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View Full Version : Chicago Q - Restaurant by Lee Ann Whippen


---k---
10-17-2010, 07:54 PM
My wife took me to 'Chicago Q' last night for dinner. Chicago Q is an upscale BBQ restaurant by co-owner Lee Ann Whippen in Chicago's Gold Coat neighborhood. http://www.chicagoqrestaurant.com/

I'm not a BBQ competitor and haven't had the opportunity to dine at any of the BBQ legendary restaurants. Mostly, I've eaten my own BBQ and chain places like Rudy's, Bandaras, Famous Dave's and a few others locals here and on the road. We don't really have a lot of great BBQ places around here (that I'm aware of, please speak up if you know places in the western burbs), so I was really looking forward to eating at a place that should have 'real' bbq.

First, Chicago Q is an "upscale" bbq place. The prices and atmosphere may turn a lot of people off, but considering the neighborhood where it is located, it fits in. Yes, you can get good BBQ cheaper elsewhere, but you can also get good steaks cheaper than at Ruth Chris's. Walking up, the restaurant is a little off the beaten path in what looks like a large house. But, based upon the smoke in the air, I knew I was in the right place. Bar in front, dinning in back, and more dinning/party room upstairs. I thought the dining room was very nice. The wait staff was as attentive as any upscale restaurant as I've been in (plenty). I think they've pulled off the upscale part, enough so that I was very comfortable with the prices and left thinking it was very reasonably priced.


When you sit down, they treat you to a dish of homemade potato chips and pickles. These were amazing. You must fight very hard to keep from eating too much and spoiling your dinner. For dinner, I figured if I was there, I was going to go all out. I ordered the Q3 combo of 1/2 slab, pulled pork, and brisket with a side of cole slaw. My wife got the pulled pork sandwich. The food didn't take long to come out. They serve it with three sauces: mild, spicy, and Carolina vinegar.

I'm going to pause now to say that the food was very good. Probably the best restaurant bbq as I've ever had. I would definitely recommend people to go there and check it out. But, as you all who cook know, it is easy to become overly critical and hard to be generous. I am not a trained KCBS judge or anything like that. So take my comments with that in mind.

I started with the ribs. They come out with a very light glaze and you are encouraged to experiment with the sauces. I first did plain, then mild and then the hot. I found the tenderness and texture of the ribs perfect. They were juicy enough, but not dripping. I put my glasses on, but I couldn't find a smoke ring. But, I took another bite and decided I didn't care about the smoke ring. I also didn't taste a lot of smoke. The flavor was good. The rub was sweet, no bam or heat. The mild sauce was sweet and tangy. I like a little spice with my BBQ, so I moved on to the spicy sauce. This sauce tasted a lot like the mild sauce, but with some red pepper added. It was good. My wife liked the mild a lot. I would have preferred more smokey, tangy, with very mild heat. But that is a personal preference.


Moving on to the pulled pork. It came out with a light finishing sauce on it, I would imagine to allow it to be kept warm throughout the night. It was very good naked. Pulled pork is my favorite bbq dish, and this hit the spot. I would still have liked a little bam and crunchier bark, but Iím not going to quibble here. With the pork, I tried the vinegar sauce. I like a light little vinegar, but Iím not big on the vinegar sauces. I think I used a bit too much the first time, and pretty much stuck to the spicy sauce after that; but I really didnít use too much. My wifeís pulled pork sandwich came on a huge fancy roll/bun and was overflowing with pork. She tried a bit of all the sauces, but used the mild sauce on her sandwich. She was very satisfied. She very much liked the sweet sauce.

Finally, the brisket. The meet flavor was fantastic. I bit into the first bit and was like, Ďoh yeah, thatís good.í They call it Kobe brisket on the menu. Maybe that is the reason. The slices were very thin, a little too thin for my preferences. I like my brisket thick. I tried doing the pull test, as Iíve seen on TV ;) , and the brisket didnít snap. It stretched a long way before snapping, maybe a little rubbery due to keeping it warm for extended time. But again, I took another bite and was like, who cares. Yummy! Around this time, the manager came over to our table asking if everything was all right (did he see the brisket not snapping?). I had no problem answering yes to this question. One problem I did have with the brisket was that I was looking for a good Texas style BBQ sauce to go with it. I struggled with this one. I ate most of the brisket naked and was satisfied.

