Hello and welcome to the first installment of The Gourmet Dong, where we'll be taking a look at some of the best places in Chicago to get some delicious, greasy-ass red meat. And by "we" I mean me, since our other contributors can't take part in this excercise for personal reasons.
The first restaurant we'll be reviewing is Odge's Old Fashioned Red Hots, in Chicago's West Town neighborhood. Odge's was first brought to my attention by the guitarist for these guys, who told me that they have the best Polish sausage in Chicago. Now as some of you may know, I'm always interested in a good Polish, and obviously I immediately went out to investigate such a bold claim. On a 1-10 scale, here's how Odge's scored -- "10" being fucking awesome and "1" being like getting food poisoning from Bubbe's spaghetti and meatballs.
Food: 9.0. Every goddamn thing here is at the very least "good," and more often it's absolutely the shit. The Polish is indeed world-class: fried instead of grilled, and with perfectly sweet grilled onions and mustard on it. This Polish will put chest hair on places that aren't your chest, and you may feel compelled to punch a horse in the face like that dude from Blazing Saddles. It's that good.
The fries here are incredible as well, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. I've heard good things about the chili, the tamales, and the 1/2 pound burgers too. However, the quarter pounders are of the frozen, comes-from-a-box variety, and aren't anything to write home about.
Ambience: 9.5. The place looks straight out of Maxwell St. circa the 1920s. The building itself is painted red and yellow, and inside you will find framed pictures of legendary Chicago people and places, along with some (really) random artifacts from years past (Jukebox...Schwinn bicycle...Rainbow Brite lunchbox?!?!! WTF) There is also a sign saying that the apartment above the restaurant is for rent, and to ask for Odge. Two thoughts on this: 1) That rules that Odge really exists and still runs the place, and 2) how cool would it be to live there? Smelling the sweet aroma of carmelized onions and frying meat every morning? Waving hello to Odge as he brings in the day's shipment of Vienna sausage? I bet you could get a free meal just by asking about the apartment.
Service: 9.5. These guys aren't fucking around. Orders are taken quickly yet politely (kinda like "firmly but gently"), and no matter what you order, it will probably show up within the next 3 minutes. No, they don't bring it to your booth -- get off your lazy ass and grab it yourself, douchebag. At least you don't have to tip.
Prices: 10. I think a Polish with fries and drink costs something like 4 bucks. The little woman and I ate heartily for a mere $11, and that included 2 bottles of Sprecher's root beer.
Total: 9.5. Odge's is good eats at affordable prices, with a vibe that is so old-school Chicago that you half-expect cops with mustaches to show up and electrocute your nutsack with a car battery. Just thinking about the food there makes me lust for sausage like Rob Halford at a crowded leather bar. Google this fucking place and go there right now.