Led by chef Lee Ann Whippen, Chicago Q offers comfort food in an “urban” BBQ setting. Think a crisp mint julep and the Kentucky Derby in the city. I have some Chicago favorites for BBQ including Lillie’s Q and Smoque BBQ but Chicago Q is unique in that it not only servers great BBQ but the space is more upscale with beautiful wood, great natural light and impressive service. My eye was drawn to the over-sized photograph of a country road that was framed to look like you were looking out of a window. It left me wondering where that truck was going.
This review is long over due with my first visit in May 2011. I went back earlier this year and just last weekend for brunch. One my second visit I was waiting for the rest of the party to arrive so went to the bar and was served an 88 Pimm’s that was delicious. In addition to the drink the bartender sporting a gingham shirt also served up butter pickles and house made chips. I asked how the butter pickles were made but they were keeping that a secret. If I left only eating the pickles and chips I would have been happy.
Since I was hogging the pickles and chips my dinner partner ordered the BBQ shrimp and lemon infused the grits. I am not a huge shrimp fan but was assured they were good. Also not always into grits but I tried these and it was very flavorful. If you like grits you will like this dish.
I can never decide what to order at a BBQ restaurant so the Q2 (One Pulled Meat + Half Chicken or Half Slab) and Q3 (Two Pulled Meats + Half Chicken or Half Slab) are great options for a commitment phobe like me. They are also great for sharing/family style eating. The Q2 we ordered had the pulled pork and baby back half slab and cornbread and bruleed macaroni and cheese. The downside of having great sides is you might not have enough room for the entrée. The corn bread was served warm with sweet butter and very moist. The macaroni and cheese was rich and creamy and enough to satisfy three people.
The pulled pork was juicy, full of flavor and very tender. Next decision to make was which of the house-made sauces to use: original mild, spicy, Eastern North Carolina vinegar and South Carolina Mustard Sauce. All of the sauces were tasty with my favorites being the spicy and Eastern North Carolina.
The baby back ribs fell off the bone and the sauce was amazing. I did add some of the house-made sauces only because I like ribs drenched in sauce. As you can guess there was no room for dessert.
This past weekend I was looking for a place close to downtown to go for brunch and Chicago Q popped up. I had no idea they served brunch but was sure it would be as good as dinner. I was right. If you don’t like the descriptions below then know they have $5 mimosas.
I did not order this dish but had a bite and will be back to order one for myself, the smoked chicken eggs Benedict: honey butter cornbread topped with smoked chicken, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce and served with home fries. The picture does not do it justice but please believe me when I tell you this is one of my favorite eggs Benedict. The honey butter on the cornbread provided an unexpected sweetness to the smoked chicken. The chicken was juicy and flavorful. We all know that hollandaise sauce is fabulous so I don’t need to go into detail on that.
I ordered the Niman Ranch hickory & apple smoked bacon sausage breakfast sandwich topped with cheddar and two eggs. Served with mesclun greens. This sandwich is big enough for at least two people. It’s more of a high-end sausage hot dog.
After brunch I wandered upstairs and found a cozy hang out area with leather couches and a flat screen TV. There are also two private dining rooms.