Last night I had the pleasure of dining at The Duck Inn in Chicago, on the border of the Bridgeport and Pilsen neighborhoods.
The Duck Inn is a friendly neighborhood gastro-tavern serving up some fun dishes in a cozy atmosphere.
I first heard of this restaurant from an Uber driver who said it was his most favorite place in the city. Since it sounded like he dined out quite frequently, I had to try The Duck Inn.
We didn’t have a problem making a reservation for a table for two on Open Table on Friday night. When we arrived at 8:10 for our 8:30 reservation, we were seated right away. It was still crowded, but enough free spots to accommodate our earliness.
We decided to sit outside on the patio, which felt like we were hanging out in our favorite neighbor’s backyard. They had tiki torches lining the patio, a nice garden at the back, and string lights above us.
The Duck Inn’s service was on-point. We had a very nice waitress who answered all our questions and made great recommendations.
Since it was fairly warm outside, we went with a bottle of Rose to enjoy and cool us down a bit. Their drinks menu had amazing cocktail and beer choices, so I’ll definitely dive into those when I go back. It seemed as though everyone around us were going for the cocktails.
It was tough to determine which dishes we wanted because everything sounded equally tasty. We may have overdone it with 4 plates to share, but when you’re hungry and you’re staring down a delicious menu, you make some impulse decisions.
First the fried cheese curds and brussels sprouts graced us with their presence.
The fried cheese curds were topped with hoppy mayo and were sitting on a bed of bloody mary ketchup. These two dipping sauces were an amazing fit for the gooey, warm, crispy curds.
The brussels sprouts were the perfect amount of seasoned with kung fu dressing. Both portions were HUGE and I was almost stuffed after eating these two appetizers.
But of course I kept trucking right along. Next up on our order was the spaghetti and snails. This was definitely a choice made by my boyfriend, but I was down to try it. This $19 dish was made up of homemade black garlic pasta (yummy), burgundy snails, porcini, and nasturtium. He loved it, but I wouldn’t order it for myself.
Next up was a total surprise – a BONUS, compliments of the chef – duck fat dog. This is one of the menu items they’re known for, so I was super happy to try it. This dog was unlike any other Chicago style dog I’ve had. It was huge, flavorful, and juicy. My stomach was getting more full by the second, but I couldn’t stop eating!
Since the dog was a bonus, we still had one more dish. I know, it’s kind of crazy how much two people can eat, but it was so worth it. We had to order their version of the Spanish octopus, another food my boyfriend is obsessed with. We thought it didn’t get any better than the octopus we had at Beso in San Francisco, but The Duck Inn did it right! It was accompanied by black walnut romesco, cucumber, ink aioli, and meyer lemon. Not only did it taste good, but it was very pretty to look at too. And if you thought we were done there, you thought wrong. We looked at a dessert menu just because we were curious, and of course had no intention of ordering another plate. But when I saw the chocolate beignets with peanut butter, dulce leche, and banana ganache, I couldn’t resist. This is all my favorite things on one plate. I loved it!
I give my experience and the food at The Duck Inn a 9.5/10! They hold ‘Fried Chicken Tuesdays,’ ‘Thursday Luaus’ on the last Thursday of every month, AND ‘Backyard Pizza Nights’ every second Wednesday.
Even though this restaurant is off the beaten path, I will totally be back again before the summer ends to enjoy The Duck Inn’s patio, food, and quality service.
What’s your favorite ‘off the beaten path’ restaurant in Chicago?