Giant is a tiny restaurant with big flavors.
Located on Armetage in Logan square. Giant has gotten a good amount of critical acclaim, and for good reason. The food is delicious, the space is small but comfortable, the atmosphere is mellow and controlled.
Lets start at the line. There are four stations. Starting from the back, Oven, Pasta, Protein, Fry/expo. Oven bakes stuff and does cold dishes, pasta does pasta stuff, Protein cooks most of the big protein dishes ( Think Swordfish, Scallops, pork), and fry does all the fry things and expos.
This line runs incredibly smooth. Everything is incredibly fast. They run an order fire system (blog coming about that soon), and everything is fast. The menu is small and well thought out. Everything is made in house, Including the bread. It is obviously a love song to food.
The Chef’s/Owners are Benjamin Lustbader and Jason Vincent. These are some serious heavy hitters. They were both at Nightwood, a restaurant that was in pilsen, it’s closed since. J.V. Won a Food and Wine award, and Ben has also worked for One Off at Publican Quality Meats. These guys know how to cook, and it shows.
The food itself is best described as Americana with a twist. There are a lot of items that feel really homey. Like mom made it, but mom loves big spice exotic ingredients. There is deffinitely an asian undercurrrent that runs through the menu as well.
The menu is super unique. It feels like the Chefs put all of the things they like on the menu, from ribs to orzo, grilled swordfish to fried butter. A lot of the dishes have a really really cool twist. Fried butter is made with uni and then paired with an acidic cucumber salad, The scallops are made with orange oil and Cojita. Or they are just really solid cooking, like the pork ribs, done with pickles, baked beans and killer slightly spicy BBQ sauce.
The food is awesome, but the Pasta is where everything really comes together. They make all of their pasta in house, down to the orzo. They cook the pasta to order and make the sauces for the pasta with the water. This is how I like my pasta. It takes a lot of skill to make pasta like this in a busy restaurant. Every pasta has to be tasted and adjusted, and you are relying heavily on the skill set of that specific cook. It’s fantastic.
The thing that I took from Giant was that Ben and J.V. rely on the raw talent of their cooks. They spend most of their day guiding the cooks into the best path to succede and then they let them go, watching carefully as they grow, getting them back on the best path as they stray away.
Just so everyone gets the Idea of what kind of restaurant this is, the plating is rustic, ment to look untouched, like it just fell onto the plate and J.V. , one of the chef owners, was running food in his hoodie.
Giant is a magical little restaurant.