Written byClaire Schlafly
Much like Brian Urlacher’s coverage or Dennis Rodman’s hair, Dusek’s has range. You want to know what Dusek’s is good for? It’s good for literally everything. And we mean that, literally. We’d take our friends, we’d take our parents, we’d take a date, have a girls night out, or go for a casual brunch hang. We once went three times in 36 hours simply because we could, and we do whatever we want. Dusek’s easily handles lunch, dinner, and late night shenanigans like a champ, deeming itself a true triple threat. With great food, an extensive drinks menu, and chill clientele, Dusek’s Board & Beer has it all, including an attached concert venue, Thalia Hall.
Dusek's is so versatile because, much like the food, the atmosphere is funky, confident, and doesn't take itself too seriously. And it's the vibes from both the food and atmosphere that make Dusek's a cool place to hang out no matter the situation or who you're with. Just because Dusek's is trendy and in Pilsen doesn’t mean it’s hipster, so let go of the pencil stache and Coke bottle glasses illusion right now. The main dining area is warm and twinkly with exposed bulb lighting and a beautiful gold tin ceiling. Seating ranges from community tables to high tops to booths, all with ample space that helps maintain a level of comfortable intimacy. The service is witty and friendly, and for all you gluten hatin’ vegans, they’re extremely accommodating to food allergies and dietary restrictions.
The menu is seasonal and ever-changing, so you might not encounter the same items we have in the Food Rundown below. Just know that ingredients are high quality, dishes are creative, and portions are substantial. Some dishes are victims to ingredient overdose, but we’re alright with it. We’d rather have them swinging for the fences than serving the same old same old. Plus, for the caliber and size of your meal, Dusek’s is a steal.
Before you leave, you must also make a stop to the basement bar, Punch House, where they serve up a variety of tasty and deceptively strong alcoholic punches on tap. Snag a glass and some churros and stake your claim on a couch next to the spitfire DJ.
Saffron Poached Squid
Dusek’s makes a mean tender squid with flavors reminiscent of the hood, like chorizo, potatoes, and Romesco. We rarely think squid is beautiful, but this is one fine looking dish.
A fresh mix of green veggies, like peas and asparagus, plus garlic and ricotta. It’s hard to make gnocchi feel spring-like, but they do. In general, Dusek’s does pasta well.
Wood Roasted Blue Crab Dip
First, you take the large, soft, crusty bread, and dip it in the huge lumps of baked crab and slightly browned, gooey cheese. Then, you eat the dip by the spoonful. Last, you use your thumb to finish off the remnants. Repeat with round two.
MUSSELS AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD YO. They’re plump, juicy, smoky, and enormous. Don’t be ashamed to lick it straight off the shell either - we do.
Eh, it’s good, but we like our tagines swimming in sauces and stews. This is more of a hearty vegetable cous cous salad with pine nuts and feta. We’d pick it last in a gym class full of varsity athletes.
Sound the alarm - there’s a new burger in town. Okay, maybe it’s not new, but we hadn’t heard any hype beforehand. While it looks unassuming, it’s an explosion of salty meaty cheesy goodness, as cheddar spills out the middle of two patties covered with a bacon marmalade.
Pave of Braised Veal Breast
A flavorful hunk of veal with a hen egg next to a large bone filled with buttery, fatty marrow covered in some marmalade. As an added bonus, you get a colorful carrots parsnips salad, plus panisse, which are little fried balls of chickpea heaven that we’d store in our pockets akin to Napoleon Dynamite and his tots.
Roasted Chili Churros
Come to Pilsen and don’t get churros? You cray. Dusek’s churros should make the neighborhood proud. The cold dark chocolate sorbet is a nice bittersweet contrast to the sweet, soft fried churros.
Like we mentioned, Dusek’s is a great spot to bury the scaries. Start with the beignets, which are slightly undercooked in the best way that baked goods can be. Move on to the chorizo breakfast sandwich or the Korean fried chicken and waffle.