The best food happens when a reverence for tradition meets an intelligent bold streak.
That?s why we were hooked on X-Marx--the underground dinner series by life-and-food partners Abraham Conlon and Adrienne Lo--where we learned to love Sichuan pepper-laced noodles that numbed and burned our taste buds. (Conlon and Lo are also behind the addictive Mama's Nuts.)
Now the duo has gone legit with Fat Rice, a small Chinese-Portuguese restaurant with a big kitchen in Logan Square. Expect little pretense: Seating is communal, reservations are nil and the wine list numbers exactly six options by the glass (all about $7).
Low lighting and closed blinds make the open kitchen--with its gleaming hoods and woks--the main attraction. To find out why, start with anything pickled from the top of the menu (carrot, cabbage, peanut, cauliflower and more; $4 each). Then order the pork-and-shrimp pot stickers, which are familiar but airier than what you?re used to thanks to their crepe-like execution ($10).
The fragrant cauliflower clay pot ($18) with pumpkin, long bean and okra is comfort in a bowl, and the simple fat noodle with mushroom and egg ($14)--pay attention to the moment of crunch--is among the most satisfying dishes we've tried.
The waiter will say you?re supposed to share that one. Don?t.
Fat Rice, 2957 W. Diversey Pkwy.; 773-661-9170 or eatfatrice.com