co-worker for lunch last Friday. I had the Fish and Chips and she had the Shrimp Basket and we split a chili. Everything was very fresh and quite good with the exception of the chili which I didn't particularly care for. The fish was breaded really well and was exceptionally fresh. Two big pieces were reasonably priced at ten bucks and the Shrimp which were really the size of Prawns were about eight dollars. What I'd like to try when I go back is the Cheeseburger which was made fresh and was only about five bucks. Be forewarned, they are CASH ONLY, but well worth the price. I don't think they have a bathroom either so plan ahead!
  • Post #3 - March 2nd, 2010, 3:03 pm
    Post #3 - March 2nd, 2010, 3:03 pm Post #3 - March 2nd, 2010, 3:03 pm
    I enjoyed lunch at Big & Little's about two weeks ago. I ordered a cheeseburger and cheese fries. The burger was solid, grilled to order at med-rare with a little char, and put together with solid but otherwise unremarkable ingredients. The cheese fries were big winners, mostly due to the cheddar that was melted down on the stove while I waited. My dining companions ordered fish and chips; they were very happy with their meals as well. The two gentlemen running this place seemed to take pride in their craft. I will likely return at some point.
  • Post #4 - March 2nd, 2010, 4:01 pm
    Post #4 - March 2nd, 2010, 4:01 pm Post #4 - March 2nd, 2010, 4:01 pm
    radiator wrote:Two big pieces were reasonably priced at ten bucks and the Shrimp which were really the size of Prawns were about eight dollars.


    After looking at the picture of the menu on the Tasting Table link, I realize I got the prices backwards. It was eight bucks for the Fish and Chips and ten for the Shrimp (My Shrimp allergy prevents me from thinking or talking clearly about them :) ). Apparently the burger with Fried Egg is extremely popular, too.
  • Post #5 - March 2nd, 2010, 4:32 pm
    Post #5 - March 2nd, 2010, 4:32 pm Post #5 - March 2nd, 2010, 4:32 pm
    Big & Little seems to really be on the collective mind of LTH today. Jazzfood told me about this place a couple of weeks ago and we've been meaning to check it out. Today was the day. I think someone else is going to do a more full report, but I'll just say, great hand-battered-to-order fish & chips (hand cut chips, too)!

    Hand Battering
    Image
    Sorry for the out of focus picture. That guy was moving fast.

    Fish & Chips
    Image

    Shrimp Tacos
    Image
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #6 - March 3rd, 2010, 8:17 am
    Post #6 - March 3rd, 2010, 8:17 am Post #6 - March 3rd, 2010, 8:17 am
    LTH,

    Big & Little was off my radar until Jazzfood's suggestion, I glanced at it on Ronnie_S's Media Digest saw Gordon Ramsay/Hell's Kitchen and glossed over, a mistake on my part. Big & Little is a high-water mark quick food joint in an unassuming package

    Big & Little's, former home of Kababish

    Image

    Focused, reasonably priced menu

    Image

    Meaty juicy beef, runny yolk egg, grilled bun, one of the better burgers. I just about polished off my half, I split fish and chips/burger with Jazzfood, before realizing I didn't take a picture of the lovely med-rare interior.

    Fried Egg Hamburger

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    Fish & Chips, light crisp batter encasing moist cod, fresh cut fries with made in house tarter sauce. The F/C will draw me back sooner rather than later.

    Fish and Chips

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    Grilled tilapia fillet hidden under a mound of purple cabbage is out of balance, though a quick slaw swipe and you have a very reasonable fish taco. Interestingly VitalInformation liked former occupant Kabbabish, a 24/7 IndoPak 'cabbie' joint, for do-it-yourself fish tacos, naan, grilled fish and veg from the gratis salad, an innovative and delicious idea.

    Fish Taco

    Image

    Big & Little stocks El Yucateco, one of my favorite hot sauces though today we used a little of the freshly made chili oil I brought for Jazzfood.

    Image

    There's been mention of melting cheddar cheese chunks to order for cheese fries, this is not accurate, Jazzfood specifically asked.

    Interesting sounding special, Foie Gras and Fries for $10, two pieces of foie draped over fries with sauce.

    Daily Special

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    Spotless minimalist interior, some seating though when Big & Little really catches on, and it will, space and seating will be a tough ticket at peak hours.

