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Chicago Restaurants' Southern Influence

The Southern's take on Poutine, in Chicago.

Photo: Cedric Angeles

Andersonville: Big Jones

In a light, airy room done up with damask wallpaper and wrought-iron chairs, Big Jones is a paean to the romantic South—with a menu to match. Chef Paul Fehribach, an ever-curious food historian, explores coastal cooking—Lowcountry, Floribbean, Cajun, and Creole cuisines—from Charleston’s iconic “reezy peezy,” a purée of heritage Sea Island red peas served over Carolina Gold rice and “voodoo greens,” to the sweet fried rice cakes of New Orleans (called “calas”). His love of everyday home-style Southern cooking shows up in classics like pimento cheese and tasso ham on house-made Sally Lunn bread, and fried green tomatoes with pickled-shrimp rémoulade. But it is his imaginative interpretations that produce his most memorable dishes, such as paneed sweetbreads with oyster purée, fried leeks, and absinthe gastrique. Just one spoonful of his chocolate-colored chicken-and-andouille gumbo, made with a traditional dark roux, will have you feeling like you’re on the Bayou. 5347 N. Clark St.; 773/275-5725; dinner for two $70.

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