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The Next Great Restaurant Destination is Harwood Heights

The Next Great Restaurant Destination is Harwood Heights
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  • The Next Great Restaurant Destination is Harwood Heights

    Post #1 - June 25th, 2012, 7:31 am
    Post #1 - June 25th, 2012, 7:31 am Post #1 - June 25th, 2012, 7:31 am
    The Next Great Restaurant Destination is Harwood Heights

    They say there are no restaurant finds anymore.

    They say all the good stuff gets written up at somewhere else.

    They say who the hell goes to Harwood Heights to eat. Now. Ever.

    It used to be amusing, argumentative, interesting that one block of Chicago contained Czeck, Greek, Mexican, and Polish food. To have audacity to call something the best.

    Do we even notice now, that best chow blocks are superseded with best chow malls. That exactly this line-up of Thai, Filipino, Serbian, Italian, Arabian, Italian beef ("freshest in town"), and Polish (and not just Polish-Polish, but kebaby too) would have JeffB swooning if it was in LA.

    Do we need a ltbloggertweettumblr to meticulously video the production of each burek, arancini, and papaya salad there to appreciate the strip. Shall we wait for a study of contrasts between shwarma and its Eastern European version. Have I jumped in too soon.

    Will this all be over-rated shortly. How long until it is asked, what restaurant did those people eat at. The feeble effort to place Harwood Heights in the pantheon begins at Pita alSharq. And this is where we will return when its GNR is not renewed.

    But we are in fact, just posers, following in the footsteps of the yelping hordes, it has been written that the "owner's father's uncle had the original Pita alSharq in Amman, Jordan."

    And that says something. And, of course, it means nothing without pictures. I do, however, have a picture or two of Pita alSharq that may be posted. Yet, in those good old days, when we just ate, did we need visual proof. Could not a man's word be his bond?

    After all how do we know that in Amman, Jordan they made such awfully good food. At least as far as one could tell after one meal of chicken over a spicy rice pilaf, shwarma with hummus, and a set of falafel. That falafel, it seems, in Amman, to be made with a special recipe that gives it a fluffy inside with a tinge of sweetness in the mix. They must also know hospitality in Amman because after reading, I find that I not only have no find, but I was not the only one offered free bowls of lentil soup or complimentary glasses of mint tea.

    Can you trust me that the next great chow-wave starts just west of Harlem on Lawrence. Will it matter that, as far as I can tell, there are no heights in Harwood Heights? Unless we mean heights of food.
    Last edited by Vital Information on June 25th, 2012, 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #2 - June 25th, 2012, 7:41 am
    Post #2 - June 25th, 2012, 7:41 am Post #2 - June 25th, 2012, 7:41 am
    Is the middle eastern place you mention the one I briefly refer to in this post? I've been meaning to get over there but have been out of town for work so much lately . . . when I stopped in briefly last month to pick up a menu, it smelled great inside but haven't made it back.
  • Post #3 - June 25th, 2012, 7:42 am
    Post #3 - June 25th, 2012, 7:42 am Post #3 - June 25th, 2012, 7:42 am
    BR wrote:Is the middle eastern place you mention the one I briefly refer to in this post? I've been meaning to get over there but have been out of town for work so much lately . . . when I stopped in briefly last month to pick up a menu, it smelled great inside but haven't made it back.


    Yes.

    And to think the discovery could have been yours! :wink:
  • Post #4 - June 25th, 2012, 7:48 am
    Post #4 - June 25th, 2012, 7:48 am Post #4 - June 25th, 2012, 7:48 am
    Vital Information wrote:
    BR wrote:Is the middle eastern place you mention the one I briefly refer to in this post? I've been meaning to get over there but have been out of town for work so much lately . . . when I stopped in briefly last month to pick up a menu, it smelled great inside but haven't made it back.


    Yes.