    Image

    Good call on Jazzfood's part, Big & Little's, count me a fan.

    Mogadishu Restaurant "Somalian Finest Food" is just South of Big & Little, we stopped to take a look-see and the delicious aromas were so enticing we almost called an audible. Two types of goat on the daily menu and a room full of people plates overflowing. I can't wait to check out Mogadishu, if the food tastes even half as good as it smells it will be fantastic.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Big and Little's
    939 N. Orleans St.
    Chicago, IL 60610
    312-943-0000

    Mogadishu Restaurant "Somalian Finest Food"
    931 N Orleans St.
    Chicago, Il 60610
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #7 - March 3rd, 2010, 10:36 am
    Post #7 - March 3rd, 2010, 10:36 am Post #7 - March 3rd, 2010, 10:36 am
    There's been mention of melting cheddar cheese chunks to order for cheese fries, this is not accurate, Jazzfood specifically asked.


    G Wiv,

    Regarding the cheese fries, I stood and waited while the one who I can only assume is “Little” stood at the stove to the right of the grill and prepared the cheese for my fries. I did not see any “chunks of cheese,” and am not surprised that they do not prepare individual cheese portions to order. Looking back on the experience, it was pre-noon and relatively early for lunch (only one other person came and went while my party of three was there); perhaps mine was simply the first melted cheese order of the day and extra time was taken to prepare a larger portion for the anticipated lunch crowd. In any event, the cheese was piping hot and worth the extra few minutes.
  • Post #8 - March 3rd, 2010, 11:00 am
    Post #8 - March 3rd, 2010, 11:00 am Post #8 - March 3rd, 2010, 11:00 am
    hotsauceandbluecheese wrote:
    There's been mention of melting cheddar cheese chunks to order for cheese fries, this is not accurate, Jazzfood specifically asked.


    G Wiv,

    Regarding the cheese fries, I stood and waited while the one who I can only assume is “Little” stood at the stove to the right of the grill and prepared the cheese for my fries. I did not see any “chunks of cheese,” and am not surprised that they do not prepare individual cheese portions to order. Looking back on the experience, it was pre-noon and relatively early for lunch (only one other person came and went while my party of three was there); perhaps mine was simply the first melted cheese order of the day and extra time was taken to prepare a larger portion for the anticipated lunch crowd. In any event, the cheese was piping hot and worth the extra few minutes.


    They do prepare the cheese portions to order (mostly because of lack of volume), but the cheese in question is not cheddar. It's a nacho cheese "product", according to the owners.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #9 - March 3rd, 2010, 12:39 pm
    Post #9 - March 3rd, 2010, 12:39 pm Post #9 - March 3rd, 2010, 12:39 pm
    First time visitor to BIg & littles....had the fish and chips. I wish I would have eaten within the restaurant as the fish was a had lost it's crispness within the 5 minute ride home. Maybe if they used paper bags inlieu of the styrafoam containers it would help on carry out orders. Needless to say, the fish was hand battered in front of me and was very fresh. The fries are hand cut and very good too! Saw the burger while I was there and it looked awesome...both the owners are genuine nice guys and I hope the word gets out as they have a darn good product and fair prices but not the best location.
  • Post #10 - March 3rd, 2010, 2:17 pm
    Post #10 - March 3rd, 2010, 2:17 pm Post #10 - March 3rd, 2010, 2:17 pm
    stevez wrote: the cheese in question is not cheddar.


    Ah - thanks for clarifying and sorry for the confusion.
  • Post #11 - March 3rd, 2010, 4:39 pm
    Post #11 - March 3rd, 2010, 4:39 pm Post #11 - March 3rd, 2010, 4:39 pm
    Re: crispy fish; maybe someone should give them the Shui Wah tip when they package their salt and pepper squid. They take a sharp knife and slice off two corners of the styrofoam lid to allow steam to escape.

    Perhaps others do this but I've only ever seen it at Shui Wah.
    I used to think the brain was the most important part of the body. Then I realized who was telling me that.
  • Post #12 - March 4th, 2010, 9:34 pm
    Post #12 - March 4th, 2010, 9:34 pm Post #12 - March 4th, 2010, 9:34 pm
    LTH,

    What with all the recent coverage on this board as well as in the press, we decided to check it out tonight. We arrived at ~30 mins before closing time and managed to nab a parking spot right in front of the shop (subsequently, Little informed me that they have a parking lot right next to their building).

