Upon entering Little Bad Wolf, sounds of grunge-rock transition into reggae beats. The mixing of totally different styles of music hint at the fusion culinary experience to come immediately after stepping off the streets of Andersonville, a Swedish neighborhood in the Chicago area.
From the first glance at the menu, it’s clear that LBW means business: cocktails, drafts, whiskey and wine each have their own extensive menu, and give customers a lot to think about even before looking at the unique food options.
Once customers do get past the drink menus, they find an intriguing offering of American bar food with both Asian and Latin American influences. Owner Sol Ashbach explained the creative process that led to LBW’s unique menu.
“At the beginning, we said, “Lets try these tacos out, try these baos out, try these burgers out.” We expected to make a lot of these things and find things that didn’t work. But once we put the menu together, we realized that the ingredients are so cross-utilized that its really quite easy for us to do it,” Ashbach said.
We tried to get a taste of all that LBW had to offer, which meant sampling from American, Asian and Mexican flavors.
The tacos and baos (steamed, filled buns popular in China) came on an artfully-styled platter; each fresh ingredient was on full display and tasted even better than it looked.
The chicken taco had a kick of spice from pickled jalepeños, which was kept under control with the help of cotija cheese (a hard cow’s milk cheese originating in Mexico).
A deep purple mound of pickled cabbage sat atop the shrimp taco, providing a slightly acidic, fresh flavor to the sweet-savory honey bacon mayo and cotija cheese.
For the vegetarian crowd, LBW even offers a potato taco. Complete with guacamole, grape tomatoes and cotija cheese, even meat-eaters will enjoy this unique option.
Little Bad Wolf didn’t leave Asian flavors out of the picture. The shrimp bao contained avocado and a ginger soy reduction, perfectly pairing the fluffy bun and creamy avocado with salty shrimp and savory sauce.
Another of LBW’s vegetarian options is the unique Grilled Hearts of Romaine. It’s exactly what it sounds like: the chef takes a large heart of romaine, throws it on the grill, and tops it with fresh corn, grape tomatoes, gorgonzola, vinaigrette and a balsamic reduction.
The grill gives a charred, savory flavor to the romaine, which is complemented by the acidic tomatoes and balsamic reduction. This dish is a perfect option for someone looking for a lighter dish that still packs a ton of strong flavor.
For the brave of heart (and arteries), LBW offers a monstrosity called The Wolf Burger. This hefty sandwich features three patties with bacon, American cheese, onions, pickles and a fried egg.
Talk about #foodporn.
Overall, Andersonville’s Little Bad Wolf provides both a unique atmosphere and an extremely varied and delicious dining experience. The fun cocktails and bar food explode with flavor, and the company varies from college kids to families to seniors. There’s a table – and a dish – for everyone.
As owner Sol Ashbach said, “We all live our lives in restaurants and bars. We celebrate, we meet people, make up, we break up, we go to have fun and we go to be alone. And at some restaurants, you can get lightning in a bottle. I think that’s what we have here.”