Big & Little’s (860 N. Orlrans Ave.) is quickly turning into one of my favorite places to eat in the city of Chicago. They make the food I truly love to eat, and could eat every day, all executed with technique and an attention to detail you don’t easily find with counter service.
I’m a big fan of their new spot especially, with much more seating and an expanded menu featuring items that before were merely a rotating special. Happiness.
On this trip we HAD to try an item that immediately jumped out at me…The Beer Battered Fried Cheeseburger. Yup. My friends cringed, but I smiled with joy.
Of course, I couldn’t stop there. I had it topped with Merkt’s cheddar cheese sauce, grilled onions, shredded lettuce and ketchup – that’s all – no need for a whole salad on my beef this time around. While I’ve even believed that a fried burger is overkill, if there is one spot that’ll do it right, it’s here.
The burger was heavenly. It wasn’t too much if you can believe it. The coating was a crunchy and easy to eat tempura-ish style batter. It was thin so that it didn’t create too much of a fried layer between the meat and the toppings.
The Merkt’s was necessary since it’s the best kind of cheese for any burger, the onions and ketchup provided an acidic and zesty quality to cut through all the rich cheese, meat and fry.
The meat was still cooked a perfect medium rare, a feat not easy when grilling AND frying a burger. The ketchup was applied in a spiral for even distribution, the onions were grilled just enough but not caramelized, thus retaining some integrity and crunch.
The bun was nice and toasty and overall it was an incredible burger experience. Also being surprisingly easy to eat and NOT falling apart gained it some serious points in my book. And…it’s only $8.00. Try this burger.
You have to try a fish taco of some sort at Big & Little’s. It’s a staple item on their menu plus it’s one of the reasons I originally recommended it so highly in its old location. We had yet to try the Big & Little’s Taco so that’s what we went for. Colorado Mountain Whitefish was fried to a delicate golden brown. The size of the fish was just right; it was big enough to be tender and properly cooked but easy to bite and handle in a taco. Two delicious and warm corn tortilla shells held the fish along with a zesty homemade cabbage slaw, some lettuce and a kinda spicy aioli.
Simply dressed with the quality fixins, the fish was allowed to shine on its own fresh merit. I cannot recommend these tacos enough – they are absolutely one of the best in the city – including those from Mexican restaurants. It comes down to how fresh the dish is as a whole. Even the aioli is light and has a nice dose of acidity to liven it up.
We can’t go to B&L’s without getting fries. Their fries are a smaller cut and aren’t too crispy in a great way. You know, those little fries that are perfect to grab in bunches.
For a buck more we went truffle style on their potato ass. They’re tossed in truffle oil and dusted in truffly salt. Adding the necessary side of Merkt’s was a no-brainer – duh.
Dear Big and Little’s: Every time I come and see you I leave so very very happy. Please never leave me. I promise I’ll come visit as often as possible. Yours truly, Hungry Hungry Hinden.
I’m hungry. Let’s eat!