Flavor City

Mott St's gutsy, creative cooking

Hey, Portland and New York: You can keep your cultish Pok Pok wings.

Chicago doesn't need them, now that we have Mott St's spectacular version.

At the new Wicker Park restaurant from the team behind Ruxbin, chicken wings are lacquered with a glaze of soy sauce, chiles and jaggery sugar, then fried and showered with fried shallots and sesame and poppy seeds ($9). Dip them into the accompanying tzatziki and raise a glass to Edward Kim's intrepid approach to Asian cuisine.

Mott St globe-trots much like Ruxbin does, filling spring rolls with kimchi and Oaxacan cheese and serving them with chimichurri crème frâiche ($9). This might feel gimmicky in less talented hands; here, it feels fresh.

Kim's stuffed cabbage ($16) combines traditional Korean ingredients–kimchi, braised pork, sticky rice–in an irreverent way. They're layered like lasagna; then a hefty wedge is pan-seared to order and doused with kimchi brine loaded with butter.

Multiple visits are required to properly traverse Mott St's lengthy and beguiling dinner menu. The dessert menu is easier to navigate. Skip the tres leches and order the other two options, both delightfully simple: a watermelon slice with chile powder ($2), and a frozen Thai banana coated with dark chocolate, peanuts and Sichuan peppercorns ($3).