Some restaurants are so good they’re worth going out of your way for. And then there’s an even higher echelon - for places serving things you want so badly, you’d knock your own mother out of the way to eat them. Or at least think about it. We know this sounds dramatic, but a lot of the food at Homestyle Taste falls into this category.
The menu at this small, casual restaurant in Bridgeport is long. You’ll want to approach it with some kind of a game plan, because while service is friendly, it’s also very efficient. In other words, you get the sense they’d like you to hurry the f*ck up and place your order. Start with the fantastic steam soup buns, also known as soup dumplings. Not only is the filling delicious, but the dough is also just the right thickness to prevent any liquid from leaking out. Anything that involves their excellent noodles will make you happy, too. They’re perfectly chewy, and the texture holds on to whatever delicious sauce or soup they’re in. (Our favorite is the combination noodle soup with pork, shrimp, and crab.)
There are plenty of other things on the menu you could easily become obsessed with. Like the tender, spicy cumin lamb. Boneless pieces of lamb are perfectly seasoned, and served with just enough szechuan peppers to balance out the fattiness of the meat. The dry chili chicken is another hit - it’s fried perfectly, and mouth-numbingly spicy (so consider saving this for last). Some dishes aren’t completely successful - like the mapo tofu and the General Tso’s chicken, both of which have extremely thick sauces. But the things Homestyle Taste gets right far outweigh these issues.
The space is snug and sparsely decorated, with some lanterns hanging from the ceiling and a few pictures on the wall. They do a big takeout business, which means you’ll see plenty of people coming, going, and standing in the middle of the restaurant waiting for their orders. If you’ve traveled to visit this place, the most annoying thing about all the foot traffic will be knowing that these customers probably live close enough to come here all the time.
Homestyle Taste is a destination restaurant in the truest sense. Once you have some of the dishes here stuck in your head, you won’t be happy until you’re eating them again. Not a lot of restaurants are capable of inspiring this kind of devotion. So come here, and plan on subsequently irritating everyone by comparing all future dumplings you eat to the ones at this restaurant.
This scallion pancake is on the thicker, chewier side. It’s perfect for taking the edge off any spicy dish.
Also known as xiao long bao, or soup dumplings. The worst thing about these dumplings is that they’ll likely ruin you for all other dumplings.
The long pot stickers are pork links wrapped in dough and pan fried. They’re tasty, but don’t choose them over the soup dumplings. Just get both.
The soups at Homestyle Taste are fantastic, and our favorite is the combination noodle. It’s full of pork, shrimp, and crab in a spicy broth. The slow build of spice and the chewy noodles make this something we’d line up early to eat if we had to.
Boneless pieces of lamb seasoned with cumin, and served with bell peppers, onions, and szechuan peppers. The lamb is slightly fatty, and the overall spice level isn’t too aggressive. If you like lamb even a little bit, you need to order this.
The beef hot pot comes with beef tendon, szechuan peppers, potatoes, and chunks of beef in a rich brown sauce. It’s spicy, and served with cornbread that helps mitigate the spice level. This is what you want when it’s winter in Chicago.
The sauce here is too thick, and for mapo tofu, it’s also not as spicy as you might expect.
We really like this dish. It’s simple - fried chicken pieces topped with a pile of szechuan peppers. Hold on to a scallion pancake wedge to take the edge off the spice.
Crispy and not at all greasy. This is basically a mashed sweet potato fritter. It’s very sweet, and we like having bites of it between savory dishes - like a very delicious palate cleanser.
The sauce here has the same overly thick quality you’ll find in the mapo tofu. Not our favorite version of the dish, and not what you need to order when you’re here.