Duke of Perth, 2913 N. Clark, is the kind of atmospheric place that makes you feel like you’re actually in Scotland. Grab a stool at the very high bar and when Ed, the bartender from 12 to 7 Saturdays and weekdays, gives you the lowdown on the various Scotches listed on their extensive whisky menu, you know you’re in the presence of an expert. Although he claims the other bartender has forgotten more about Scotch than he’ll ever know, you’ll likely be in good hands whenever you choose to stop by.
People everywhere were chowing down on delicious-smelling deep-fried fish ’n’ chips, fries and so on. The menu seems to specialize in breaded goodies like mushrooms, chicken fingers, leeks, etc. But salad lovers have a few choices, along with a nice selection of burgers and sandwiches for meat lovers. Fresh-looking peas appeared on most of the plates, giving a strong feeling of being in the UK (they were served on the side with nearly every dish back in the 60s), and if you have any further doubts, check the entrée names: Shepherd’s Pie, Cock-a-Leekie Pie, Bangers and Mash. You can get your chips (fries) for $5, with cheddar ($6) or melted bleu cheese ($7), and other sides include steamed vegetables ($4), cucumber salad ($4) and—a Scottish specialty—stovies ($5). A stovie is one way a good Scotsman uses up leftover meat by mixing it with potatoes and onions and sometimes carrots.
If you enjoy Scotch, or even if you just like to eat some good comfort food, visit this spot on Clark St. If you like sitting outdoors, they’ve got a comfortable-looking patio open in the back.
New York Delicatessen, 2921 N. Clark, looks a lot like a New York deli: décor is not the point; food is—serious sandwiches, sides, and mustards. Having been invited to try a sandwich on the house, I met the new owner, Isaac Work, a tall, dark and attractive young man. He’s half Italian and half French, so his love of food is probably in the genes. Work started out as a customer at what was formerly known as NY Deli. Despite living in Bridgeport, he used to regularly drive to Lakeview to join a bunch of friends for lunch at this comfortable neighborhood spot. Eventually he started working there, and finally, when the former owner opted to retire, Work decided to buy it and make it his own. Partnering with the owner of Clark St. Dog, he put the deal together and re-opened in May, 2015.
Work has high standards and won’t compromise. Only one technique produces true New York-style bagels, according to Work. Bagels must be boiled for 30 seconds in malt barley extract syrup (yep, they use that to make beer) and immediately put in the oven to bake. In Chicago, only Bialy’s bagels meet these exacting requirements, and they can only be acquired by picking them up (can’t get ‘em delivered) early in the morning at a far north location. He also picks up his weekend supply of Glazed and Infused donuts, which is why at this writing both these items are available weekends only.
NY Delicatessen’s Italian bread comes from D’Amato’s bakery. Crisp crust and soft, doughy insides. Work buys and cooks his own corned beef on the premises—juicy, super-tender slices of pink meat that work well with the other elements to produce serious Rueben and corned beef sandwiches. Work meets his own exacting standards on cooking, pickling and cooling the beef to yield the tenderest brisket. The list of NY Delicatessen sandwich combinations sounds mouth-watering, and the hand-building and attention to detail lavished on bread, fillings, toppings, bases and layers, make the sandwiches stand way out from typical chain-store fare.
The Italian sub tasted fresh and just-spiced enough with layers of folded meats, the pesto-mayo base, a proprietary blend of seasonings, and the sprinkling of oil and vinegar. The artichoke-fresh-mozzarella sandwich was exceptionally light and satisfying. The potato salad hit the spot: Yukon Gold potato chunks with dill pickle and hard-boiled eggs dressed in a unique combination of mayo and Work’s secret dressing ingredient.
Work sees a liquor license in the near future along with expanded breakfast times and offerings. Plus he expects to install more equipment and expand the menu. Most sandwiches come full or half size, and you can get chips, fruit, potato salad or other sides. Lots of unique drinks in the cooler and Stumptown and Lavazza coffee options, plus Boar’s Head mustards, pepperoni sticks, and fresh fruit for sale on the counter, round out the meal options. N.B. The actual website name is different from the store name: www.secondcitydeli.com. Delivery is available through GrubHub.