    And to think the discovery could have been yours! :wink:

    Hey, if it aint the new New Bab al Salaam, I'll probably be thrilled, so I'm willing to forget the Ferris Bueller's friend's sister's boyfriend's uncle's daughter's cousin's recommendation. Alas, if I only Yelped loudly!
  • Post #5 - June 25th, 2012, 7:53 am
    Post #5 - June 25th, 2012, 7:53 am Post #5 - June 25th, 2012, 7:53 am
    BR wrote:
    Vital Information wrote:
    BR wrote:Is the middle eastern place you mention the one I briefly refer to in this post? I've been meaning to get over there but have been out of town for work so much lately . . . when I stopped in briefly last month to pick up a menu, it smelled great inside but haven't made it back.


    Yes.

    And to think the discovery could have been yours! :wink:

    Hey, if it aint the new New Bab al Salaam, I'll probably be thrilled, so I'm willing to forget the Ferris Bueller's friend's sister's boyfriend's uncle's daughter's cousin's recommendation. Alas, if I only Yelped loudly!


    I was really expecting our great Forum friend Albert to walk up and serve us!
  • Post #6 - June 25th, 2012, 7:56 am
    Post #6 - June 25th, 2012, 7:56 am Post #6 - June 25th, 2012, 7:56 am
    Vital Information wrote:
    BR wrote:Is the middle eastern place you mention the one I briefly refer to in this post? I've been meaning to get over there but have been out of town for work so much lately . . . when I stopped in briefly last month to pick up a menu, it smelled great inside but haven't made it back.


    Yes.

    And to think the discovery could have been yours! :wink:


    Does anyone care to post the address of this place? I can overlook the fact that you didn't post pictures :wink: , but the fact that you didn't post an address, well, that pretty much makes this a useless post. As it is, I had to read the post twice to figure out that you were talking about a restaurant.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #7 - June 25th, 2012, 4:43 pm
    Post #7 - June 25th, 2012, 4:43 pm Post #7 - June 25th, 2012, 4:43 pm
    Too meta? Yeah, maybe.
    “We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
  • Post #8 - June 25th, 2012, 4:55 pm
    Post #8 - June 25th, 2012, 4:55 pm Post #8 - June 25th, 2012, 4:55 pm
    "I fear that the Valley of Kings is now exhausted. There are no tombs left to be found."

    Theodore M. Davis, 1912
  • Post #9 - June 27th, 2012, 8:22 pm
    Post #9 - June 27th, 2012, 8:22 pm Post #9 - June 27th, 2012, 8:22 pm
    I leave near Harwood Heights and i always try to find different kinds of restaurants. I use groupon and stuff but they give me just the most popular ones.

    Brownhub is awesome at finding indian and southeast asian kind of restaurants. Definitely check it out.

    I guess Harwood Heights is just too small of a town to have a larger variety that they already to, but it's not bad!!!!
  • Post #10 - June 27th, 2012, 9:45 pm
    Post #10 - June 27th, 2012, 9:45 pm Post #10 - June 27th, 2012, 9:45 pm
    I may have mocked, but the quality and variety of Harwood Heights restaurants is not part of the mockery! :)
  • Post #11 - June 27th, 2012, 9:54 pm
    Post #11 - June 27th, 2012, 9:54 pm Post #11 - June 27th, 2012, 9:54 pm
    I might put together a new thread and more details when I have more time and sample some more of the fare, but tried Pita Alsharq for lunch today and was quite impressed - hot, crisp and beautifully light falafel, fried to order . . . a bit more herby than spicy, and overall very good. Baba ghanoush one of the best versions in recent memory - nice, smoky eggplant coupled with some pretty good olive oil and fresh pita (don't know from where, but if I read a portion of the bag correctly, somewhere on 63rd St.?). Chicken Shawarma decent, served in the thinner, tortilla-type bread. It wasn't the type of shawarma sandwich I'm used to, largely because of the dominance of curry . . . tasty, but not exactly what I was expecting. Comped mint tea and gracious service ensured that I will return.
  • Post #12 - June 28th, 2012, 3:21 pm
    Post #12 - June 28th, 2012, 3:21 pm Post #12 - June 28th, 2012, 3:21 pm
    I've seem to have prompted a certain amount of questions about Harwood Heights.

    Let me answer some.

    Yes.

    And the portions were big too.

    And you will want to visit Harwood Heights not just for Pita alSharq.