The portions of the food were not overwhelming. Iím a bigger eater, but often have food left over at restaurants. However even though I ordered the triple combo platter, I was able to eat all of the food. This was somewhat disappointing, but we were headed to a concert afterwards and wouldnít have had any place to put leftovers. It was enough that I was satisfied, but I didnít have that loosen my belt feeling that I expected from the triple combo platter. My wife and I actually ordered a piece of chocolate soufflť cake to finish the night off. It was very good.

Near the end of our food, Lee Ann Whippen came to our table and introduced herself as one of the co-owners. She told us a little bit about the restaurant history and goals. She was very approachable. Never once did she mention TV shows or give the impression that she was trying to cash in on recent TV appearances. This was a honest long-term restaurant, not a Planet Hollywood. My wife spoke up and said that I do smoking. She asked me about my pit and offered encouragement.

That ended the night. All-in-all, it was very good bbq. Maybe for all of us here that have had it fresh, and customized to our own tastes, it wasnít knock-your-socks-off best ever; but it was good. I think for most people, it will be the best ever. I have a job site two blocks away and am already starting to plan my next site visit around lunch time and a visit to Chicago Q.

1_T_Scot
10-17-2010, 08:19 PM
Thanks for the review! I'll check it out sometime.

gtsum
10-17-2010, 08:20 PM
great report! Sounds like you enjoyed your time there and that is all that matters!

---k---
10-18-2010, 10:13 AM
Yes. It was a good time out. I would recommend it. Take your wives and mom there on mother's day. You get tasty Q and they get to feel like they went to a fancy restaurant. :becky:

gjdad
10-18-2010, 12:57 PM
We don't really have a lot of great BBQ places around here (that I'm aware of, please speak up if you know places in the western burbs),


Nice review. Not knowing how far west you are or south for that matter, I would say a trip to North Chicago to Big Ed's place would be well worth the trip.

2Fat
10-18-2010, 01:39 PM
thanks for the write-up---actually may go there Wed nite b4 heading towards Tennessee or maybe a coal fired pizza

billm
10-18-2010, 02:13 PM
this has been on my radar for a bit...

---k---
10-18-2010, 02:34 PM
Nice review. Not knowing how far west you are or south for that matter, I would say a trip to North Chicago to Big Ed's place would be well worth the trip.

I'm in Naperville. So, typically that would be a haul, but I do have to visit a jobsite in Lincolnshire on Thursday.... Humm... :-D

I got a list of places that one of these day's I'll try: Smoque in Logan Square, Barbara Ann in Hyde Park, and Honey 1 in Bucktown. Only so many weekends available...

gjdad
10-18-2010, 02:49 PM
I'm in Naperville. So, typically that would be a haul, but I do have to visit a jobsite in Lincolnshire on Thursday.... Humm... :-D

I got a list of places that one of these day's I'll try: Smoque in Logan Square, Barbara Ann in Hyde Park, and Honey 1 in Bucktown. Only so many weekends available...

This place is getting some good chatter though I have yet to go.

Smokin' T's Bar-B-Que
3976 Route 22, Suite A
Long Grove, IL 60047

Here is:

Big Ed's
2501 Martin Luther King Jr Dr
North Chicago, IL
Phone: 847-578-1901
Website: http://www.bigedsllc.com (http://www.bigedsllc.com/)

I personally liked Big Ed's much better than either Smoque or Honey1

swibirun
10-18-2010, 04:35 PM
After hearing her talk about this a while back on the BBQ Central Radio Show, I'm glad to hear her hard work paid off. Thanks for the review.

2Fat
10-18-2010, 08:05 PM
I'm in Naperville. So, typically that would be a haul, but I do have to visit a jobsite in Lincolnshire on Thursday.... Humm... :-D

I got a list of places that one of these day's I'll try: Smoque in Logan Square, Barbara Ann in Hyde Park, and Honey 1 in Bucktown. Only so many weekends available...


been to Smoque--brisket was excellent-everything else was good--may have caught Honey1 at a bad time but didn't think anything merited a do-over but will probably try it again some time in the future

gjdad
10-18-2010, 11:24 PM
This place is also getting good reviews:

Toons Bar & Grill
3857 N. Southport
chicago usa
773-935-1919

2Fat
10-19-2010, 08:42 AM
This place is also getting good reviews:

Toons Bar & Grill
3857 N. Southport
chicago usa
773-935-1919

Danny takes the food at his tavern seriously--whatever it is

billm
10-21-2010, 11:03 AM
I enjoyed Smoque and Smokin T's..Honey 1 not so much..Toons is great..

