After an unusually quiet winter, Chicago has been getting dumped on fairly consistently for the last few weeks.
Naturally, seeing as I am an adventurous person by nature (guys, stop laughing), I haven’t let the snow hinder my social life…too much. I mean, everything within reason. So long as I don’t have to deal with off-loading my car on unplowed streets or trekking half a mile across sidewalks covered in knee-high slush.
So when a few friends and I decided to venture out to try a new restaurant this week, we narrowed down the options to locations that were relatively easy in-easy out.
Enter: The Monkey’s Paw.
Here’s a true story: about two years ago, I lived literally three doors down from this place. At the time, it was a closed Mexican restaurant with boarded-up windows. While there were a handful of restaurants and bars nearby, I always wished that there was something open on that location – the Mi Casa Su Casa sign taunted me daily. Of course, I move out of the neighborhood and this new, fantastic restaurant opens up. Go figure!
Alright, back to the meal at hand. A little background: The Monkey’s Paw is an entirely scratch kitchen (they even make their ketchup in-house) with a seasonal, farm-to-table menu. My friends and I opted to sit at the bar, which has very cool circular extensions built into it so that groups can sit at the bar and still see each other, and were treated to a very knowledgeable bartender, a complimentary hot toddy from one of the owners (who had apparently simply made an extra for another group- still a nice gesture) and a fantastic meal.
The menu is designed so that everything can be shared, though that is not necessarily or mandatory by any means. In that spirit, we started with the spicy, crispy eggplant for the table.
I’m not usually one to order eggplant as I can generally take it or leave it, but this dish had been recommended to me by Alison and we were not disappointed. By the time the bartender came back to see if we were enjoying the dish, we had essentially licked the plate clean.
To follow, we all opted to order the 8 oz burger. Yep, all three of us ordered the same thing. We’re really special like that.
Apologies for the dark photo in advance.
The photo obviously does this burger no justice. The cheese was excellent and the fig spread really rounded out all of the flavors. Fig spread is just always a good choice – a bold statement, but I stand by it.
There are several other dishes that I want to try (notably the market flatbread and the bone-in shortribs) so I’ll have to make sure I make another trip out before the seasons (and therefore menu) change.
Guess that means I’m stuck sludging through the snow for now.
Bottom line: if you’re in west Lincoln Park, definitely give this restaurant a try!