    I mean, it's not just Serbian but good Serbian at Dani's (at least based on one Serbian burger)

    And not just good Filipino at Max's Seafood but good Filipino (at least based on the concoctions off the steam table*).

    Harwood Heights is the next great restaurant destination.

    Anything else is for another time.

    * 1) a mix of pork, green beans, okra, shrimp paste that looked like maggots in a sweet and bitter sauce and 2) tripe, liver and other meats in a spicy broth with slices of banana pepper.
  • Post #13 - June 28th, 2012, 10:30 pm
    Post #13 - June 28th, 2012, 10:30 pm Post #13 - June 28th, 2012, 10:30 pm
    They also have a Denny's.

    If I never step in this place again, it'll be too soon, but my dad longs for the lamb shank at The Family Palace.
    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
    In the world of apples, Pink Lady runs the whorehouse. ~ James Napoli

    Late-Nite Eats Database
  • Post #14 - June 29th, 2012, 6:29 am
    Post #14 - June 29th, 2012, 6:29 am Post #14 - June 29th, 2012, 6:29 am
    Pie Lady wrote:They also have a Denny's.

    If I never step in this place again, it'll be too soon, but my dad longs for the lamb shank at The Family Palace.


    Dani's, Denny's, kinda similar. I'm hoping you try the Serbian burger; listen it's spelled pljeskavica, but do you think I have any idea how to say that? Say Serbian burger. I dare say, it may be a bit better than the burger at Denny's, although maybe better is rather subjective. Let's just say this one, also in Harwood Heights, is different yet quite tasty.

    Seems there's something for everybody in the Heights.
  • Post #15 - July 1st, 2012, 1:44 pm
    Post #15 - July 1st, 2012, 1:44 pm Post #15 - July 1st, 2012, 1:44 pm
    BR wrote:. . . and fresh pita (don't know from where, but if I read a portion of the bag correctly, somewhere on 63rd St.?)

    Probably the peerless pitas of Al-Watan, appropriately located in an ugly strip mall.

    Image

    Al-Watan Bakery (Pita Pocket)
    3326 W 63rd St
    Chicago
    773-737-2722
  • Post #16 - July 4th, 2012, 7:12 am
    Post #16 - July 4th, 2012, 7:12 am Post #16 - July 4th, 2012, 7:12 am
    One of these days, I'll post some of my pictures of the heights of chow of Harwood Heights. Then, you'll see. Then, you'll be sorry. In the meantime, I'm just gonna tell you about it. For I still wish this land of plenty on you.

    It has been asked, how does the Dani's of Harwood compare to the Denny's of Harwood. I replied that they both served burgers. I failed to reply that one comes with a menu easily understood (after all, we all know what "grand slam" means). The other, well the other is not only written in an odd language with excessive squiggly lines, but written in that Euro script that makes it even harder to decipher, and on top of that, sometimes they don't even write the whole name out on the wall board. In other words there's three levels of menu confusion to get past at that other place in Harwood. Still, some of the more adventuresome around here may want to try.

    Luckily, I dined recently with a man of many languages. A man gifted in the reading of Euro script. A man who knew that veal soup, teleca corba, is on the front page of the Serbian food wiki. Also, a man crazy enough (this is a crazy man to those that know him), to order soup on a 100 degree day. And what a perfect soup for a 100 degree day all rich with butter. I liked it well enough, but, sorry there's only so much I can appreciate veal soup this time of year. I liked even more, the other things we got. One was a grilled, skinny log of spicy sausage, and the other, a hodge-podge fry-up (emphasis on the fry) of red peppers, onions and chunks of meat. Great home made bread was there for the sopping. Listen, I cannot tell you exactly the names of those items, but the people behind Dani's (it turns out that Dani was the old owner) will run through the wall menu with you. Perhaps, there's even a grand slam breakfast on there. I mean, I may not know Serbian, but I did see "omlet."

    We were told that on the weekends they grill lambs and pigs. More reason to visit.

    Also, the sweets. Dani's runs a very full bakery too, and there are all sorts of Serbian pastries that surely mean something to someone, but to me, just mean they look very home-made. The only one I've tried so far is a fried stick of honey soaked pastry that is also very popular in Greek, Turkish and Middle-Eastern pastries. It is also evidence, as we were discussing, of the clear Ottoman influence in Serbian cuisine.