---k---
10-21-2010, 12:47 PM
I had to visit a jobsite in Lincolnshire this morning. Not to far from Big Ed's, so I swung by for lunch. I got the spareribs and pulled pork combo. The meat seamed cooked perfectly, but I really did not like the sauce. To me, it tasted way too much like marinara sauce.

I got to be back up in Lincolnshire is about 2 weeks. Maybe I'll give Smoking T's a try then.

gjdad
10-24-2010, 11:01 AM
I had to visit a jobsite in Lincolnshire this morning. Not to far from Big Ed's, so I swung by for lunch. I got the spareribs and pulled pork combo. The meat seamed cooked perfectly, but I really did not like the sauce. To me, it tasted way too much like marinara sauce.

I got to be back up in Lincolnshire is about 2 weeks. Maybe I'll give Smoking T's a try then.

Let me know I have been wanting to try Smoking T's maybe we could do a small brethern lunch.

billm
10-28-2010, 03:11 PM
I had to visit a jobsite in Lincolnshire this morning. Not to far from Big Ed's, so I swung by for lunch. I got the spareribs and pulled pork combo. The meat seamed cooked perfectly, but I really did not like the sauce. To me, it tasted way too much like marinara sauce.

I got to be back up in Lincolnshire is about 2 weeks. Maybe I'll give Smoking T's a try then.
Big Ed's BBQ is one of my favorites
A far as his sauce ..its deifnately not a sweet sauce but i dont think its even close to marinara
i always order sauce on the side wherever I go anyway..

---k---
10-28-2010, 03:27 PM
Big Ed's BBQ is one of my favorites
A far as his sauce ..its deifnately not a sweet sauce but i dont think its even close to marinara
i always order sauce on the side wherever I go anyway..

That's odd. Maybe I just caught the sauce on the day they let the new guy make it. Don't know. If I'm back up in the area, maybe I'll give it a second shot.

Good tip on asking for the sauce on the side.

Vince B
10-30-2010, 08:55 AM
Has anyone tried Hickory River Smokehouse in Glendale hts? http://www.hickoryriver.com/index.html I went there once with the wife to try it out and I thought it was pretty good. I especially like the brisket because mine usually does not turn out all that well. It was a bit pricey and I would have like to see more on my plate. Then again I always over eat! Best part is it's minutes from the house! Next time I go I have to try a 3X meal! Vince

---k---
10-31-2010, 08:35 PM
We're going to have to start a new thread with a list of all the Chicago que places and resources. I didn't know there were so many. But, of course we're up to, what, a dozen in a city area of 10 million.

billm
11-30-2010, 08:43 AM
We're going to have to start a new thread with a list of all the Chicago que places and resources. I didn't know there were so many. But, of course we're up to, what, a dozen in a city area of 10 million.
actually a lot more than a dozen ..
On a positive note though the good places are finally starting to outweigh the bad
I think Chicago area BBQ is getting better and you dont have to go into really crap neighborhoods anymore to find it

billm
11-30-2010, 08:44 AM
Has anyone tried Hickory River Smokehouse in Glendale hts? http://www.hickoryriver.com/index.html I went there once with the wife to try it out and I thought it was pretty good. I especially like the brisket because mine usually does not turn out all that well. It was a bit pricey and I would have like to see more on my plate. Then again I always over eat! Best part is it's minutes from the house! Next time I go I have to try a 3X meal! Vince
Ive been meaning to check that place out Vince..let me know if you want to meet up there sometime..its 10 min from and what ..about 5 from you?

LTG
12-11-2010, 04:22 PM
Has anyone tried Hickory River Smokehouse in Glendale hts? http://www.hickoryriver.com/index.html I went there once with the wife to try it out and I thought it was pretty good. I especially like the brisket because mine usually does not turn out all that well. It was a bit pricey and I would have like to see more on my plate. Then again I always over eat! Best part is it's minutes from the house! Next time I go I have to try a 3X meal! Vince
Hickory River is a small chain. They just opened a second location here in town. Their food is pretty consistent but I really don't eat there anymore since I started making bbq on my own so much.