Hyde Park & Kenwood Issue: Restaurants | Restaurant Review | Chicago Reader

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Hyde Park & Kenwood Issue: Restaurants

The Medici, Valois, Park 52, Backstory Cafe, and more

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Kikuya Service at this restaurant is cheerful and welcoming, and the food is just fine. The menu includes the standard lineup of appetizers, dozens of maki, and several dinner combos. BYO; delivery available.  Lunch Sun, Tue-Sat; dinner daily, 1601 E. 55th, 773-667-3727, kikyuaonline.com. $$ —LLS

Shinju Sushi Ambitious and upscale for Hyde Park, this BYO sushi place offers fusiony appetizers like deep-fried scallops and bacon with mixed greens and balsamic or a "pizza" of seafood pancake topped with spicy mayo and eel sauce. Vegetarians will find plenty of options, including nine vegetable maki rolls. In addition to the standard sashimi and nigiri, makimono and specialty maki, teriyaki, and bento boxes, Shinju offers grilled beef, chicken, or salmon with a "secret special BBQ sauce" and an ear of corn on the cob. An all-you-can-eat buffet is $14.99 from 11 AM to 3 PM and $20.99 thereafter. BYO; delivery available.   Lunch, dinner daily, 1375 E. 53rd, 773-966-6669, shinjusushi.com. $$ —KS

The SitDown Cafe & Sushi Bar An odd mix of Japanese and Italian food, with a long list of sushi and maki, design-it-yourself thin-crust pizzas, and martinis in addition to beer and wine. There's prosciutto and melon, there's shrimp tempura, and the four soups are chicken-rice, pasta y fagiole, miso, and jambalaya. Delivery available. Lunch, dinner daily, 1312 E. 53rd, 773-324-3700, thesitdown53.com. $$


Cafe Corea Mandoo (dumplings), pajun (Korean-style scallion pancake), and egg rolls are a few of the starters at this Hyde Park mom-and-pop, and items included in a $7.95 lunch deal range from tofu dishes to noodle soups. For dinner, choose from Korean mainstays like bulgogi (thinly sliced marinated beef), kimchi pork, kalbi (thinly crosscut beef short ribs), and chap chae (shredded vegetables with buckwheat noodles). BYO. Lunch, dinner Mon-Sat, 1603 E. 55th, 773-288-1795. $ —LLS


Maravillas Maravillas may have been displaced from Harper Court, but the food at its new location remains authentic—there's posole, chicken mole poblano, and menudo—and still attracts a regular clientele. Carrot and orange juices are fresh squeezed, fruit shakes are topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon, and the Coke is Mexican too. Delivery available.   Breakfast, lunch, dinner daily, open till 2 Thu-Sat, 1 Sun, 11 Mon-Wed, 5506 S. Lake Park, 773-643-3155. $ —HG

Middle Eastern

Cedars Mediterranean Kitchen This Lebanese restaurant offers the usual fare—marinated chicken kebabs, falafel, and hummus to spread on unusually good pita—in generous portions. BYO. Lunch, dinner daily, 1206 E. 53rd, 773-324-6227. $ —LLS

Nile Restaurant A favorite among U. of C. professors and students for its simple, hearty meals. Start with stuffed grape leaves, a refreshing tabbouleh salad, and creamy hummus squeezed with lemon and dotted with garlic. A combination platter lets you taste four intensely seasoned dishes: filet mignon kebabs, chicken shawarma, shish taouk (marinated and charbroiled chicken), and kifta kebabs made of seasoned ground lamb. All dishes come with soup or salad, warm pita, and yellow rice. There are usually several fish specials, like whole red snapper or salmon kebabs. Great prices, good quality, ample quantity. BYO; delivery available. Lunch, dinner daily, 1611 E. 55th, 773-324-9499. $ —LLS


Noodles Etc. Despite the generic name, it's not part of a chain. The pan-Asian menu features standards (spring rolls, pot stickers, satay) plus a few innovations like wasabi-flavored shumai (dumplings) and deep-fried vegetable croquettes made of a mashed mixture of potatoes, onions, peas, and carrots and served with sweet-and-sour sauce. Extensive noodle options include udon soups, Vietnamese vermicelli soup, lo mein, lad nar, and Filipino pancit (rice noodles with barbecue pork, egg, cabbage, carrots, and green onions). In one room customers can pull up a stool and watch the kitchen action. BYO. Lunch, dinner daily, 1333 E. 57th, 773-684-2801, noodlesetc.com. $ —HG


Cholie's Pizza Oriented especially to the student crowd—high school and college—and to bar patrons at the Falcon Inn next door, Cholie's serves slices, thin-crust and stuffed pizza, and fries in addition to pasta, chicken, ribs, burgers, and shrimp baskets (you can also get shrimp on a pie). BYO; delivery available.  Lunch, dinner daily, open till 11 nightly, 1601 E. 53rd, 773-684-8688. $

Edwardo's Natural Pizza This chain was born out of the health-food craze of the 80s, but don't be discouraged (or encouraged) by the word natural—Edwardo's no longer offers much out of the ordinary in terms of toppings or ingredients. Franchised in the late 90s, the chain still offers pies and Italian entrees at reasonable prices. The stuffed pizza tends toward the greasy side, but the blend of spices and sauce is delicious. The $6.95 lunch special, which includes a small stuffed pizza, salad, and pop, is a favorite for those with hearty appetites, although service can be quite slow. BYO; delivery available.  Lunch, dinner daily, open till 11 Fri-Sat, 1321 E. 57th, 773-241-7960, edwardos.com. $ —LLS

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