Frankly, I wasn’t expecting too much when my friend Sibbing told me that she was having her birthday dinner at LOkal, a spot in Wicker Park that I was interested to try, but wasn’t on my rather large list of must-go restaurants. I have to preface this entry by saying that boy was I wrong not to have it included on said list.
The place is a modern little spot in Wicker Park with questionable art, but a cool vibe nonetheless. Our waitress was extremely helpful and pleasant, especially as our group was too lazy to pick what we wanted and asked the chef to throw at us whatever he wanted (not very customary, but they obliged us very well.)
Our first course was an arugula salad with chopped beats, corn, and a kind of balsamic dressing, and I kid you not when I say it is the best salad I’ve had in a long time. It takes a lot to make a salad that amazes me, and everyone at the table licked their plates clean. Next was by far the best course: a perfectly seared scallop on top of cheesy risotto with asparagus. Again, I licked my plate clean in about 2 minutes, as the flavors were outstanding. If you go to LOkal, you MUST get this dish.
Beef tenderloin was our main course, and the sauce was so good that I even ate the mushrooms that came with it. And I hate slimy mushrooms usually. Yuck. It is a fine testament to a restaurant when I eat the mushrooms because the dish is so good. Finally, we had a chocolate ganache with strawberries and the lightest whip cream I’ve ever had. Again, all food on plate gone.
Friends, you HAVE to go to LOkal. Amazing food, at extremely reasonable prices, and right in the heart of one of Chicago’s best neighborhoods. I am shocked and appalled this place has not gotten more press and attention, because it certainly more than deserves it. Go with the fam, with the significant other, or a group. You will not be disappointed.