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Charlatan [graphic content]

Charlatan [graphic content]
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  • Charlatan [graphic content]

    Post #1 - October 19th, 2015, 3:16 am
    Post #1 - October 19th, 2015, 3:16 am Post #1 - October 19th, 2015, 3:16 am
    Prior to today, I only knew pig heads from Sokodé street vendors:

    Image

    While I can't say that its man-bun-donning hipsters serving kale pasta alongside pig heads necessarily improved my appreciation of the delicacy, Charlatan is still a reasonably-priced, hip, and often delicious hangout. Even though both the decor (sunglasses wearing taxidermy) and the room were loud, the room still managed to be intimate.

    Highlight of the night - grilled octopus. One of the most tender, smoky, and well dressed versions I've ever had. Highly recommended. The Black Pepper Rigatoni was a surprise hit - the tomatoes acidity and the pepper's spiciness, balanced atop perfectly al dente pasta.

    The Black Kale Spaghetti reminded me that I always overestimate how exciting kale actually is. Focaccia and grilled scallions were fine, if not a bit pedestrian.

    The pig head was suggested "for 2." We had 6 people and wanted 2 orders. By the time we placed the order, the server informed us that 1 of the only 2 available orders for the night was just sold. When it came out - as the finale that it deserves to be - we were taken by how impossibly huge it was. I will pay to watch 2 people finish this dish.

    Beneath the crispy, but not suckling-pig crispy, skin were thick layers of fat and tender meat. Personally I felt it was lacking enough spices or charred-ness to cut through the fattiness - lard is great when it plays off other strong flavors. The drippings-dipped focaccia and corn were heavenly.

    Image

    Alas, unlike the Togolese butchers, Charlatan did not serve us the brains.

    Charlatan
    1329 W Chicago Ave
    Chicago, IL 60642
    (312) 818-2073
  • Post #2 - October 19th, 2015, 7:46 am
    Post #2 - October 19th, 2015, 7:46 am Post #2 - October 19th, 2015, 7:46 am
    so glad you started a thread on Charalatan, Mrs Willie & I went last night for dinner.
    bernard wrote:Highlight of the night - grilled octopus. One of the most tender, smoky, and well dressed versions I've ever had. Highly recommended. The Black Pepper Rigatoni was a surprise hit - the tomatoes acidity and the pepper's spiciness, balanced atop perfectly al dente pasta.

    We too REALLY enjoyed the Black Pepper Rigatoni as well as the Smoked Spaghetti Carbonara (w/pork belly).

    Based on your description of the grilled octopus I guess we should have ordered that which was our toss up starter, that or the pate of the day. Mrs Willie & I are chicken liver lovers & the pate of the day was chicken liver. We enjoyed this pate, dense consistency and served with a hollow bread of crust only (picture a blown up pita, browned in the oven).

    I noticed they had pisco on their drink menu so we had pisco sours.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #3 - October 17th, 2016, 7:29 am
    Post #3 - October 17th, 2016, 7:29 am Post #3 - October 17th, 2016, 7:29 am
    Charlatan was featured on Check Please recently. Mrs Willie & I went for pre-theatre dinner last night.

    Beef Tartare - good quality beef, a few too many black olives for my taste but Mrs Willie was thrilled with it.

    1/2 order of Black Pepper Rigatoni w/ground wild boar - lots of black pepper taste, pasta cooked perfectly.

    Split the Grilled Pork Collar w/cornbread puree, peach chow-chow, roasted peppers, ruby streaks. This was one of the best entrees we've had this year. Amazing flavors.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #4 - October 17th, 2016, 9:09 am
    Post #4 - October 17th, 2016, 9:09 am Post #4 - October 17th, 2016, 9:09 am
    Sweet Willie wrote:Split the Grilled Pork Collar w/cornbread puree, peach chow-chow, roasted peppers, ruby streaks. This was one of the best entrees we've had this year. Amazing flavors.


    Sounds really interesting. Could you describe the texture of the cornbread puree? And what are "ruby streaks"?
  • Post #5 - October 17th, 2016, 10:09 am
    Post #5 - October 17th, 2016, 10:09 am Post #5 - October 17th, 2016, 10:09 am
    cornbread puree was very creamy, almost a whipped texture. Ruby Streaks are a bitter green leaf, I think I've seen them described as a mustard green.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #6 - September 11th, 2017, 7:20 am
    Post #6 - September 11th, 2017, 7:20 am Post #6 - September 11th, 2017, 7:20 am
    Charlatan continues to put on some great pasta.

    Last night Mrs Willie & I split 3 half orders: Black Pepper Rigatoni, Pork Belly Carbonara, the daily bolognese was smoked paprika.

    We really enjoyed all 3.

    While bottles of wine are 50% off on Sunday evenings, we chose a cocktail.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #7 - September 12th, 2017, 3:41 pm
    Post #7 - September 12th, 2017, 3:41 pm Post #7 - September 12th, 2017, 3:41 pm
    Glad to hear this. The chef has moved on and both of the owners have left the state. I love the place but had more or less ruled it out -- I'll have to make it a point to return soon.

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