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SIDE DISHes

Gyros platter with pittzatziki sauce The ParthenRestaurant Chicago's Greektown Thursday April 11 2013.  | J.Geil ~ For Sun-Times Media

Gyros platter with pita and tzatziki sauce at The Parthenon Restaurant in Chicago's Greektown, Thursday, April 11, 2013. | J.Geil ~ For Sun-Times Media

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Rickshaw Republic specializes in Indonesian street food. Here are some other great street food dishes served in Chicago restaurants:

THE PARTHENON, 314 S. Halsted; (312) 726-2407; www.theparthenon.com

Vibe: Bryll-creamed, Greek-god like waiters scream Opa over platters of fried cheese amid lots of rich wainscoting.

Flavor: Unlike most of the pre-processed frozen gyro cones served in cheap diners around town, the Parthenon gyro is constructed from layers of fresh beef and lamb, seasoned and cured for days before being fire-roasted on a turning spit. The result is the freshest gyro in town.

NHU LAN, 2612 W. Lawrence; (773) 878-9898; www.nhulansbakery.com

Vibe: Utilitarian white-tiled bakery with a smattering of cheap wooden tables and metal chairs.

Flavor: The No. 10 lemongrass tofu banh mi, a thin soy-marinated and lemongrass-perfumed bean curd that teams with tangy carrot, crisp daikon and spicy jalapeno that’s then stuffed into a hot, crackling baguette may be a vegetarian’s dream, but it also captures the carnivore’s fantasy. I don’t know how they do it, but the tofu eats like thin ribbons of ribeye.

CEMITAS PUEBLA, 2619 W. North; (773) 772-8435; www.cemitaspuebla.com

Vibe: Boxing posters and a bevy of 8 x 10 glossies featuring owner Tony Anteliz Sr. posing with Latin celebrities dot the walls of this low-key Humboldt Park storefront.

Flavor: Anteliz Sr. used to take his sons back to the Mexican town of Puebla to visit family. On those trips, his son Tony Jr. (the driving force of the dining room, usually clad in a White Sox cap) encountered spit-roasted pork tacos arabe marinated in a fermented pineapple brine, and local sesame buns stuffed with roasted meats showered in chipotle sauce, avocado and a rich mozzarella-like cheese from the nearby town of Chipilo known as a cemita. Tony Jr. brought back his memories and faithfully re-created the tacos and the cemitas for Chicagoans.

Michael Nagrant



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