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What's Great To Eat In Hyde Park? Not Much, Apparently

By Anthony Todd in Food on Sep 27, 2012 3:30PM

Ribs N' Bibs. Photo by Nick Kindelsperger.
Serious Eats doesn't pull its punches; that's one of the reasons we love them. But their latest neighborhood roundup, a review of Hyde Park dining, is likely to make some of its residents a bit angry. Denizens of that neighborhood seem to have an intense need to defend their life choices (read: they may insist Hyde Park is the greatest 'hood in any city in America) and the harsh words of Serious Eats: New York editor Max Falkowitz will probably get under their skin. That being said, we can't really disagree with most of his arguments.

Falkowitz's take doesn't start well for the neighborhood. "Now the food? Well, let's just say it's no accident that I cooked more and better in college than any time since." The iconic Medici? "I'm risking the ire of Chicago grads everywhere to tell you this, but frankly it's overpriced and not very good." The Thai food that Chicago guidebooks always say is the reason to go to Hyde Park? "Hyde Park's Thai food doesn't rise above sickly sweet pad Thai and uncomplicated coconut curries." Pizza? "There is no good to great pizza in Hyde Park, deep dish or otherwise." BBQ, as represented by the nearly-holy (and often on fire) Ribs N' Bibs? "Ribs N' Bibs doesn't hold a candle to other barbecue in the city, but the sweet, slightly smoky ribs will do in a pinch." We doubt the U of C admissions department will be promoting this article any time soon.

Here's the thing—he may be right. While we lived in the bubble that is Hyde Park, we thought some of this stuff was pretty good, and we still have a soft spot for the Medici, despite Falkowitz's scorn. But does it hold up to the rest of the city?

Check out the whole post for more, both good and bad. Some spots come out a bit better, and some (Z&H, Istria, Bonjour Bakery) are definitely worth a visit. In addition, Falkowitz nods to a burgeoning street food scene - and we must point out the upcoming addition of "The Promontory," the new spot from the team behind Longman and Eagle coming early next year and neighborhood mainstay La Petite Folie, generally acclaimed as excellent.