Mike Sula has nothing against street food. On the contrary—that's why he's a bit affronted by a full-service restaurant pairing wines to "elevated street food" in a city historically hostile to its eloteros, fruteros, and tamaleros, not to mention food trucks
. And much of what's on the menu at the Peasantry
, Alex Brunacci's Lincoln Park follow-up to Franks 'n' Dawgs
, bears just a passing resemblance to street fare: elotes are shucked and precariously piled with chicharron, hazelnuts, and blue cheese; "gyros" are served on roti and in addition to being fancy (octopus, pork belly) have sweet, fruity garnishes that tip them out of balance. Burgers—among them a coriander-spiced duck and a patty of hanger steak and marrow—hew more closely to their classic forms, and, he finds, are all the more successful for their restraint, something the triple truffle fries would benefit from as well.
In Cocktail Challenge, Nahm Kim of Sunda (and now Dragon Ranch Moonshine & BBQ) tried to "bury" his ingredient, shrimp paste, by playing sweet, nutty, and high-voltane elements against it in the Shoot to Krill, a caramelly manhattan made with Booker's and scented with a rinse of Frangelico.
Next up is Allison Hagio of the Paramount Room, working with . . . "Spam!? That's why it's called a challenge I guess!" she said via e-mail.