Saturday, October 6, 2007

Hot Chocolate

1747 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 489-1747



Back in a big way this week, with one of the best burgers I've had in a while, a sleeper right under my own nose: Bucktown's Hot Chocolate, owned and operated by renowned local pastry chef Mindy Segal. Hot Chocolate's been open for three years, and I think it's safe to say that they're known primarily for desserts (which are great). Dinner gets respect on LTH, but I can only speak to the burger...and what a burger it is.

Started the night off with a Manhattan, only because it was listed on the menu, implying that it was a specialty. I ordered it up and received it in a rocks glass. When I sent it back, it came back so quickly that I think it's pretty likely that it was strained and dumped in a martini glass. I've been having an argument with a friend about whether this is acceptable: he says I couldn't have told the difference, and then implies something anti-Semitic with his eyes. Regardless, I thought it was a little weak.



By the way, I just bought a new lens for my camera. Feel free to tell me it's worthwhile.

HC's standard burger ($13) is actually a bacon-and-cheddar burger; the only condiment choice you're asked to make is whether or not you want a $2 "farm egg" on top. That's too much, but I did. Adam displayed restraint.







For some reason, Adam's burger came cut in half, and mine didn't; whatever.

This is a great sandwich. The bun was probably the highlight: it's thick and brioche-y, with the classic "everything" mix of poppy and sesame seeds on top, and it was nicely grilled to provide some fortress against serious ingredients. The cheese was sharp and oily enough to let you know that you were eating real cheese, not something designed for melting. Crispy, thick bacon, and a completely functional egg. The patty was fine, but it really kind of sank into the background, which was absolutely fine, since everything else was so good. The effect was not unlike eating a burger topped with a breakfast sandwich. You could do worse.

Sorrowfully, we must deduct points for chips instead of fries, expertly cooked though they were. Our stance was articulated by Adam: chips are a cop-out. They're not as good as fries; excellent , ready-to-eat chips are available in stores everywhere; and it's a kitchen decision that sacrifices overall goodness for being "different" in the minorest way possible. We're against it.

That slaw you see was actually really great. I wasn't really paying attention, but I think it was just red cabbage, white cabbage, and carrots in a light seasoned mayo.



Don't tell my cardiologist.

You kind of have to get dessert here, so we did. Adam's is a little brownie with a little chocolate shake:



Man in the mirror.

and I got this chocolate cake with a mint-Oreo milkshake shot. It was great but ridiculous; I couldn't finish it (although the desserts come in really pretty reasonable sizes).



Verdict: best place to take a date and have a burger. Do I smell another theme issue, Time Out?

9 comments:

Evan said...

That all looks seriously good. You never take me out anymore, Nat.

eric said...

those "eyes" left a $3 tip on a $33 bill

Rachel said...

Sometimes I wish I weren't a vegetarian.

erik said...

"Our stance was articulated by Adam: chips are a cop-out. They're not as good as fries; excellent , ready-to-eat chips are available in stores everywhere; and it's a kitchen decision that sacrifices overall goodness for being "different" in the minorest way possible. We're against it."


Q: What is the traditional potato accompaniment at a backyard burger cookout?

A: Potato chips (and/or potato salad).

So, Mindy Segal refuses to tow the line for the modern fast food establishment?

Good for her.

;)

E.M.

Andrew said...

Dude, Manhattans are supposed to be served in rocks glasses. It's not a martini.

NG said...

Andrew, I can't agree with such generalities. :) A well-made martini on the rocks? Nothing finer.

Ryan said...

The burger wasn't cut because of the egg.

marksteuer said...

Its Mark and Mindy from hotchocolate, just wanted to let everyone know that we agree about the fries, but due to our lack of space and a second deep fryer,(mindy is very protective of her donuts) they are an impossibilty at this point. However a hotchocolate burger joint is in the works, so all you french fry fans just wait and see whats coming...

Apolonio Miranda said...

This place is perfect.. I celebrated my wedding anniversary here and I have to say it was an unforgettable experience. I love Hot Chocolate.
generic viagra

Blog Archive

eXTReMe Tracker