CHSO October 2016 : Page 118

FOOD & DR INK the spot A bustling stretch of Logan Square gets a smart new addition in Giant, a little restaurant with big flavors. By David Zivan // Photography by Anthony Tahlier BIG TIME One evening late this past summer, a lively party of four had a table by the front window of Giant, the charming and compact restaurant located along the stretch of Armitage Avenue near Kedzie Boulevard at the southwest edge of the Logan Square neighborhood. The group was composed largely of servers from Alinea, the world-renowned temple of gastronomy, enjoying an evening off. You may draw your own conclusions, but one seems clear: Giant is fun, stylishly casual and serving up the kind of eclectic, delicious fare even the pros are willing to pay for. Take, for instance, the Super Uni Shooter, a tiny fried adventure, accompanied by a miniature cucumber vinaigrette salad, which seemed to be on everyone’s table at some point throughout the evening. It’s a fun one-mouthful course, but its preparation is flawless, taming the urchin into a compact creamy ball. Similarly simple, and similarly ubiquitous, is A Little Biscuit, which is in fact what arrives, accompanied by a jalapeno butter. Diners beware: The temptation to order more after you devour the first delivery will be strong and can potentially spoil your supper. Have the Jonah crab salad early on: a scoop of delicate, lightly sauced crab salad comes with a pungent cocktail sauce and a tumble of waffle fries. Marinated zucchini is a brightly flavored “pile of deliciousness,” as one of my companions put it, topped with queso fresco and sprinkled with pumpkin seeds. These are all relatively small plates, and a steady stream of shared dishes, coursed by the smart servers, is the way to go. But don’t neglect the mains. Pastas, cooked to slightly firm, are a must, including the amusingly named Sortallini, which comes with a light tomato broth, guanciale, basil and pine nuts. A swordfish steak, accompanied by giardiniera, aioli and little fried clams, dazzles in its perfect presentation. SMALL PLEASURES Clockwise from top: A beautifully balanced Sortallini with tomatoes, guanciale, basil and peanuts; the intimate space has just the right amount of buzz; the Jonah crab salad (at top) arrives with puffy waffle fries and cocktail sauce, while a sweet and sour eggplant with cashew and pancetta is a favorite among the vegetable dishes. GIANT 3209 W. Armitage Ave. 773.252.0997 giantrestaurant. com Open for dinner Tue.-Sat. SPOT CHECK Super Uni Shooter.......$5 Sortallini......$16 Swordfish .......$19 The room is small without feeling tight, with whitewashed brick and parquet wood walls. Two vertical record players from local maker Gramovox spin a wide variety of tunes, from subdued hip-hop to Steely Dan. The space is presided over by partners Ben Lustbader, whose résumé includes Publican Quality Meats and Lula Cafe; chef Jason Vincent, formerly of Nightwood, who somehow makes all these unrelated dishes cohere into a satisfying dining experience; and the ever-dapper Josh Perlman, who will be a familiar face to Avec fans. His tightly edited offerings are a blast. A recommended 2014 Cuvée 11.9 from Broc Cellars ($60) was a versatile, food-friendly syrah. But as with all else here, you can hardly go wrong. 118 CS O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6

The Spot

David Zivan

BIG TIME
SMALL PLEASURES



A beautifully balanced Sortallini with tomatoes, guanciale, basil and peanuts

A bustling stretch of Logan Square gets a smart new addition in Giant, a little restaurant with big flavors.



The Jonah crab salad (at top) arrives with puffy waffle fries and cocktail sauce, while a sweet and sour eggplant with cashew and pancetta is a favorite among the vegetable dishes.

One evening late this past summer, a lively party of four had a table by the front window of Giant, the charming and compact restaurant located along the stretch of Armitage Avenue near Kedzie Boulevard at the southwest edge of the Logan Square neighborhood. The group was composed largely of servers from Alinea, the world-renowned temple of gastronomy, enjoying an evening off. You may draw your own conclusions, but one seems clear: Giant is fun, stylishly casual and serving up the kind of eclectic, delicious fare even the pros are willing to pay for.

Take, for instance, the Super Uni Shooter, a tiny fried adventure, accompanied by a miniature cucumber vinaigrette salad, which seemed to be on everyone’s table at some point throughout the evening. It’s a fun one-mouthful course, but its preparation is flawless, taming the urchin into a compact creamy ball. Similarly simple, and similarly ubiquitous, is A Little Biscuit, which is in fact what arrives, accompanied by a jalapeno butter. Diners beware: The temptation to order more after you devour the first delivery will be strong and can potentially spoil your supper. Have the Jonah crab salad early on: a scoop of delicate, lightly sauced crab salad comes with a pungent cocktail sauce and a tumble of waffle fries. Marinated zucchini is a brightly flavored “pile of deliciousness,” as one of my companions put it, topped with queso fresco and sprinkled with pumpkin seeds.

These are all relatively small plates, and a steady stream of shared dishes, coursed by the smart servers, is the way to go. But don’t neglect the mains. Pastas, cooked to slightly firm, are a must, including the amusingly named Sortallini, which comes with a light tomato broth, guanciale, basil and pine nuts. A swordfish steak, accompanied by giardiniera, aioli and little fried clams, dazzles in its perfect presentation.

The room is small without feeling tight, with whitewashed brick and parquet wood walls. Two vertical record players from local maker Gramovox spin a wide variety of tunes, from subdued hip-hop to Steely Dan. The space is presided over by partners Ben Lustbader, whose résumé includes Publican Quality Meats and Lula Cafe; chef Jason Vincent, formerly of Nightwood, who somehow makes all these unrelated dishes cohere into a satisfying dining experience; and the ever-dapper Josh Perlman, who will be a familiar face to Avec fans. His tightly edited offerings are a blast. A recommended 2014 Cuvée 11. 9 from Broc Cellars ($60) was a versatile, food-friendly syrah. But as with all else here, you can hardly go wrong.


GIANT

3209 W. Armitage Ave.

773.252.0997

giantrestaurant. com

Open for dinner Tue.-Sat.

SPOT CHECK

Super Uni Shooter.......$5

Sortallini......$16

Swordfish .......$19



The intimate space has just the right amount of buzz

Read the full article at http://digital.modernluxury.com/article/The+Spot/2593710/341459/article.html.

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