Drop Pin is a running feature in which we enlist some of our Chicago friends to take us on a tour of their favorite spots in and around the city. This week we link up with Aaron Firestein, co-owner of local footwear startup Bucketfeet. A current Lakeview resident, Firestein is a constant source of tips for restaurants and things to do around the city and beyond which made him a no-brainer for this series. A true world traveler that has built one of the fastest-growing companies in the country, Aaron is definitely someone to take seriously when a recommendation is offered. With that in mind, we give you three of his favorites from in and around the neighborhoods of Chicago.
Veneno de Nayarit
This is probably my favorite restaurant in Chicago, mostly because it's great for groups, it's BYOB, it's lively and the food is fantastic. Nayarit is a region in Mexico that kills it with seafood, and this place doesn't disappoint. Definitely get the prawns or octopus in the Nayarit-style. They won't tell you what's in the heavily-guarded secret sauce, so don't try to figure it out. The stuffed pineapple is ridiculous too.
Have you had Kyrgyz food before? Doubtful. I certainly hadn't until I tried this place. Another BYOB spot that's good for groups, Jibek Jolu (which means Silk Road), has some of the most flavorful, unique food I've ever had. Get the noodles, the dumplings, the meat skewers, the carrot salad, the bread, everything. Also, if you want to fit in, bring a couple bottles of vodka.
San Soo Gab San
Korean BBQ might be one of the best things ever. There's a sizable Korean population in Chicago, and after asking around, this spot kept popping up as a place to check out. Before you even begin ordering, your table is covered with about 30 small plates with zero explanation of what you're about to eat. All the standards are delicious here: bibimbap, bulgogi, hot pots. Not BYOB, but the soju is cheap and the beer is cold.