    2 of us had:
    Fish and chips
    Foie gras and fries (knew it was going to be too much food, but I couldn't resist)
    Grilled squid and a side of beet/pineapple salad
    Grilled fish taco

    The owners also comped us two bottles of water and an extra fish taco. These guys are a class act, and seemed extremely personable and willing to please.

    The fish part of the fish/chips was excellent. The hand batter was just the right amount, completely encasing the fish but not too thick. It was fried a shade darker than golden brown, which I enjoy. I didn't really have any of the fries, since I had the next dish, but my impression is that they got rather soggy from: (i) being under the fish, and (ii) the sheer quantity of fries piled together. This is a lot of food.

    And then the piece de resistance... the foie gras and fries. Super tasty! :o The liver itself was what you would expect for paying $10 for the dish. Two fair-sized pieces (the ones I got were slightly veiny) pan-seared and draped over fries, which absorb all the fat. I would have liked a harder sear on my foie. Otherwise, the fries were ridiculously good, having sopped up all the flavour from above.

    Grilled squid and fish tacos were also very tasty. In particular, I thought the squid was a great deal at $6 including a side. Really enjoyed the cocktail sauce (I forgot to ask if it was homemade, but I assume so) that came with it. The squid was simply grilled with salt/pepper and some lemon juice.

    We walked out of the place 45 mins later, and only $30 lighter for a huge amount of good food.

    This is a somewhat longer report than I am accustomed to writing, but I think these guys look like they're trying hard and deserve the press, so more power to them. I think I will be back for lunch some time soon to sample the burger and a fried fish taco...


    Edited to add: while we were there, a guy walked in and yelled "Nobody move, this is a stick-up!!" which freaked the heck out of me (I was busy stuffing my face and couldn't see the door). Turns out he's a regular customer but still... haha... :oops:
  • Post #13 - March 11th, 2010, 10:52 pm
    Post #13 - March 11th, 2010, 10:52 pm Post #13 - March 11th, 2010, 10:52 pm
    I don't know how much I have to add that hasn't already been said, but I wanted to make sure and post my praise as well. We'll see how the place develops, but it really has the spirit of a GNR to me. The quality/price ratio is extremely high. The friendly owners obviously care about their product and customers. I've been there twice this week and found the food to be incredibly good. Having lived in Chicago most of my life, I had forgotten that I even like fish and chips!
  • Post #14 - March 12th, 2010, 9:49 pm
    Post #14 - March 12th, 2010, 9:49 pm Post #14 - March 12th, 2010, 9:49 pm
    I had the fish and chips today and they were onolicious. It's rare when you get the perfect fried piece of fish that is cooked through, but only to that point. The fries were great too, with the malt vinegar splashed on. I liked that they mixed the fries in a bowl with the sea salt before putting them in the tray. Eating in is a must, the batter and fries were perfectly crisp. They are so hot it would be a steamed mess. They really should just use a paper bag, or a newspaper, (the board of health would love that!) for carry outs.
  • Post #15 - April 6th, 2010, 1:36 pm
    Post #15 - April 6th, 2010, 1:36 pm Post #15 - April 6th, 2010, 1:36 pm
    Made my first venture over to Big & Little's last night and really enjoyed my experience. There was one other couple finishing their meal when I arrived so I got undivided attention from both Gary and Tony as they took and prepared my order. Before ordering, I took a moment to read some of the articles displayed on the wall, to get some idea about the proprietors.

    I went with a crab tostada and cheese fries, then decided I was still hungry and tried a fish taco. Everything that has been said already pretty much sums up my experience, and I am a big seafood shack fan so I can't be more pleased to have this in my neighborhood. The crab was sweet and marinated with fresh lime juice, served atop a very nice crispy tostada. I enjoyed the fish taco even more, although as noted upthread there was an excess of cabbage covering the tilapia. The spicy sauce made the taco one of the best I've found in Chicago, so I will definitely return if just for that. Total cost for my order which included an IBC root beer was approximately $13, so it was a decent value.

    My only issue was with the cheese on the fries, even though it was made fresh on the stove while I waited for my order, I was hoping for Merkt's cheddar but instead received a thinner, nacho-type cheese sauce. I guess I have been spoiled by visiting many other GNR's where they solely use Merkt's.

