3800 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613
Paleo Friendly Restaurant: Uncommon Ground (Chicago)
Restaurant: Uncommon Ground
Location: 3800 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613
Recently, a fellow Paleo-ista was telling me about some of the awesome times he was having in the beautiful state of Hawaii. Man, do I wish I could be there. Sitting on the beach with sand under my feet and the hot glow of the sun keeping me warm. Living in Chiberia, just the mention of Hawaii is a welcome thought, especially being in the middle of our Chicago winter.
A couple weeks prior to this dinner, my friend sent me a text to let me know that he was flying into town and would like to get together. Is he crazy? Why would he want to leave the beautiful sun and sand for the bitter cold and relentless wind? Well, regardless of his sanity, I had to make sure his trip back was worthwhile. I dove into the task of finding an ideal location (near Wrigleyville) for our guest while staying true to Paleo and getting a room large enough to accommodate a group of about twenty Paleo Chicago folks who were joining us. This wouldn’t be so difficult if price was a non-issue, but in this economy, it is. So, this is how my journey began.
After spending several hours methodically wading through the massive amount of options, searching for the perfect Paleo friendly restaurant, I was relieved to find a place called Uncommon Ground. Their name actually says it all.
What’s uncommon you ask? Well, first they have a private party room and two separate bar areas. It’s closer to a current day speakeasy without the fear of the Untouchables Agents creeping at the door.
A key factor in my choice was that they carry Q7 Farms grass-fed beef and locally raised and sustainable greens. The fact that their staff was quite pleasant throughout our high maintenance demands was simply a bonus! I felt a little like a “well-respected” 1920’s gangster. Chock full of confidence with the aura of fame.
What To Order?
So what would this imaginary wealthy gangster order if he could get his pick? This gangster got himself a Duroc Pork Chop and a sampling of the Crispy Duck Leg Confit.
The Crispy Duck Leg Confit with root vegetables was braised with Klug farm apples, seedling bosc pears, savoy cabbage, and topped with a cranberry compote. Sweet, savory and to the point. Soft textures were abound with every bite and yet a boldness existed from the complexity that duck inherently has. Slight gaminess and meaty, but with the joy of an earthy fatness, of course lightly salted. My only gripe was the overpowering sweetness of the pears and an under seasoned broth. I think a duck fat au jus generously showered over the cabbage would’ve just hit me like a Tommy Gun.
The second sampling was a Blackened Duroc Pork Chop with Green Acres sweet potato puree, wild mushrooms, local braised greens, and a Seedling Farm pear-cranberry sauce. Perfectly cooked with a carbonara crust and juicy middle. Salty and earthy like pork should be. The sweet potato puree gave this chop a wonderful counterpart giving me that sweet and salty I was craving. Here is where things got interesting. The mushrooms were quite bold in flavor and the greens were so good, they gave a bitterness that should be illegal.
One thing I know is that I truly enjoyed Uncommon Ground. It’s what I wish more burger/nighttime hangouts could be like. The food is affordable, tasty, and more importantly, sustainably sourced from local partners. And best of all, our Hawaiian buddy felt braving the cold was worth venturing out to be with us.
3800 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613