Saturday, March 31, 2012

Kuma's Corner

This past week has been very tough on me. I had to finish reading The Hunger Games before going to the movie on Thursday. It was a pressure cooker and I finished the last page during the trailers - just in time. The book (the first one at least) is worth a read and very entertaining. The reason I bring this up is not to transition into a book review site (no chance) but as an excuse for not posting this week.

It's hard to believe I've been a "foodie" in Chicago for a few years but had never been to Kuma's. There's a cult following and is considered an institution locally and nationally. It's a small, heavy metal "bar" so seats are very limited and wait times can get absurd. Luckily we sent Erica ahead to put our name in at the open because we needed a rare table for six. We were celebrating Jean's birthday (Erica's mom) with her family.

I didn't know what to expect but everything was true to form. It's a metal bar with like minded employees, graphic posters and enormous burgers on pretzel bread (though it's still very family friendly). Just for added emphasis the list of rules is as follows - 1) We do not take reservations. 2) We will not “put on the game, bro”  3) No music requests. 4) No Minors after 10pm. 5) Our kitchen is only 16×6. Please be patient. The menu is 20ish burgers and a few other sides/starters. Not to be missed is an order of customized mac n cheese. The small is enough to feed six people and absolutely fabulous. 

All of the burgers are named after rock bands including Led Zeppelin, Pantera, Black Sabbath, etc. I went with the Plague Bringer (Roasted Garlic Mayo, Tortilla Strips, House Made Hot Sauce, Fresh Garlic, Pepper Jack, Sliced Jalapenos), and other selections at the table included the Neurosis, YOB and High On Fire. Everyone only ate half a burger because consuming an entire one, with fries and mac n cheese would be a triumph. I really liked my Plague Bringer with a nice dose of heat but great meat a nice garlic mayo for balance. I also think the pretzel roll idea is awesome because that is not a flavor normally associated with hamburgers.  

Is it worth all the hype and hyperbole? Mostly yes and an experience worth having. The scene is fantastic and unique as well as the concept. The mac and cheese was outstanding and burgers are creative and tasty (and huge). You can find equally enjoyable hamburgers in this town for much less hassle which is the only reason I don't crown Kuma's the best thing to eat in Chicago. I would love to go back and try more variations and eat more mac but the logistics are very challenging. Bottom line: go if you haven't before because it's worth the experience and bring me your leftovers. 

Kuma's Corner on Urbanspoon

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