    Both Gary and Tony were very enthusiastic about their restaurant, so I expect them to chime in on here at some point. They are aware of the LTH forum and think the word-of-mouth is great because they haven't spent much on marketing. I look forward to returning and trying different items like the fish and chips, shrimp taco, and if I'm feeling adventurous, the squid taco.
  • Post #16 - April 6th, 2010, 2:42 pm
    Post #16 - April 6th, 2010, 2:42 pm Post #16 - April 6th, 2010, 2:42 pm
    I enjoyed going to 939 N. Orleans (with John 3:16 over the door) when it was a Pakistani place.
  • Post #17 - April 8th, 2010, 8:21 am
    Post #17 - April 8th, 2010, 8:21 am Post #17 - April 8th, 2010, 8:21 am
    Want to add my greasy thumb up in approval of Big & Little's. Walked there from work with a couple of work friends, so I got to try several things. LOVED my fried fish taco. Had a taste of the fresh & wonderful grilled squid, enjoyed the beet & pineapple salad [like mixing cans from my mom's cabinet . . . only better!], and forced some of my fries on the other diners [one's getting married soon, so she's on the countdown-to-wedding-dress diet].

    And agree that some Merkt's would be a fine addition to the fries.

    Giovanna
    =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=

    "Enjoy every sandwich."

    -Warren Zevon
  • Post #18 - April 11th, 2010, 4:58 pm
    Post #18 - April 11th, 2010, 4:58 pm Post #18 - April 11th, 2010, 4:58 pm
    Can anyone name a better fish taco OR *yes I'll say it* a better version of Fish and Chips here in Chicago? I cant!

    This place is amazing and the prices are a steal, they are headed for big things so get there soon before the lines start going out of the store! I almost don't want to tell anyone about this place because I enjoy it so much but you can't help but root for these two, they are serving tasty, fresh offerings that don't break the bank. It's pretty much a gourmet fast food shack.
    I'm not picky, I just have more tastebuds than you... ; )
  • Post #19 - April 24th, 2010, 5:40 pm
    Post #19 - April 24th, 2010, 5:40 pm Post #19 - April 24th, 2010, 5:40 pm
    Count me as a big fan of BIG & little's. Eight bucks gets you two nice pieces of cod, freshly battered and fried, with a pile of good fries. Fish is perfectly cooked—a hot and flaky interior encased in a dark golden shell. Fries are also perfectly done—also a shade darker than at most other places.

    Image

    I appreciate that these guys have a limited menu and execute it with care and skill. Unusual for a fried fish joint, no cole slaw is available. Instead, I enjoyed their simple kidney bean salad.

    Image

    Maybe next time I'll be brave enough to order the beet and pineapple salad. Oh, and the burger is one of the better $4 versions around. Good guys, good place. I miss Kababish (at least in its early days) but it's nice to see a worthy successor taking over the building.

    BIG & little's
    939 N Orleans St
    Chicago
    312-943-0000
  • Post #20 - April 24th, 2010, 7:07 pm
    Post #20 - April 24th, 2010, 7:07 pm Post #20 - April 24th, 2010, 7:07 pm
    The foie w/fries is a knockout as well. Sorry for the bad shot. I was rushing on foie gras and had already devoured two of the four foie medallions when I realized I should document the grunt eliciting dish and pulled out my iphone.

    Scored, seasoned, quick seared, placed on their excellent fries which were then in turn drizzled w/all pan juices.

    Image
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #21 - April 24th, 2010, 7:40 pm
    Post #21 - April 24th, 2010, 7:40 pm Post #21 - April 24th, 2010, 7:40 pm
    holy heart-stopping awesomeness, that looks great!

    four of those size chunks of foie over fries for $10 is a great bargain.
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  • Post #22 - April 26th, 2010, 9:26 am
    Post #22 - April 26th, 2010, 9:26 am Post #22 - April 26th, 2010, 9:26 am
    I stop by here on the way home from work from time to time. It is great. Don't overlook the burger, which I thought equal to the fish and shrimp. With the Pakistani places and B&L, one can put together a nice takeout run on Orleans. Free parking in the gravel lot next door.
  • Post #23 - April 29th, 2010, 3:26 am
    Post #23 - April 29th, 2010, 3:26 am Post #23 - April 29th, 2010, 3:26 am
    Agreed on the Burger. It's a steal at those prices, it's fresh and cooked to perfection. This place is simple, tasty, and cheap!
    I'm not picky, I just have more tastebuds than you... ; )
  • Post #24 - April 29th, 2010, 8:53 am
    Post #24 - April 29th, 2010, 8:53 am Post #24 - April 29th, 2010, 8:53 am
    Image

    Image

    Image

    Image

    I've been here three times in the past few weeks now.. very, very good burger for the price. I also really enjoy the truffle fries, which at $3.50 are some of the cheapest "fancy" fries in the city.

