Etta and I had walked to the cinema to see Grand Budapest Hotel. It was warm in the afternoon but the streets were wet with rain when we emerged from the movie house. I was ready to spend two hundred dollars on fish so we started to walk up Rush St towards Nico. As we crossed Ontario St I caught a whiff of L’Air de Panache or maybe it was roast meat aroma and we entered SideDoor instead.
I recently found out that a close acquaintance who happens to be a music producer used to dine at Lawry’s three or four times a week. Thats my dream. I love prime rib like a sick cocker spaniel loves prime rib: when I take a bite of prime rib the whole world brightens up a little bit. I loved the prime rib sandwich at SideDoor. It was perfect Lawry’s prime rib, on a well buttered, crispy soft roll. Creamy horseradish and a dip into jus and that’s my personal heaven. Etta got the half pound prime rib meat board recommended for tables to share. That’s my other favorite thing: more prime rib later that night and the next day. The beer selection was well curated and the service was on point. The column in the bathroom and the photos showing its history was a thoughtful touch that adds gravitas.
SideDoor is an irresistible little restaurant, a hidden gem built into the historic mansion that houses Lawry’s, just a block off Michigan Avenue. The way the open kitchen and carving station gleams before the wooden tables, to the integration of the inner windows with Lawry’s bar, SideDoor is well designed and the food is well executed. Yes the seafood salad was also delicious with smoky scallops and sriracha, warm bay scallops and shrimp over green goddess dressed cabbage. But for me the prime rib sandwich is king: instantly in my top three sandwiches in the city of Chicago, with I don’t know, maybe Xoco and Bari. I dipped the entire thing in the jus and meat tripped out of my gourd for the next four hours, dilated pupils, heavy meat sweats, slurred speech. It was amazing.