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Chicagoist Salutes National Vegan Month: Amitabul

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Nov 17, 2008 5:15PM

Back in our days living on the North Side the former Jim's Grill on Irving Park was a Saturday ritual for us and scores of others trying remove the fuzz from the night before. Owner Dave Choi would hold court, offering not only tasty food but nutritional advice and testimonials to the benefits of a vegan diet. One such exchange between us involved Choi asking for us to take a couple slices from a steak, place it in a beaker and let it sit out in the open for a week. "The way it rots in that beaker? That's what it's doing inside you," Choi said. We did the experiment and came back a week later. Choi asked how it went. "You were right," we said, "but the rest of that steak was so tasty coming off the grill."

Amitabul, Choi's Korean vegan restaurant, opened on Southport in the mid-90's. Rising lease rates forced a move to the restaurant's current location in Norwood Park (near Superdawg) a couple years later. The move has served Choi well; he has a dedicated clientele who hang on his every word and the menu is nearly identical in cost and taste to what we remember back in the day. You can't go wrong at Amitabul with the dry pancakes or any of Choi's soups, especially the "cure-all" soup which came in handy yesterday.

Amitabul, 6207 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-774-0276. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.