Staff Picks: the Best Dishes We Ate in January

| January 31, 2018 | Food & Drink

From unbeatable bacon to impressive panzanella, we kicked off 2018 in seriously delicious style.

Roasted Carrots at The Press Room (1134 W. Washington Blvd.)


Photo by Max Braverman/courtesy of Press Room

Everything that came out of the kitchen on my recent visit to this West Loop newcomer was memorable, from roasted lamb to exquisitely simple confit potatoes, but these carrots were the star. Accented with za'atar yogurt, smoked feta, spiced honey and toasted hazelnuts, this dish hit every note imaginable from creamy and tangy to sweet, savory and crunchy. Sensational. —J.P. Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, @jpanders

House-Flared Thick-Cut Bacon at Prime & Provisions (222 N. LaSalle Dr.)


Photo courtesy of Prime & Provisions

#Chiberia is tailor-made for hunkering down over meaty cuts of, well, meat, and DineAmic's luxe Loop steakhouse plates a more-than-worthy rasher with seven ounces of Creekstone Farms-sourced U.S.D.A. Prime Beef accented by a maple chili and chocolate drizzle. It's a sweet and savory reminder that summer bod is still many mouth-watering meals away. —Stephen Ostrowski, @quinoa_boy

Panzanella at Cafe Robey (2018 W. North Ave.)


Photo courtesy of Cafe Robey

During wintery months, all I want is food that is warm and cozy; I eat soup just about every day from September through April, and chilly salad is firmly exiled until beach season. Thankfully, the new panzanella at Cafe Robey satisfies my seasonal craving in spades. Crisp cubes of fried sourdough form the base of the Tuscan dish along with roasted Brussels sprouts. Pickled red cabbage and apple layer in a nice bite, and the dish is drizzled with a tasty butternut squash vinaigrette. At $11, the flavor-packed starter is so good, it’s worth braving the cold for a taste. —Ariel Cheung, Dining Editor, CS Magazine, @arielfab

Braised Kale & Gruyere Empanadas at El Che Bar (845 W. Washington Blvd.)


Photography courtesy of El Che Bar

These South American pastries may appear at the onset like an everyday empanada, but make no mistake about it — each bite is an experience in and of itself. Hand-rolled and cooked asado-style on the restaurant's wood and coal-fired grill, these pockets are brimming with flavor, thanks to a hearty filling of braised kale and rich, nutty gruyere cheese. Enjoy them barside with a fiery cocktail in-hand — namely the Hunter's Harvest (with vodka, German amaro, fire roasted pineapple, and lime).—Nicole Schnitzler, Online Contributor, @writetoeat

The Reuben at The Berghoff (17 W. Adams St.)


Photo by Alex Shebar

Sometimes, the oldest spots can still surprise you with new eats. This year, The Berghoff celebrates their 120th anniversary; an insane accomplishment, and yet, I had never visited their casual lunch-counter cafe below the main restaurant. I had a quick and delightful meal there in the middle of the day. The standout dish is obviously their famous Reuben sandwich, but (and I tell you this with all honesty), they also make a seriously delicious bowl of poke. Yes, I'm as surprised as you are—but that doesn't negate the fact that it was top-notch. Check it out. —Alex Shebar, Online Contributor, @alexshebar

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