Chicago is undoubtedly a food city, and there is never a shortage of things to eat. That also means that your list of restaurants to try is sometimes longer than your wallet or schedule allows. Luckily, you have us to give you the hit list of best new spots and most delicious dishes to try throughout the Windy City. This month, you need to hit up the new spot on Milwaukee, Cracked at 695 (695 North Milwaukee).
From the street you might not see it. And that’s done on purpose. A sign is coming soon, but for now, this seafood “boil in a bag” restaurant is meant for the neighborhood, and any true foodie who comes to find it. Taking Southern seafood fare up a notch, the cool interior makes of Cracked at 695 you feel like you’ve found a hidden gem…which you have!
Start at the bar and grab a drink. The bartenders give great recommendations based on your preference, and the sleek metal cups keep your beverage cold much longer than usual. The Adult Fruit Cocktail is what we call a “patio pounder” perfect for drinking in the summertime. There will be a patio for patrons, opening in the spring, but until then, just sip it inside and dream of summer. In contrast, the Live Free or Rye is exactly what it sounds like…a cocktail for the tough guy (in all of us). Yippee ki-yay!
Their Tempura Vegetable appetizer is the perfect start. It’s light, sharable and gives a little bit of Asian flare to the rest of the menu. Plus, the sticky sweet dipping sauce is to die for! I literally dipped everything we ordered in that sauce and felt less than zero shame about it. So, basically make sure to ask for that sauce no matter what you choose.
From there we dug into their Fried Oyster Po Boy with a side of classic Crab Cakes. I brought a diner from Boston with me to make sure I got a real seafood-lovers opinion. Luckily, it coincided with mine, and it was simple: YUM.
I’m not the biggest oyster fan when they are raw but have been trying to train myself into liking this fish, traditionally seen as a delicacy. Turns out, I just needed to eat it when it was fried! In retrospect, that fact should not have surprised me, but I digress. The accompanying slaw gave a nice crunch to the sandwich and remoulade brought the heat. This baby is a two-hander, so come hungry.
Because we couldn’t stop when we were just a little bit full, we tried crab cakes as well, which were a pleasant surprise. In my experience, a lot of times you tend to get much more cake than crab in a crab cake. Not the case here! Perfect to share as a side, we each got a nice helping of delicious and simple crab meat. You should definitely order these.
Then once you finish your meal, if you can still move, you should head up to the second floor for dancing and more cocktails. Anchor Lounge upstairs will help keep the party going late into the evening with a DJ booth, cool blue lighting and more street food options. The drink menu is still exceptional, and it’s the perfect spot for a weekday girls’ night, or an after dinner weekend dance party.
All in all, you can’t go wrong with the food or atmosphere of Cracked at 695, so sidle up to that inconspicuous entrance and get ready for a fun evening of indulging.