Be prepared to have a messy meal at Wrigleyville's Lowcountry ( 3343 N. Clark St.; LowcountryChicago.com ). That's a good thing, by the way.
The culinary centerpiece of this place is the lowcountry boil, a melange of Southern goodness that incorporates seafood, spices and "add-ons" ( corn on the cob, red potatoes and/or andouille sausage ). Co-owner Pan Hompluem, who's married to co-owner/hostess Dana, told Windy City Times that he used to visit the Lowcountry area in South Carolina when he was growing up, and wanted to bring that vibe to Chicago.
Taking over the former Blokes & Birds space, the Hompluem have made a concerted effort to bring the atmosphere herealthough there are other influences here as well, such as the tasty banh mi ( although that sandwich is, sadly, on its way outto be replaced by boil accessories like cole slaw and biscuits ).
As for that boil, it's absolutely deliciousand so is the honey butter jalapeno cornbread. The garlic beignets didn't seem as magical to me, but my dining companion loved them. However, be sure to finish with the deep-fried Oreos ( something I feel everyone should try at least once ). And after all that Southern goodness, be sure to wash your hands in the trough at the center of the restaurant.
Osteria's truffle dinner
Osteria Langhe ( 2824 W. Armitage Ave.; OsteriaLanghe ) is a recently opened spot that faces the unenviable task of distinguishing itself from the approximately 72,000 other Italian restaurants in Chicago. ( OK: That number may be a slight exaggeration. )
However, Aldo Zaninotto ( who owns the space along with Chef Cameron Grant ) correctly and emphatically pointed out that northern Italian cuisine is different from that of the rest of Italy. ( Think of the differences between Southern and West Coast items in the United States. )
To that end, I recently went to a media event that showcased Osteria's truffle-inspired itemsand, judging from what I had, I'll be returning.There were sunny egg, tajarin, grilled piemontese culotte steak and panna cotta, each topped with white truffle goodness. ( Also, for those needing a quick truffle fix atop any favorite dish at Osteria Langhe, the restaurant will shave truffles table side for $15 per gram. )
Note: Restaurant profiles are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.