Chicago Q: An Urban BBQ Oasis

March 5, 2011

Entrance to Chicago Q
Chicago Restaurant Week: my favorite week of the year! For this year's installment, my resident co-taste-tester (the BF) and I decided on a Sunday lunch at a new barbecue restaurant in the heart of the Gold Coast. Chicago Q specializes in southern barbecue despite its urban location. The Restaurant Week lunch menu offered up a three course prix fixe menu for just $22. Dinner is three courses for $33.

We were seated in a quiet corner booth of the main dining room, which was outfitted in leather chairs and a wall-to-wall mural that was highlighted by the above skylight. The five and a half month old restaurant was beautifully crisp and white, with numerous wood accent. I was very impressed by the atmosphere and couldn't wait to try the food!

Housemade Pickles & Chips
Our server started us off with a bowl of housemade pickled cucumbers and onions, as well as fresh hand cut potato crisps. The pickles were sweet and complemented the savory texture of the crisps. I'd take this over bread and butter any day!

Restaurant Week Lunch Menu
The restaurant week menu offered up three options for each course to choose from. The BF and I both decided to start our meal with the house bacon and cheddar hush puppies. What goes better with fried cornmeal then cheddar and bacon?! The three little fritters were served up with a spicy roumalade and a dusting of seasonings.

House Bacon Cheddar Hush Puppies
The hush puppies were outstanding! Crispy on the outside and warm and flaky on the inside. I only wish it came with more than three! We found ourselves dividing each one into as many pieces as possible, in order to savor every last bite.

House Bacon Cheddar Hush Puppies
For our main course, I decided on the barbecue kobe beef brisket. The portion was extremely generous, as was the gigantic chunk of cornbread that accompanied it. In all honesty, I never had to use my knife with the brisket! It was so tender that a simple move of the fork separated each piece. Now if that's not a great sign of good smoking, I don't know what is. I tend to judge a barbecue place by the caliber of their cornbread and luckily, Q's did not disappoint. The slightly sweet bread featured a corn kernel or too and was crumbly and delicious.

Sliced Kobe Beef Brisket & Cornbread
The BF decided on the pulled pork, served with a side of homemade fries. I sampled some of the pork and was impressed by the smoky flavor and tenderness of the meat. You could really tell that these were experienced smokers! The fries were perfectly crispy, and, dare I say it, rivaled my favorite fries from Smoque.

Pulled Pork and Hand Cut Fries
To accompany our dishes, we were served a trio of homemade barbecue sauces. I really appreciated the fact that the barbecue at Q speaks for itself. It's not served with heaping globs of barbecue sauce on top. You are able to taste the meat on its own and then add sauces to complement. The medium, spicy and Kansas vinaigrette sauces were tangy and sweet!

Trio of House Barbecue Sauces: Medium, Spicy &  Kansas Vinaigrette

Chicago Q's Main Dining Room
By this point, the two of us were beyond full so we literally took a break in order to mentally and physically prepare for the dessert course. The three offerings on the Restaurant Week menu included carrot cake, key lime pie, and milk & cookies. We made a strategic decision to try two of the three options and went with the cookies and the carrot cake.

We were in luck, as the kitchen had just prepared a fresh batch of cookies. The result was a plate of three as-big-as-your-head cookies! One sugar cookie drizzled with butterscotch, one double chocolate chip, and one oatmeal bacon. The oatmeal bacon was very interesting as it featured tiny bacon bits that had the same consistency as would a raisin. The double chocolate chip was our favorite, since it was piping hot and gooey. The sugar cookie was a bit too sweet for me (is that possible?) since it was covered in butterscotch, but you can never have a bad cookie! You could definitely tell these were homemade!

Sugar, Double Chocolate Chip & Oatmeal Bacon Cookies & Milk
Sugar, Double Chocolate Chip & Oatmeal Bacon Cookies & Milk
The homemade carrot cake was served with a lovely carrot puree in the shape of a carrot. The decadent cream cheese frosting was perfectly paired with the spiced cake that featured dates. I couldn't get over the size of the piece we had! It must have been a quarter of the entire cake!

Homemade Carrot Cake
Homemade Carrot Cake
Needless to say, our lunch at Chicago Q was nothing short of phenomenal. From the service with a Southern charm, to the country style ambiance, nothing was overlooked. The manager constantly made sure everything was great and even gave us a personal tour of the second floor's private dining rooms and wine cellar.

Chicago Q was one of the best meals that I have had in Chicago in a long time. Their true passion for barbecue and hospitality toward their customers flourishes. Chicago Q gets five stars for an amazing meal from start to finish! I can't wait to return to taste test the rest of their hearty menu! Go make a reservation now. Seriously, you will fall in love.

Chicago Q
1160 N. Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL
Chicago Q on Urbanspoon

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