    They still have some serious service kinks to work out: yesterday at lunch, a 10 person line took about 30 minutes to get through. With just big & little working the shop, they don't have enough hands to finish plates and work the register. Hopefully they hit their stride and are able to bring on an extra cook or FOH person.

    But really, the cheeseburger + truffle fries, for $8, is an incredibly satisfying lunch.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #25 - May 4th, 2010, 10:09 am
    Post #25 - May 4th, 2010, 10:09 am Post #25 - May 4th, 2010, 10:09 am
    Just wanted to add a +1 here. Stopped for lunch on Saturday. Fish Taco was fantastic. Also had the crab tostada and split a fish and chips. They care and you can tell. Too much food for 20 dollars is quite an accomplishment. Will def be back.
  • Post #26 - May 7th, 2010, 10:18 pm
    Post #26 - May 7th, 2010, 10:18 pm Post #26 - May 7th, 2010, 10:18 pm
    The crab tostada is made with snow crab pulled from the shell, rather than the can, and I thought it was quite good and reasonably priced for $4.

    Image

    Regarding fish tacos, I'm hard to please (stymied in my enjoyment by the ideal established by Tacos del Pacifico), but I thought Big and Little's rendition was quite good: fish not fried, just griddled, and tilapia, which is always a challenge, and as mentioned a good sauce.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #27 - May 12th, 2010, 11:02 pm
    Post #27 - May 12th, 2010, 11:02 pm Post #27 - May 12th, 2010, 11:02 pm
    Stopped in here for lunch on Wednesday and enjoyed it very much. It was a pleasure to see the level to which all the items we tried were prepared to order -- and prepared with care. As others have posted, the menu is designed with a relatively tight focus and the pricing is very friendly. We tried the fish and chips, which boasted a wonderfully light yet substantial crust. Fish inside was moist, flaky and tasty. It's great that B&L's dips the fish to order. A fish taco was tasty, though the fish was a bit mushy. My favorite elements were the crunchy red cabbage and spicy mayonnaise. Truffle fries were tasty and I enjoyed watching my order of them being tossed in a large bowl with their seasoning right before being served to me, though I wish they'd been a bit crispier. Herbacious kidney bean salad was also enjoyable, with beans that were perfectly tender without being mushy. For my taste, there was a little too much raw onion in this salad but that's just a quibble. Cheeseburger with egg (wife really wanted the egg, even though it's not my fave) was a very nice rendition, cooked perfectly to medium rare, served on a toasted bun and topped with 'everything,' which included lettuce, tomato and ketchup . . .

    Image
    Cheeseburger with Egg at Big & Little's

    Really glad to know about this place and happy to have finally tried it out. I can definitely see returning because the menu is thoughtful, the food is prepared with care and there seems to be a genuine 'love of the game' driving the place.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #28 - May 12th, 2010, 11:12 pm
    Post #28 - May 12th, 2010, 11:12 pm Post #28 - May 12th, 2010, 11:12 pm
    For those like me who need the hours:

    Hours:
    Mon-Fri 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
    Sat 12 p.m. - 9 p.m.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #29 - May 13th, 2010, 10:20 am
    Post #29 - May 13th, 2010, 10:20 am Post #29 - May 13th, 2010, 10:20 am
    Cathy2 wrote:For those like me who need the hours:

    Hours:
    Mon-Fri 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
    Sat 12 p.m. - 9 p.m.

    Thanks, Cathy. Though, like menus, hours tend to change over time, so it's probably best to call if you're reading this post sometime down the road.

    (312) 943-0000

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #30 - May 13th, 2010, 10:35 am
    Post #30 - May 13th, 2010, 10:35 am Post #30 - May 13th, 2010, 10:35 am
    This has been mentioned above, I think, but you can also park in the lot directly north of Big & Little's for free, enter via the alley.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.

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