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  • Analogue

    Post #1 - February 11th, 2015, 4:24 pm
    Post #1 - February 11th, 2015, 4:24 pm Post #1 - February 11th, 2015, 4:24 pm
    On a miserable, cold, snowy night last February I was due to meet my cousin at a new restaurant opened by a friend of theirs, a chef she an her then fiancé (now husband) adored, Chef Alfredo Nogu­iera. Her fiancé, a born and bread New Orleans boy, had started enjoying Fredo's cooking at the Flipside in Humbolt Park where he cooked his NOLA dishes during the winter when the Italian ice business was shut down.

    I was coming from West Rogers park just as an evening snowstorm hit and it took me almost 90 minutes to get to Logan Square, I was not in a good mood when I arrived. My cousin was also the only customer due to the weather, but I quickly warmed up with a house manhattan and settled into enjoy Fredo's first set menu dinner. I don't remember my first course, but I noticed the main was turducken, a dish I'd never been that fond of and I sighed inwardly hoping everything else would be good. Turns out what I didn't like was every bad version of this dish I'd had before, this version was a revelation. Moist, each bird cooked perfectly, but with it's own flavor subtly merging to make a glorious dish. I didn't take notes and I know the rest of the meal was equally as good, but its that memory of my first good bite of turducken the stands out for me.

    Fredo came out to talk to us as he knew my cousin and we were still only one of three tables at this point. We had a nice discussion of food and homemade bitters, which are used to make their purls (bitters and beer). I drove home thinking I'd just had on of the best meals of the year and it was only February.

    Turns out I've had many more amazing meals there this year. My lovely cousin and her fiancé had their rehearsal dinner there in August. I'm still thinking about that bounty, but her father who hate grits still tells us how much he loved the mashed potatoes he had and refuses to believe that what he enjoyed so much were grits (they were grits). I've gone for their fried chicken Tuesdays so often at this point that I know the regulars, in fact I believe I'm one at this point.

    The food continues to satisfy on a deep level, the smoked fish dip is my favorite starter and has been praised by ronnie_suburban
    The Smoked Fish Dip really hit the spot. I loved the pronounced smokiness and overall flavor of the dip. Keeping simple by serving it with saltines and hot sauce was sensible and clever in its own way.
    The scotch egg is one of the best versions around as BR will attest to
    The Scott, Louisiana egg was another stunner to me. Yes, the exterior was nice and crisp. Yes, the boudin (house-made by the way) was terrific. But then the perfectly cooked egg, the mustard and just the combination of flavors left me speechless. This might have been the best scotch egg I've tried.
    The dirty rice however, might be actually life altering. I came in on a Tuesday fried chicken night to find Da Beef seated at the bar, from his online postings I thought he was still in Spain, but he said no, he's just arrived back home and stopped in for some dirty rice to go as he's been craving it
    Dirty rice was undoubtedly great and indeed dirty, meaning made with chopped livers and giblets and I believe some pork sausage is in there as well. So good I got an order to go.
    Thats the power of Analogue's dirty rice and I haven't event discussed that they have the best fried chicken in Chicago. The crunchy coating hides dark meat that hasn't been over brined, a huge complaint of mine there days, the biscuit is both substantial and light at the same time. I could go on, but stop by and try it for yourself.

    I haven't mentioned the bar program run by two Violet Hour veterans. jordanhojo says
    Loved our cocktails, and the fact that even though they're making top notch drinks, they make them without flair or pretense.
    I feel comfortable just sitting by myself at the bar, having a drink and an appetizer and watching the energy of this place. It deserves GNR status, it's truely what a great neighborhood place should be.
    For what we choose is what we are. He should not miss this second opportunity to re-create himself with food. Jim Crace "The Devil's Larder"
  • Post #2 - February 11th, 2015, 5:24 pm
    Post #2 - February 11th, 2015, 5:24 pm Post #2 - February 11th, 2015, 5:24 pm
    My favorite new restaurant in Chi!

    I would have nominated this myself, though I am friends with the house.

    A quote from my blog:
    "I didn’t think my favorite restau­rant of the year would be a cock­tail bar in Logan Square, but their laid back cool and unapolo­getic stuntin in the kitchen at Ana­logue would fit right in New Orleans."

