2018 W Chicago Ave
It’s not often that you enter a restaurant to find a wall entirely covered with Arabic versions of 1980s film posters. But, as you can see below, that’s exactly what you see when you walk into Chickpea, a cool Lebanese eatery in Ukrainian Village. Tucked into the corner is a pinball machine and colorful glass lanterns hang from the ornate tin ceiling. It’s a pretty cool space, and somehow manages to retain a vintage feel – even with airbrushed posters of Bruce Willis looming large.
At Chickpea, you place your order at the counter, and grab a number. A cooler of international sodas like Vimta are available in a fridge next to the counter. The wait time was very quick, perhaps sped along by a few games of pinball. We started out with an order of Koosa ma Laban ($4), a dip made of yogurt, zucchini and mint. It came to the table with a basket of pita, which we utilized for dipping into the rest of our main courses. The Koosa ma Laban reminded us of the more familiar Indian dish raita, but with a chunkier texture. We gobbled up the dip, and it bears noting that we were particularly smitten with the plate it came on – an orange Moroccan-inspired plate from CB2.
Back to the food…for an entree, L ordered the Falafel platter ($6). It came out on a bed of hummus, spiced with green chili sauce and cumin. They were not kidding by calling that green sauce ‘spicy’ – it was hot (hot enough for fire-breather M, even). For his entree, M ordered the Saturday special of the Palestinian national dish, Mussakhkhan ($12). Mussakhkhan is chicken roasted with sumac and pine nuts, served on a round of flatbread. We haven’t seen Mussakhkhan at any other middle eastern restaurants in town so it was a treat to try. It came loaded with perfectly caramelized onions that M especially liked. Chickpea really impressed us. It was quick cheap and tasty, and with free pinball. Whenever were in Ukrainian Village we will certainly be hitting this place up for some Nosh.