KICK ignites a passion for heat at a recent Chef’s Table

Our most recent Chef’s Table event introduced 25 lucky foodies to the spicy food at KICK Restaurant. In a recent review, I explored some of the wonderful options at this new hot spot (pun intended), and the Chef’s Table gave me a chance to sample even more of their eclectic and impressive menu.

KICK is located at 1943 W. Byron Street (just south of Irving Park, between Damen and Lincoln). The menu features a fusion of spicy flavors (garlic, ginger, wasabi, cumin, garam masala, hot mustard, cayenne, cilantro) combined into intriguing dishes that explore world cuisine. The uniting element is the hint of heat infused into every dish. Rest assured, if you or someone in your party have an aversion to overly-hot foods, KICK can accommodate that request. A few of the items cannot be modified, but most can be adjusted to the appropriate spice level. As I mentioned in my original review, I am not a fan of hot spice but I ended up loving this restaurant.

At our recent Chef’s Table event, guests were treated to samples of both the craft cocktail menu and a variety of the restaurant’s signature dishes. The menu consisted of the following:

  • Ragin’ Chicken Rolls (caramelized onions, pepper jack, sriracha honey mustard) – Like so many things on the menu, this tasty appetizer balances the heat with something sweet, in this case a wonderful dipping sauce.
  • Vietnamese Steak Wraps (garlic-lime cilantro and jalapeno-marinated ribeye, Bibb lettuce) – The heat level on these is minimal if you stay away from the chili peppers. I gave mine to a friend who loves that extra punch, and she was ecstatic. The Bibb lettuce wraps are a bit messy, but worth the trouble.
  • KICK’n Chicken Salad Sandwich (apples, cranberries, celery, white onions, signature mayo, kaiser roll) – Think “traditional chicken salad sandwich” with a punch of mysterious heat. Again, the sweetness of the fruit balanced out the heat and made the sandwich one of my favorite bites of the evening.
  • FireFries – Yes! Who can resist freshly-prepared fries with a spicy rub? Even the most timid eaters loved these fries.
  • Green Chili Pork Stew (braised pork shoulder, chile pepper blend, tomatillos, hominy, lime, tortilla chips) – The intensely flavorful pork stew won my award as ‘favorite’ of the night. Everything about this dish was excellent – the huge quantity of pork, the blend of flavors, the exploration of textures, and the spice level. The house-made tortilla chips are addictive. This dish appears on the brunch menu as Chilaquiles with the addition of an egg. I will go back just for that!
  • Smoldering Chocolate Cake (cayenne chocolate mousse, raspberry coulis, raspberry leather, cocoa nibs) – Even the dessert has a bit of a kick to it, and it was superb. The bitterness of the cocoa nibs and the tiny hint of cayenne provided a great offset to the sweetness of the dark chocolate cake.

For beverages, we sampled two of KICK’s unique craft cocktails:

  • KICK’n and Scream’n (El Destilador Blanco Tequila, Chile de Arbol-infused honey, lime, ginger beer) – This one is a perfect summertime “patio sipper.” The little bit of heat from the Chile de Arbol-infused honey balances well with the tart lime and makes the KICK’n and Sream’n dangerously easy to drink.
  • Strawberry Smash (Oppidan gin, strawberry, cucumber, lime, soda, Sprite) – I assumed this cocktail would be too sweet, but it was perfectly combined to bring out all of the layers of flavor. Another dangerously easy to drink “patio sipper” type of cocktails.

KICK also has a small but funky and well-curated wine list. At the Chef’s Table we sampled Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc (a superb New Zealand wine that blows Kim Crawford away), and one of my favorite South African wines, the False Bay Pinotage – an intense, earthy red that paired perfectly with the Smoldering Chocolate Cake.

KICK is located at 1943 W. Byron Street. You can reach them at (773) 236-8886 or by email at [email protected]. For more information, visit their website or follow their social media conversations on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Hours: Monday-Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Thursday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-midnight; Saturday, 10 a.m.-midnight; Sunday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. 

Photos by Donna Binbek






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