    One of the best new places to open ~that feels neighborhoody~ in a neighborhood jammed pack with action and flux.
    Yes Analogue for GNR, YES!
  • Post #3 - February 11th, 2015, 9:26 pm
    Post #3 - February 11th, 2015, 9:26 pm Post #3 - February 11th, 2015, 9:26 pm
    Hell yes.
  • Post #4 - February 11th, 2015, 11:33 pm
    Post #4 - February 11th, 2015, 11:33 pm Post #4 - February 11th, 2015, 11:33 pm
    My favorite new restaurant as well. Actually, in my top 5 restaurants in town, period. GNR for sure!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #5 - February 12th, 2015, 10:58 am
    Post #5 - February 12th, 2015, 10:58 am Post #5 - February 12th, 2015, 10:58 am
    I live within walking distance of Analogue as well as many other restaurants. Whenever I'm thinking about where to go, however, I want to go to Analogue before anything else.

    The biscuits are the best I've had in town. Ditto for the fried chicken. The smoked fish dip is a de rigueur order and a perfect balance between cream, smoke, and fish. House made hot sauces are great. Every cocktail I've sampled is good or better.

    I love everything about the chicken sandwich down to the dagger through its heart. In fact, that's how I'd feel if Analogue closed. Sounds like a GNR to me.
  • Post #6 - February 12th, 2015, 11:29 am
    Post #6 - February 12th, 2015, 11:29 am Post #6 - February 12th, 2015, 11:29 am
    Most impressive to me: Analogue would be among the top new bars and restaurants if it were in New Orleans, based on my experience eating at the best new bars and restaurants in NOLA in 2014. That's saying something -- and not because Chicago's restaurants are below par compared to New Orleans (the 2 cities share a lot of similarity in their high quality street food, booze, modestly-priced "ethnic" food, and casual fine dining, something I heard from NOLA people too). I'm impressed because New Orleans mostly does one cuisine, broadly defined, often does it great, and that one cuisine rarely if ever translates outside of Louisiana and its immediate neighbors, no matter how hard one tries. Which is too bad, since it might be America's only true indigenous cuisine, as opposed to a group of regional dishes: a consistent, comprehensive, recognizable philosophy or culture of food and cooking. Analogue impressed me the way a hypothetical great Mexican restaurant in Manhattan might. Analogue single-handedly restored my belief in Cajun/Creole/NOLA as a viable cuisine outside La. Or maybe it established that belief. Put another way comparing great little restaurants, as terrific as Fat Rice is standing on the merits of its food, I have no clue whether it would be considered a great Macanese restaurant in Macau. I think Analogue would be embraced as a NOLA place and a really good one down there.
  • Post #7 - February 12th, 2015, 2:47 pm
    Post #7 - February 12th, 2015, 2:47 pm Post #7 - February 12th, 2015, 2:47 pm
    oh hell yeah
  • Post #8 - February 12th, 2015, 3:53 pm
    Post #8 - February 12th, 2015, 3:53 pm Post #8 - February 12th, 2015, 3:53 pm
    I agree with all the praise that's been posted above. Analogue is special from end to end. The food and beverages are spectacular. The vibe is comfortable and the service is friendly.

    As I posted on the main thread, I lived in New Orleans for a couple of years and when I first tasted Fredo's food, it immediately brought me back to my time in there. My brief stint in NOLA certainly makes me no expert on this cuisine but the experience at Analogue is an emotional one and I think that's why it resonates so strongly with me. I connects me with something that is not only unique in Chicago and excellent in its own right, but also meaningful to me personally.

    Bar-wise, the cocktail program reminds me a lot of vintage Violet Hour. The drinks are bold, bright, boozy and intense. They're drinks for bartenders, which happens to be great news for anyone who sidles up at Analogue. I almost always choose a drink that incorporates the largest number of ingredients I don't normally care for and it invariably comes up a winner. Cocktail roulette!

    Over the past year Analogue has become one of my very favorite spots and I'm thrilled to support this excellent nomination!

