Bargains and Brothels: Klas, Cicero
ReneG, Amata, El Panzone and others have extolled the grooviness of Klas, an old world Bohemian joint in Cicero. Tonight, a few friends and I had dinner and a tour.
Dinner was about 10 bucks each, and included soup, salad, entrée and dessert. The soup for me was liver dumpling: a little salty but pretty good. The salad was two kinds of cold slaw and sweet/sour cabbage, a very good foil for the entrée, which was boiled beef with dill sauce, a little sweeter than I had expected but tasty. Dessert was apple strudel, also good. Now, none of this food was outstanding, but it was flavorful, solid Bohemian fare, and the price cannot be beat. We had dinner early (around 6:00) and as the sun set, the stained glass windows set ablaze the room, of which my friends and I seemed to be the youngest members by about 10 years (that’s a problem: when the old crowd stops coming, what’s going to happen to this place?).
After dinner, we started wandering around and visited:
• The Dr. Zhivago Room, which is a wood paneled banquet hall, with thick ceiling beams, chandeliers and a series of hand-painted murals depicting scenes from Russian History. It was deeply cool, and our host told us it could be had for a buck a head (i.e., bring 25 people and there’s a $25 clean-up fee tacked on to the bill; I’m sure it’s negotiable).
• The Waterfall Room, which was really my favorite, and which had a kind of faux hunting lodge feel. In the corner was a water fall that cascaded down a mountain of tiled steps; there was also a big fire place, and lots of stuffed animal life. It had its own bar and lots and lots of wood. It was cozy, in an Eastern European kind of way.
• The George Washington Room (!) which was a huge, off-white banquet hall with private bar overlooking the beer garden, and huge murals of GW at Valley Forge and other locations. This place, despite bizarre murals, was a little too pedestrian…I preferred the funkier chambers like The Waterfall Room and …
• The Last Supper Room, a long chamber with gold and red stencil work along ceilings and walls and a series of five or so church-type doors leading off to tiny little rooms which, allegedly, provided locations for illicit (though by the standards of 1930’s Cicero, quite typical) liaisons. Most of the rooms now seem to hold chairs and other licit items, but there’s one room in back that still has a chaise longue and some furniture to suggest the good old days of generally tolerated prostitution in Cicero (an era that ended sometime in the last 10 years).
These rooms are all in addition to the two main dining rooms and relatively tiny dark wood bar, which tonight featured a guy totally knocked out and hunched over a glass of red wine. The host told us the guy comes every night and does rounds of red (Cabernet, Merlot, Chianti) until he blacks out…then he starts again.
Klas is a fun place to go eat. The food is good and the ambiance is fabulous, very much a throwback in the tradition of the late, great Horwath’s. I’d stop by sooner rather than later, as it may be later than you think.
5734 W Cermak Rd
Tue-Thu 11-830, Fri 11-9, Sat 11-930, Sun 11-8
“We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni