Best Vegetarian Imitation of a Meat-Centric Dish

Ground Control's jibarito

Critics' Picks

You don't need to skip out on certain Chicago cuisine just because you prefer seitan to pulled pork. Meatless versions of Italian beef subs and Chicago dogs are readily available at spots like Native Foods, the Chicago Diner, and even Hot Doug's sausage emporium. But the best vegetarian rendition of a meaty classic can be found at Ground Control, the cozy all-veg spot that opened a little over seven months ago in Logan Square. The jibarito, said to have been born at Humboldt Park's Borinquen, is a Puerto Rican-inspired sandwich featuring flattened, fried green plantains in place of bread, typically loaded with garlic mayonnaise, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and your choice of meat. Ground Control makes that last choice simple for vegetarians. They stuff a tangy blend of tender seitan and poblanos between the greasy but crisp plantains. It's an unwieldy sandwich at times—layering melted cheese and moist seitan within an oily, nonporous framework most often means a mess—but getting it all over the place is at least some of the fun.