Chicago Reader Loves 31st Street Pies
From today's reader.....Art Jackson could stuff his savory English-style royal pies with victims of the Demon Barber of 31st Street and I wouldn't care. That's because the buttery crusts have a flaky, shattery exterior that yields to a thin, delicate doughy chew. This long-awaited pie shop from the former Bijan's Bistro chef, his wife, Chelsea, and brother-in-law Morgan, kills all the cliches of this humble British grub, from the chicken balti, its surface dusted with black nigella seeds and its interior braised in light curry and wine, to the almost meaty kale and mushroom pie loaded with creamy, cheesy greens and assorted fungi. Apart from these exclusively butter-based crusts Jackson plans to incorporate duck, goose, and pork fat into crusts for occasional specials. Friday-night fish fries, chips (the British kind), house-made sodas, and desserts from Chelsea fill out the relatively limited menu, all supplied by the bakery's own city garden plots. And don't skip the Scotch egg, a miraculously fluffy hard-boiled yolk and tender white enrobed in a batter-fried pork sausage jacket. —Mike Sula » 964 W. 35th, 773-523-7437, thepleasanthouse.com.