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #9 - February 12th, 2015, 4:05 pm
    Post #9 - February 12th, 2015, 4:05 pm Post #9 - February 12th, 2015, 4:05 pm
    Have had nothing but excellent food and times here. Yes.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #10 - February 12th, 2015, 10:27 pm
    Post #10 - February 12th, 2015, 10:27 pm Post #10 - February 12th, 2015, 10:27 pm
    Definitely support this nomination. Analogue is a great spot for awesome food and a welcome addition to the neighborhood. The fried chicken is some of the best in the city and the dirty rice is something special.
  • Post #11 - February 27th, 2015, 7:54 am
    Post #11 - February 27th, 2015, 7:54 am Post #11 - February 27th, 2015, 7:54 am
    Ronnie said it best in the Parachute thread "[Analogue is] one of the two best Chicago restaurant openings in 2014". After my first trip I immediately started looking for reasons to return. The cocktail program is one of the most creative in town, particularly in the realm of cocktails that use beer as an ingredient. The food is made with skill and balance, a noteworthy feat for cajun-inspired bar food. Definitely a GNR in my book.
  • Post #12 - March 1st, 2015, 4:03 pm
    Post #12 - March 1st, 2015, 4:03 pm Post #12 - March 1st, 2015, 4:03 pm
    I support this nomination. Both visits to Analogue for me involved wonderful food and excellent cocktails.
    -Mary
  • Post #13 - March 2nd, 2015, 1:41 am
    Post #13 - March 2nd, 2015, 1:41 am Post #13 - March 2nd, 2015, 1:41 am
    Analogue is definitely on the top of my list for 2015. In fact I loved it so much that I even tried to recreate their dirty rice and fish dip this year for thanksgiving. They have the best fried chicken in the city! Service and vibe have always been comfortable. Even when they're busy I've never felt rushed. Once the server and/or bartender sent out a free fishbowl cocktail (in a literal fish bowl) because there was a birthday at our table.
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #14 - March 2nd, 2015, 8:13 am
    Post #14 - March 2nd, 2015, 8:13 am Post #14 - March 2nd, 2015, 8:13 am
    True story about the visit from the airport. After two weeks in Spain I really needed something with some heat and the dirty rice from here is one of the spiciest bites in the city. I think Analogue has filled a much needed void in the immediate city limits as far as good Nola style cooking goes, I don't know if it'd be one of my favorite restaurants in New Orleans but its been one of my favorite to open this year in Chicago. One small beef before I give my support. The use of farm raised Indiana shrimp at a New Orleans themed bar is the equivalent to the use of a Philadelphia brand wiener at a Chicago hot dog stand, you just don't do it. On top of that it really is tasteless. Other than that I like what they do over here.
  • Post #15 - March 2nd, 2015, 9:09 am
    Post #15 - March 2nd, 2015, 9:09 am Post #15 - March 2nd, 2015, 9:09 am
    Da Beef wrote:One small beef before I give my support. The use of farm raised Indiana shrimp at a New Orleans themed bar is the equivalent to the use of a Philadelphia brand wiener at a Chicago hot dog stand, you just don't do it. On top of that it really is tasteless. Other than that I like what they do over here.


    Last time I dined there, Fredo was sourcing head on gulf shrimp for the BBQ shrimp and they were about the most succulent, delicious crustaceans I can remember eating in Chicago. I also appreciate his commitment to sustainable seafood, for better or worse. I think its a conversation worth having.
  • Post #16 - March 2nd, 2015, 1:01 pm
    Post #16 - March 2nd, 2015, 1:01 pm Post #16 - March 2nd, 2015, 1:01 pm
    Jefe wrote:
    Da Beef wrote:One small beef before I give my support. The use of farm raised Indiana shrimp at a New Orleans themed bar is the equivalent to the use of a Philadelphia brand wiener at a Chicago hot dog stand, you just don't do it. On top of that it really is tasteless. Other than that I like what they do over here.


    Last time I dined there, Fredo was sourcing head on gulf shrimp for the BBQ shrimp and they were about the most succulent, delicious crustaceans I can remember eating in Chicago. I also appreciate his commitment to sustainable seafood, for better or worse. I think its a conversation worth having.


    Thats a step up. I don't have any problems with being committed to sustainable seafood but wild caught Louisiana gulf shrimp isn't in any danger, with the exception of oil spills. There is the debate about the use TEDs when fishing for it but that's for another discussion. Of course it can be a little bit harder to secure up here and will cost more so I get it. I just choose not to order dishes with it when I see them on menus. Might as well use tilapia, taste the same.
  • Post #17 - March 2nd, 2015, 1:22 pm
    Post #17 - March 2nd, 2015, 1:22 pm Post #17 - March 2nd, 2015, 1:22 pm
    I too really hated that Indiana shrimp, not only was it tasteless it was mealy to boot. However, in the spirit of fairness and staying on topic, that did not even come to mind when considering Analogue for a GNR. In my eyes it was one tiny misstep, and it's hard to blame them. In the moment that Indiana shrimp was trendy and they probably had reason to believe it would taste good when they ordered it for the special. I'm glad to hear that they stopped using it. Analogue still one of the top GNR nominations of the year!
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #18 - March 2nd, 2015, 2:14 pm
    Post #18 - March 2nd, 2015, 2:14 pm Post #18 - March 2nd, 2015, 2:14 pm
    I've personally never tried these offensive Hoosier shrimp.

