Down and dirty with burgers, bone innards, flaming hot pasta, and America’s least favorite vegetable. Truck-free street food we might have considered eating off the asphalt.*
‘Elevated street food’ is yet another concept people are nuts over right now. Despite the sad lack of trucks in Chicago, street food love has been around awhile, so this isn’t exactly surprising. But what is responsible for ‘elevating’ street food? WTF is this?
The answer: it’s just meat. Elevated street food is nonstop gourmet meat.
The Peasantry is brought to you by the sausage gods behind Franks ‘N’ Dawgs, so being good at meat is a given. But it’s more than just tubes of meat: it’s duck wings, frog legs, chicken livers, lamb tongues, lamb, rabbit… all meat, of all forms. Including a burger, made of ground-up hanger steak and bone marrow. There’s a lot to say about that.
Normally we are barbarians with marrow. We go to fucking town on bones with the baby spoon and usually eat it like gravy on grilled bread and some kind of jam. Here, it’s just… in there already. The burger itself is a ground steak/marrow patty (not a slab of hanger steak or anything) topped with shallot marmalade, pickled cauliflower, arugula, and manchego. We got a lamb burger, which is loaded with onion and topped with olive aioli, green garlic, red onion, and asparagus pistou. In general we try to eat everything with our hands (cue: “your hands can do so many, many things” theme music) and we feel like shameful failures when we are forced to use silverware. The lamb burger is a fork burger, no question. We got over ourselves.
Given our bizarre obsession with America’s most hated vegetable (the one and only brussels sprouts), we ordered a brussels sprouts salad too, for some non-meat crunch. Then asparagus pasta, because why the hell not? It was rich and topped in crusty bread — carbs with a side of carbs — tossed with a hot, peppery romesco. (Incidentally, we have learned in our time that you can’t sweat hot food and still be ladylike. You must glisten. This is a fine line and an art form. Keep this in mind before you order asparagus pasta.)
The only option for dessert is a deconstructed candy bar platter. Loads of chocolate. Naked Twix. All good things provided you aren’t deathly allergic to nuts. Pickled lamb tongue flatbread and gourmet pigs in a blanket went by, but as we only do a seventh course if it consists of a bologna sandwich, we were forced to pass.
At 6:30 on a Friday, there were only seats at the big wooden communal table, which was fine. The atmosphere is the same wood/jar lights/graffiti thing, except here, there is a bigass kangaroo and an octopus on the wall. What makes this place cool is that they manage to keep shit interesting, even when we think we’ve seen it before. French fries? NBD, just waffle fries smothered in truffle oil, truffle salt, and a side of truffle butter, Franks ‘N’ Dawgs style. But something like pigs in a blanket: probably super gourmet delicious hot dogs, right? If these guys do hot dogs, that would make sense. And you would be WRONG. It is FUCKING CHORIZO in there, smothered in poblano crema and served with pancetta beans.
We want them bad.
Bottom line, it’s weird and great and pretty cheap ($5 beers, come on now) and we love it. Street food doesn’t need to be served out of a truck to kick ass. Which is great, because the trucks are never where we need them to be.
*at least, Mariah would, provided it fell within the limits of her 15-second rule.