Dillman's In River North | The Deal With Dillman's

The many charms of Dillman's, from day to night

By now you've likely heard: Dillman's–formerly Dillman's Delicatessan–is not a deli.

Sure, there's house-made pastrami, rye bread and cream cheese. There's matzo ball soup and superlative potato knishes. But this is a Brendan Sodikoff joint, meaning Dillman's tips a hat to delicatessen culture, then strolls down its own dapper path.

"I want to prevent people from coming in with a preconceived idea of what it should be," says Sodikoff.

Instead of a deli case, there's a luxe room filled with red leather banquettes and booths, dark wood and large windows, and a menu of simple dishes done well. 

Smoked whitefish salad, breakfast edition

During the day it's a pleasant, airy backdrop for a bowl of quinoa, served oatmeal-style with berries and almond milk ($8). At night, low lights give off a warm yellow glow; we're confident that latkes have rarely been served in a setting this seductive.

And oh, those latkes: They're fried to a deep, enticing, golden crispness and served with sour cream and just-sweet applesauce ($6) during lunch, dinner and brunch. At breakfast time they can be found gilding plates of pastrami and eggs ($11). They're fantastic, as is smoked whitefish salad, served with a house-made bagel in the morning and nestled in an avocado half at night ($14).

Deli or not, one thing is certain: Sweet cheese blintzes ($7.50) showered with powdered sugar and lemon should end every meal.