Northern Exposure

BadHappy shares the saucy joys of poutine

"Sometimes you gotta be bad to be good," reads the wall of the new River North BYOB BadHappy.

At chef Tom Kern's 20-seat restaurant, being bad means diving into a pile of creative, top-heavy poutine.

Kern brings a highbrow approach to the classic Canadian combination of fried potatoes, cheese curds and gravy. He prepares all the components in-house, from stocks to condiments, referring to his poutine ($10) as "fine dining on frites."

The restaurant's traditional version is made in true Québécoise-style, with curds of fromage Beauceron. From there, all bets of authenticity are off. The HappyFace version incorporates braised veal cheek, garlic-scented cheese curds and fried sweetbreads, all soused in gravy thickened with foie gras. The Good, the Bad and the Happy is an unapologetically caloric mix of pork belly, truffle mayonnaise and foie gras mousse, its lily gilded by a fried egg.

Kern grinds the meat for his burgers and house-made sausages, the latter served on the giardiniera-spiked Da'Local. He places an emphasis on sourcing locally, too–including Filbert's sodas, which have been made in Chicago since 1923.

Go on Sunday for a BYOV (bring your own vodka) brunch, featuring a poutine interpretation of eggs Benedict and fresh Bloody Mary mix.

BadHappy, 939 N. Orleans St.; 312-890-2165 or badhappypoutineshop.com