Why it’s this week’s Best Bite: Mott St. is the second venture from Chef Edward Kim and his team, whose first restaurant, Ruxbin, earned a nod from Bon Appétit as one of the 10 best new restaurants in the country (I had a killer clambake there two years ago). When I heard that Mott St. would have more of a night market vibe, I was definitely in – and our meal delivered, one dish after another in a parade of intriguing, unexpected flavors. The everything wings had drawn comparison to the huge, sticky ones at Pok Pok, which I tasted in February, but I found them to be entirely different. These chicken wings seriously tasted like an everything bagel (hence the name), with a slightly sweet glaze and generous dusting of sesame and poppy seeds, plus subtle heat from the chilis. The bagel comparison drew even stronger when you added the creamy, dill-heavy tzatziki dipping sauce. As with most good wings: messy to eat, but worth it.
The theme continued with the stuffed cabbage, which surprisingly recalled comforting lasagna from the very first bite – just lasagna that was layered with zingy kimchi, crispy rice, and pork instead of ricotta and red sauce. The flavors married especially well in this dish, everything extra-seasoned by the kimchi broth at the bottom. And as our server enthusiastically promised, the ice cold noodles made a lovely palate cleanser after the rest of the savory dishes. Between the chilly temperature and mellow flavors, it was an incredibly clean dish, with the tender beef and quail egg adding just enough richness.
The details: Mott St., 1401 N Ashland Ave., Chicago.