IT'S NOT OFTEN (OK, never) that I feel the urge to call out a restaurant dish for being too big. But there I was at Humboldt Park’s Heritage Restaurant and Caviar Bar telling chef and owner Guy W. Meikle (formerly of Nana) that his hot smoked lake trout served with warm housemade brown bread, butter, potato chips and pickles was generous for its $6 price tag. “We want this to be a neighborhood place and for people to come back often,” he responded. I simply nodded, as my mouth was full of the wonderfully smoky fish, punched up with lime zest and a dusting of togarashi. The neighborly vibe also extends to the restaurant’s hours, as it’s open for breakfast (I’ve got my eye on the duck confit biscuits and gravy, and khachapuri cheese bread topped with an egg and farmer cheese), lunch and dinner. There’s a daily happy hour from 3:30 to 5:30pm too. The caviar part of the equation might seem out of place, but it’s a nod to Chicago’s Eastern European population. And with a variety of options and price points to choose from—ranging from wild golden whitefish from Michigan to Imperial Siberian from Germany—it aims to please.
Pair it with a shot of house-infused vodka for the full experience. Eastern Europe is also deliciously represented in the seasonal pierogies. On my visit, the two plump dumplings were filled with ricotta and paired with crunchy radish chips, sauerkraut and bits of roasted cauliflower. Heartier dishes include wood-roasted duck and pan-fried lake perch. You’d be smart to save room for pastry chef Alan Krueger’s terrific baked Alaska. It is, after all, the neighborly thing to do. 2700 W. Chicago Ave., 773.661.9577