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SPONSORED: This Heatmap Shows 5 Spots Where You Can Order Secret, Off-Menu Specials In Chicago Right Now

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The coolest regulars at the coolest restaurants know something other diners don’t: secret, off-menu dishes that the chef is happy to whip up, if you know to ask. We’ve partnered with American Express — who knows how to properly reward obsessive diners* — to uncover off-menu specials at these restaurants around town. Here they are.

Head this way to watch La Sirena Clandestina's John Manion and Honey Butter Fried Chicken's Josh Kulp and Christine Cikowski create their off-menu delights.

Earn 2X points at US Restaurants with the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. Terms and limitations apply. Americanexpress.com/exploregold

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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La Sirena Clandestina

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Chef John Manion’s woody and warmly lit room serves Brazilian-inspired dishes like ceviche with homemade Saltines, and chicken leg and thigh with sausage, molho verde, and picked Fresno chili peppers. But, the best choice is to order off-menu and get "the big meat plate." It’s "really good cuts of meat, treated with respect," Manion says, and it’s designed to be shared with friends. Ask for it and you’ll get it, and you’ll also get new friends.

Furious Spoon

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In hip Wicker Park, this Tokyo-style ramen shop with a simple wood-lined counter, the brainchild of Michelin-starred chef Shin Thompson, features both cold bowls like hiyashi chuka (thin omelette, carrot, ham, sugar snap peas, cucumber, and nori with a soy mirin dressing) and hot ones like the Furious Ramen (spicy miso, chashu pork belly, white pepper chicken, poached eggs, marinated mushrooms, and garlic relish with a house “fury sauce." If you're looking for the miso ramen that once graced the original menu but has since disappeared, you can still order it. It's a combination of tonkotsu broth, miso, cha-sui pork belly, and pork fat mushrooms. Go ahead and ask.

Honey Butter Fried Chicken

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This wildly popular joint, complete with a patio, serves fried Amish chicken, butchered in-house, alongside corn muffins and homemade honey butter, plus great sides like pimento mac ’n’ cheese and roasted sweet potato salad with a cilantro lime vinaigrette. Because apparently people who have unlimited access to delicious honey butter fried chicken can eventually get tired of delicious honey butter fried chicken, two employees slapped together a sandwich from other things they could find in the kitchen. And now you can order it too. The Gio-Joe is buttermilk-brined chicken-thigh strips, sprinkled with smoked paprika, tossed with sweet chili sauce, and served with pea shoots on a garlic aioli-smeared bun.

Brindille

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Cousins Carrie and Michael Nahabedian bow to classic and detailed French cuisine in this elegantly contemporary space, with starters like foie gras and roasted peaches, veal sweetbreads, or a barigoule of scallops, and mains like whole roasted Dover sole meunière with green apple, cracked hazelnuts, Parisian potatoes, capers, and mâche. The wine and dessert lists are also outstanding. For a secret seasonal offering, order the Flavors of Fall with Warm Forelle Pear, Almond Cream and Cracked Hazelnut Clafoutis, Calvados and Pumpkin Seed Chantilly.

Found Kitchen & Social House

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Just outside Chicago proper, Amy Morton’s quirky, neo-Victorian restaurant, filled with old books, maps, and curiosities, has wowed locals with a local, seasonal, and highly affordable menu. There’s a strong accent on produce and grains, such as crispy pork belly with peaches, mustard, oat porridge, and arugula, or pan-seared ivory char with charred baby beets, Chinese broccoli, and aioli. For an off menu specialty try the Bacon and Leek Flat Bread with Pleasant Ridge Reserve Cheese.

La Sirena Clandestina

Chef John Manion’s woody and warmly lit room serves Brazilian-inspired dishes like ceviche with homemade Saltines, and chicken leg and thigh with sausage, molho verde, and picked Fresno chili peppers. But, the best choice is to order off-menu and get "the big meat plate." It’s "really good cuts of meat, treated with respect," Manion says, and it’s designed to be shared with friends. Ask for it and you’ll get it, and you’ll also get new friends.

Furious Spoon

In hip Wicker Park, this Tokyo-style ramen shop with a simple wood-lined counter, the brainchild of Michelin-starred chef Shin Thompson, features both cold bowls like hiyashi chuka (thin omelette, carrot, ham, sugar snap peas, cucumber, and nori with a soy mirin dressing) and hot ones like the Furious Ramen (spicy miso, chashu pork belly, white pepper chicken, poached eggs, marinated mushrooms, and garlic relish with a house “fury sauce." If you're looking for the miso ramen that once graced the original menu but has since disappeared, you can still order it. It's a combination of tonkotsu broth, miso, cha-sui pork belly, and pork fat mushrooms. Go ahead and ask.

Honey Butter Fried Chicken

This wildly popular joint, complete with a patio, serves fried Amish chicken, butchered in-house, alongside corn muffins and homemade honey butter, plus great sides like pimento mac ’n’ cheese and roasted sweet potato salad with a cilantro lime vinaigrette. Because apparently people who have unlimited access to delicious honey butter fried chicken can eventually get tired of delicious honey butter fried chicken, two employees slapped together a sandwich from other things they could find in the kitchen. And now you can order it too. The Gio-Joe is buttermilk-brined chicken-thigh strips, sprinkled with smoked paprika, tossed with sweet chili sauce, and served with pea shoots on a garlic aioli-smeared bun.

Brindille

Cousins Carrie and Michael Nahabedian bow to classic and detailed French cuisine in this elegantly contemporary space, with starters like foie gras and roasted peaches, veal sweetbreads, or a barigoule of scallops, and mains like whole roasted Dover sole meunière with green apple, cracked hazelnuts, Parisian potatoes, capers, and mâche. The wine and dessert lists are also outstanding. For a secret seasonal offering, order the Flavors of Fall with Warm Forelle Pear, Almond Cream and Cracked Hazelnut Clafoutis, Calvados and Pumpkin Seed Chantilly.

Found Kitchen & Social House

Just outside Chicago proper, Amy Morton’s quirky, neo-Victorian restaurant, filled with old books, maps, and curiosities, has wowed locals with a local, seasonal, and highly affordable menu. There’s a strong accent on produce and grains, such as crispy pork belly with peaches, mustard, oat porridge, and arugula, or pan-seared ivory char with charred baby beets, Chinese broccoli, and aioli. For an off menu specialty try the Bacon and Leek Flat Bread with Pleasant Ridge Reserve Cheese.

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