Lamb naan roll, Sidecar, the Long Room
Speaking of bar food
, ever since Lakeview's Long Room opened its kitchen, Sidecar, this summer, I've been wondering if slinger
consumption has taken a hit across the street at the Diner Grill
. Late night the little window to the side of the barroom has been manned by chefs Kyle Schrage and Jim Torres, calling themselves Beard & Belly. They're putting out exactly the sort of cheesy, palliative drunk food you head for when you leave a bar, and it's good enough that people might just stay put instead of heading across Irving Park Road to get fixed: pickled eggs, burgers, fries, chili-cheese fries, poutine, and something called a poutinewich. The burgers, draped with melted butterkase, are moderately sized, and aren't smothered in a bunch of nonsense. The fries are crispy and hand-cut, and the chili, while a bit sweet and tomatoey, really comes into its own in the chili-mac—floral campanelle pasta, smothered in gooey cheese-curd sauce ($8).
But the Long Room becomes a completely difference scene beginning at 7 AM, when chef Zeeshan Shah takes over Sidecar as Biscuit Man, doing biscuit sandwiches for breakfast, and rice bowls and naan rolls for lunch. In the bright shining light of day the bar seems like a different place altogether, a quiet, sun-dappled spot with WiFi and Counter Culture Coffee; it's in no way an unexpected place to come across a bite as vibrant and thrilling as the roasted lamb roll. I'm not sure why Shah, who's also been cooking Indian food for the Long Room's rotating weekend brunch pop-ups under the name Bombay Breakdown, calls this thing a roll, since it's essentially a piece of warm naan piled with pulled, braised curried lamb blanketed with pickled beets, watermelon radishes, jalapeños, tart raita, and cilantro, with a side of curry-spiced plantain chips. But I suppose there's no other way to tackle this terrific $10 lunch than to roll it up and push it into your hole.
Sidecar at the Long Room, 1612 W. Irving Park, 773-665-4500, longroomchicago.com/sidecar-at-lr.