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SAVOR Taste of North Bridge; Mercado; Epic's brat
DISH Dining Guide
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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On Sept. 12, Windy City Times was part of Taste of North Bridge—a mini-sojourn that encompassed four spots in the area of The Shops at North Bridge: Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab; Eddie V's; Doc B's; and Lao Sze Chuan.

Joe's ( 60 E. Grand Ave.; ) is known precisely for the items in its name—including selections of wet- and dry-aged prime beef—but this restaurant offers much more ( e.g., fried chicken, sockeye salmon and Havana dream pie ). Options that attendees sampled ranged from lamb chops to key-lime tarts. Everything tasted great, but I look forward to giving this grand place ( which can seat up to 460 people ) a more extensive profile in the near future.

Eddie V's Prime Seafood ( 521 N. Rush St.; ) also offers steak and seafood, but it definitely has its own vibe. The restaurant's atmosphere is dark and stately—almost sultry—and our group enjoyed a band that played some very cool tunes that had people singing and gyrating. The food deserves a sizable following on its own, thanks to items like the loaded seafood towers.

The third stop was contemporary American spot Doc B's Restaurant + Bar ( 55 E. Grand St.; ). Named after founder/president Craig Bernstein's late father, "Doctor B," Doc B's definitely has something for everyone—and all the dishes we tried were done very well, from the various chicken dishes ( including the trendy Nashville hot chicken ) to the Faroe Island salmon "wok out" bowl to various sandwiches/salads/burgers.

The last, and certainly not least, restaurant destination was Lao Sze Chuan ( the food court at 520 N. Michigan Ave.; ). There are dozens of dishes at this spot ( so if you're the indecisive type, check out the menu online before visiting )—and there's something for every adventure level. ( Sea cucumber, anyone? ) The laughing bird shrimp and the Peking duck were absolutely wonderful, as well as the bubble tea—one of which was personalized with our group photo on top.

Checking out Mercado

For Chicagoans, traveling to the suburbs can trigger everything from eye rolls to possibly allergic reactions. However, here's something that may get Chicagoans out to the suburbs.

Mercado Cocina + Cantina ( 2300 Lehigh Ave., Glenview; ) is an authentic Mexican restaurant that a friend introduced me to—and the spot deserves many accolades. ( Also, something that may lure city residents to this spot is that it's right off a Metra stop. )

And when I state the food is authentic, I mean that Executive Chef Yanni Sanchez ( who specializes in nouveau Mexican cuisine ) makes everything from scratch—including seasonal guacamoles, moles and salsa.

Lunch at the chef-driven spot was a delightful experience. By all means, start with the blueberry-hibiscus aqua fresca ( practically addictive ). The fish taco ( with sea bass ) was delightful, and Fabianita's flautas ( crispy chipotle-potato filled spring roll, salsa verde, basil, mint, romaine leaves, queso fresco and creme fraiche ) were absolutely delicious. Other recommendations include the Chicken Milanese sorta and the ginger-and-peaches salad.

So if you find yourself near Glenview ( or if you're feeling adventurous enough ), try Mercado. Odds are you won't regret it.

Epic brats

Some people react to the whole Beyond Meat phenomenon much like others react about the suburbs. ( See above. ) However, I'm here to tell you that the Beyond Brat at Epic Burger ( several locations; ) is surprising—in a very good way.

Epic Burger was the first fast-casual burger restaurant in Chicago to debut Beyond Meat, with the introduction of the Beyond Burger in 2018. And it seems like the bratwurst is a successful second step for the chain. Unlike pork sausage ( and the taste resembles this ), it contains no nitrates or antibiotics, and has no GMOs, soy, or gluten.

Of course, Epic has other delicious options, such as the turkey burger or the shakes ( the latter of which has variations such as Nutella or Strawberry Shortcake ). However, the brat is another tasty choice for customers—and it's only around for a limited time ( until about Halloween ).

Note: Restaurant profiles/events are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.

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