SUMMER OF THE DRAGON
A new River North restaurant serves up far-out fusion
When it comes to fusion cooking, there’s nothing more tempting to chefs than to mash together the statement-making flavors of Asia with the rich comforts of American cuisine.
But what we like about Dragon Ranch--a restaurant opened in River North this month by the team behind Rockit Bar & Grill, Sunda and the Underground nightclub--is that it does the East-meets-West thing without pretension. This is barbecue with chopsticks on the table, y’all. And those tables are a clever cross between picnic-in-the-park and bento-box chic.
If there’s one thing on the menu that exemplifies this aim, it’s the dragon egg ($12), a soft-poached duck egg wrapped in spicy sausage, then panko-crusted and served over greens dressed in a puckery Chinese mustard vinaigrette.
There are also the traditional meats we crave--tender smoky brisket, pulled pork and spare ribs--and they’re served alongside American-Asian Brussels sprouts or red-cabbage coleslaw.
Wash it all down with some moonshine, of which the entire cocktail list is composed. (The Honey Bunny, $12, made with white whiskey, Campari, egg white, apple juice, raspberries and lemon, isn’t as innocent as it sounds.)
You’ll be breathing fire in no time.
Dragon Ranch, 441 N. Clark St.; 312-955-1900 or dragonranch.com