    On their website, it cross-references my most recent experience with the gulf shrimp.

    And unless they are coming from Louisiana and you don't mind endangering that state's sea turtle population, they are sustainable.
  • Post #19 - March 2nd, 2015, 2:31 pm
    Post #19 - March 2nd, 2015, 2:31 pm Post #19 - March 2nd, 2015, 2:31 pm
    I took so many friends and acquaintances here last year and everyone loved this place. I went a dozen+ times and it is still on my short list of spots to go. Great Nom!
  • Post #20 - March 2nd, 2015, 2:32 pm
    Post #20 - March 2nd, 2015, 2:32 pm Post #20 - March 2nd, 2015, 2:32 pm
    Jefe wrote:I've personally never tried these offensive Hoosier shrimp.

    On their website, it cross-references my most recent experience with the gulf shrimp.

    And unless they are coming from Louisiana and you don't mind endangering that state's sea turtle population, they are sustainable.


    Yep that's where the use of TED's comes in. The shrimp themselves aren't endangered but turtles and other by-catch do get caught in the nets. I think Louisiana should be enforcing the use of them but cant pretend I avoid eating Louisiana seafood. All thats for another discussion. I support the nomination, just pointing out something I had a qualm with which I learned is now fixed. Glad to hear it.
  • Post #21 - March 15th, 2015, 2:40 am
    Post #21 - March 15th, 2015, 2:40 am Post #21 - March 15th, 2015, 2:40 am
    Terrific nomination.

    Analogue for GNR, yes please!
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #22 - March 15th, 2015, 1:56 pm
    Post #22 - March 15th, 2015, 1:56 pm Post #22 - March 15th, 2015, 1:56 pm
    Had an outstanding meal last night at Analogue. Everything was so good, it's hard to pick highlights (but I'll try).

    Catfish sandwich special was great. Hot, crispy, breaded fillet was served on buttery toast with a bright, citrusy slaw. Also worth mentioning were the stuffed mirliton, whole roasted trout stuffed with lemon and herbs, and the super-spicy jambalaya. Each bite was better than the last. I also thought my cocktail was quite good (What's the Rush: Very Old Barton Bonded Bourbon, lemon, black tea honey).

    These folks are operating at a very high level. Definitely a GNR in my book.

    --Rich
    I don't know what you think about dinner, but there must be a relation between the breakfast and the happiness. --Cemal Süreyya
  • Post #23 - March 16th, 2015, 11:05 am
    Post #23 - March 16th, 2015, 11:05 am Post #23 - March 16th, 2015, 11:05 am
    I dont know about GNR...

    Ive been a couple times,

    Dirty rice is a special dish -

    Service has been inattentive to bad on a couple visits. I also had the single worst Manhattan of my life there(beat out the previous winner Duseks) -

    Good spot, but way down the list of places i hit when in the city.
    R.I.P. jimswside - 5/2/16



    @GrubSeeker
  • Post #24 - March 16th, 2015, 8:57 pm
    Post #24 - March 16th, 2015, 8:57 pm Post #24 - March 16th, 2015, 8:57 pm
    Even when I can't manage to rustle up a dining companion, I don't mind bellying up to the bar at Analogue all alone and ordering the two items there that I constantly crave: fish dip and dirty rice. Washed down with a Versus the Volcano (a mezcal-based cocktail that is no longer on the menu, but they will graciously make it if I ask) and paired with a friendly chat with the bartender, it is a really nice meal. Analogue is absolutely a GNR in my book.

    p.s. Full disclosure: I am the one who got a fishbowl cocktail on my birthday, and I only jokingly, and probably rather snarkily, asked for it. Be careful what you wish for! They are super nice people at Analogue.
    The meal isn't over when I'm full; the meal is over when I hate myself. - Louis C.K.

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