    Another reason for someone to hound the heights, obviously, is to see what it means to have the "freshest beef in town." So, I took one for the "team". Freshest beef comes from a place called Chi Town Beef at 7354 W. Lawrence. The very vivacious Euro proprietress of Chi Town beef explained that their beef was so fresh because they only put in the gravy after an order. See. OK, I'm very picky about beefs, and kinda spoiled having Johnnies in my backyard. I've had a lot worse. Jay's, also in the Heights, was worse on a beefathon, but I'm not sure Italian beef is what's making Harwood Heights the next great dining destination on LTHForum.com.
  • Post #17 - October 3rd, 2012, 3:40 pm
    Post #17 - October 3rd, 2012, 3:40 pm Post #17 - October 3rd, 2012, 3:40 pm
    Let me add my report.

    Joined VI for lunch at Dani's a while back and found the meal good, but not terribly wonderful. As is normal for this food, it was heavy as hell - meaty and starchy. Seasoning was reasonable, and everything seemed well prepared. But I am not a big fan of Serbian food.

    Also tried Pita Alsharq more recently. Pretty good felafel, with a very fresh hot sauce. Fattoush was good. Chicken/tomato Halaya was a good, savory stew. Did not try my friend's kefta kebab, though he did let me sample the accompanying lentil soup, grilled tomato, onion, and the rice. Quite good, and he finished all his kefta and pronounced himself quite happy. The complimentary mint tea is unsweetened, mint infused, black tea. Nice touch.

    Staff was friendly and attentive.

    I like Alsharq and will go back to sample some of the other Halaya variations.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #18 - April 4th, 2013, 7:56 am
    Post #18 - April 4th, 2013, 7:56 am Post #18 - April 4th, 2013, 7:56 am
    BR wrote:I might put together a new thread and more details when I have more time and sample some more of the fare, but tried Pita Alsharq for lunch today and was quite impressed - hot, crisp and beautifully light falafel, fried to order . . . a bit more herby than spicy, and overall very good.

    Fast forward several months to yesterday - falafel a disaster: dense, dry, not crisp and too lightly seasoned. Fattoush was just fine though, as long as you keep your expectations on the tomatoes used in check. But this place is doing nothing to ensure it goes in my regular dining rotation.
  • Post #19 - February 14th, 2015, 10:31 am
    Post #19 - February 14th, 2015, 10:31 am Post #19 - February 14th, 2015, 10:31 am
    Vital Information wrote:
    Pie Lady wrote:They also have a Denny's.

    If I never step in this place again, it'll be too soon, but my dad longs for the lamb shank at The Family Palace.


    Dani's, Denny's, kinda similar. I'm hoping you try the Serbian burger; listen it's spelled pljeskavica, but do you think I have any idea how to say that? Say Serbian burger. I dare say, it may be a bit better than the burger at Denny's, although maybe better is rather subjective. Let's just say this one, also in Harwood Heights, is different yet quite tasty.

    Seems there's something for everybody in the Heights.


    Dani's, Denny's do we only ever care about the falafel?

    Well, now it's now Nada's, although about all the bureks look the same. Menu's still all written in Serbian, although omlet and guylash are easy to figure out. Terrific bean soup with slabs of pork belly, only figured out based on visual examinations of soup trays. I'm anxious try more. I did come home with some spicy cheese spread.

    BTW, I am pretty sure the person cooking for me yesterday at Pita alSharq was who's cooked for me in the past. And he did a very serviceable job with the mensef, not as good as the mensef at Fattoush, but like I say, can you also get some mystery bean soup first when you go to Worth?

    With the nice re-love recently for Pita alSharq, let's not forget that Harwood Heights is greater than it's individual parts.
  • Post #20 - February 14th, 2015, 1:54 pm
    Post #20 - February 14th, 2015, 1:54 pm Post #20 - February 14th, 2015, 1:54 pm
    Vital Information wrote:the Serbian burger; listen it's spelled pljeskavica, but do you think I have any idea how to say that?

    IIRC, from my days living in Croatia, it's ples-ka-VITZ-a

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