Ada St.'s Crispy Blacked Eyed Peas | Chicago

Fried peas and more surprises at Michael Kornick's new spot

We're of the opinion that every dinner at Ada St. should begin with a bowl of crispy black-eyed peas.

At Michael Kornick's low-key new restaurant, the tiny legumes are dusted with a coating of heavily seasoned flour and dunked in the fryer. Order a bowl ($4) as soon as you sit down.

The menu features familiar combinations, but here they are crafted by an expert hand. A simple salad of escarole in lemon-anchovy dressing ($7) arrived warm, the heat rendering the green delightfully silky. We appreciated the generous sprinkle of fried capers on steak tartare ($13), the smokiness of bacon in salmon tartare ($12), and the brash Tabasco mash that anchored a plate of grilled octopus (pictured; $12).

"Spiritual advisor" Tim Lacey has crafted a stylish cocktail program, complete with house-made tonics and ginger beer. Start with an aperitif, like the Falling in Love Again, made with Riesling, lemon and Imbue vermouth from Oregon, then move on to the wine list. It's packed with deals, notably a sparkling Burgundian rosé for only $30.

Another must for a night at Ada: playing DJ. Pick a record from the extensive collection, hand it to the bartender, and make the night your own.

Ada St., 1664 N. Ada St.; 773-697-7069 or