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North Side Review: Dodo

By Laura Oppenheimer in Food on Jun 7, 2007 8:30PM

One of Chicagoist's favorite brunch spots in the city is Dodo, so when a little birdie (i.e. a sign on their window) informed us that Dodo would start serving dinner on June 4, we had to stop by. So we did, on June 5. Clearly a restaurant that has only been open a few days will have its weaknesses, but like a cicada to a big ol' tree in the suburbs, we couldn't stay away.

Dodo dinner had a decidedly more somber tone than brunches we've tried there. The patrons were mellower, the music was softer and tea lights on the tables gave the small space a romantic vibe. The menu was small — extremely small — with only four entrees to choose from. Prices were also a little steeper than we were expecting, with $13 being the average price.

Chicagoist was pleasantly surprised when the server brought out a plate of crostini for us to try. Who knows if everyone will get the VIP treatment or if it was a first-few-days-of-business thing, but the salty toasts and creamy white bean and lemon puree were perfectly suited for each other.

We skipped the appetizers, which looked standard with the exception of a red pepper gazpacho, and went straight for the main courses. We ordered a seared chicken breast over herbed spaetzle and brussels sprouts and our date for the evening tried their "burrito," and interesting seiten and vegetable medley wrapped in a swiss chard leaf.
The chicken breast came butterflied, and was on the tougher/drier side. Not inedibly so, but not cooked in a way that plays to the breast's strenghts. The spaetzle and brussels sprouts, on the other hand, were heavenly. The mild flavor of the tender little noodles mixed with the wonderfully cooked sprouts created a base for the chicken that was ten times better than the meat it was supposed to be highlighting.

Onto the "burrito," whose filling was an fragrant mixture of seitan, roasted vegetables, raisins and a mysterious seasoning that reminded us of Christmas. It came served on top of a white bean puree that was delicious, but seemed a little extraneous. Still, we enjoyed the unusual flavors of the burrito, as well as its unusual presentation.

Dodo's dessert offerings all looked delicious, but we decided to try to mango kulfi with mango and raspberry sauces. The sauces were tart and sweet, all at the same time, and the presentation was spot on, but the texture of the kulfi was on the icier side. Even so, it didn't stop of from eating every last bite.

Our meal at Dodo wasn't spectacular, but there were a few bright spots, most notably the crostini and spaetzle. We have a feeling that with a little time, Dodo dinner will be just as fabulous as Dodo breakunch.

Dodo is open Mon-Fri, 7 a.m.-3p.m., weekends 8 a.m.-3 p.m. (breakunch only), and weeknights (M-F) 5pm-9pm. It is located at 935 N. Damen avenue 773-772-dodo. BYOB and cash-only.