Chicago’s Signature Dishes: The warm pretzel trio and pastrami French dip at Timothy O’Toole’s
A tasty glimpse at a pair of standout dishes from a popular Chicago establishment
By Trent Modglin
622 N. Fairbanks
A Chicago favorite for more than two decades, this subterranean Streeterville pub is proud of its diverse menu, and for good reason. With more than 70 HD TVs, 48 beers on tap and a weekend brunch with a build-your-own mimosa and bloody Mary bar, it’s quite the destination.
Warm pretzel trio
While I don’t often go searching pretzels out on a menu, I admit I have a fondness for these salty, doughy appetizers. But O’Toole’s doesn’t follow the normal, mundane protocol for pretzels. Theirs are bit-sized, fried to a slight crisp on the outside and perfectly soft and warm on the inside. When accompanied by a trio of sauces (hello, beer cheese fondue!) and shared with friends, they are delectable. Or as my friend Mark eloquently put it, “Simply the best pretzels in the history of bar food.”
Pastrami French dip
You may think most French dip sandwiches are a dime a dozen, but not if they’re done right like O’Toole’s version of this classic, consisting of shaved pastrami, mozzarella, horseradish aioli and au jus on a French roll. The bread is perfectly flaky, the cheese melted, the pastrami tender. The aioli and au jus are perfect complements to this sandwich, which comes with a side like fries, tots, coleslaw, housemade chips, fresh veggies or black beans and rice.