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Vittles In The Year 4704

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jan 27, 2006 8:23PM

2006_01_4703.jpgFor those of you who've wanted to visit Chinatown this weekend might be just the time. The Year of the Dog is upon us and that means that the annual Chinese New Year Parade strolls up Wentworth with its Chinese dragons, marching bands, and politicians glad-handing the parade watchers (we're placing even money on whether Jim Oberweis shows up trying to buy potential votes with milk).

There's plenty of places to catch a quick bite before or after the parade, and Chinatown has something for everyone. maybe you like Chinese barbecue, or Szechuan-style cooking. Maybe you have a hankering for Mandarin cuisine. Most of you will want to take in some dim sum (or as we call it, "Chinese tapas"). Of course we have some suggestions for you- after the jump- but the best way to find something you like is to walk around and see what catches your attention.

If you don't want to veer too far away from the parade route Wentworth is full of options. Won Kow (2237 S. Wentworth, 312-842-7500) serves dim sum daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.. The rest of the menu runs from standard dishes on any Chinese restaurant menu to more exotic fare (shark fin dumplings, steamed duck feet). The kitchen window at Seven Treasures Cantonese Restaurant (2312 S. Wentworth, 312-225-2668, with a second location at 2138 S. Archer, 312-808-9962) is often lined with roasted ducks hanging on hooks waiting to be carved and served. This is a great place to order some Hong Kong style barbecue, and their dumplnigs are among the most succulent in the neighborhood.

Penang (2201 S. Wentworth, 312-326-6888) is the most eclectic of all the restaurants in Chinatown, with a menu that touches upon most of the nations in the Pacific Rim. From wonton to sushi, noodles to barbecue, if you want it Penang can probably make it. A favorite here is the mee goreng fried noodles. Noodles lovers can go to Joy Yee's Noodle Shop (2159A S. China Place, 312-328-0001) but be prepared for a long wait- they'll help you kill the time with a carry-out kiosk serving a wide array of bubble and milk teas. If Joy Yee isn't on your radar, head to The Noodle (2336 S. Wentworth, 312-674-1168). They serve quite possibly the best Vietnamese style noodles not found on Argyle Street.

Everyone raves about the dumplings at Phoenix (2131 S. Archer, 312-328-1205), but we've never had our socks knocked off by them. However if you get a table near the front of the restaurant you get a great view of the downtown skyline and the Chinatown bustle. Still, some Sundays the line runs around Archer onto Wentworth, so if you use that as a gauge for good food, go right ahead. Great szechuan cuisine and hot pot (!!!) can be found across the street at Lao Sze Chuan (2172 S. Archer, 312-326-5040). This place had a wait to get in before it was profiled on "Check Please" last week.