Chicago restaurants know how important it can be to warm their customers to the marrow, said Jennifer Tanaka in Chicago. Until the spring sun is ready to do its part, the city seems to specialize in hot “slurpy” dishes. Below are four bowls of warm comfort that are well worth finding.
Belly Shack Order hot-and-sour soup here and enjoy a unique translation of a Mexican tortilla soup. Starting with a “gently piquant” Japanese broth, chef Bill Kim adds crunchy bean sprouts, “tender hominy,” and “ribbons of scrambled egg.” 1912 N. Western Ave., (773) 252-1414
Big Jones It doesn’t take much to jump a black roux to a burned one, and Big Jones “dances right up to the edge” of that line with its “dark and stormy” chicken and andouille gumbo, which is served on buttered Arkansas rice. 5347 N. Clark St., (773) 275-5725
GT Fish & Oyster Served in individual Mason jars, chef Giuseppe Tentori’s outstanding clam chowder is “smoky and complex—not at all the stuff of your average New England fry shack.” Purists may quibble, especially about whether the potatoes belong. We say, “More for us.” 531 N. Wells St., (312) 929-3501
Laschet’s Inn We’re told that this low-key German tavern makes a popular sauerbraten and a nice spaetzle. But we keep coming back for the goulash, with its spicy, tender chunks of beef. 2119 W. Irving Park Rd., (773) 478-7915