Dove’s Luncheonette is a strange and confusing place. We don’t necessarily mean it in a bad way, we just mean it in the strange and confusing way. There are two possibilities for how the idea of Dove’s came about. Bear with us for a second. One: Dove’s is the threesome lovechild of Frida Kahlo, Jerry Jones, and Muddy Waters. Or, Option Two: Paul Kahan said “F*ck it, I’m Paul Kahan, people love The Publican, Avec, Blackbird, and Big Star, and they’ll like this too.” Then he threw darts at a choose your own adventure board and hit Tex-Mex Food + Old School Soda Shop Lunch Counter + Chicago Blues Music. These are the only two possible explanations for how you get a 1960′s counter style restaurant serving Tex-Mex food with some banging saxophone and harmonica in the background.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we are happy to report that, for the most part, we like the food at this crazy *ss joint. Calling the food Tex- Mex probably doesn’t do Dove’s justice, so the restaurant more eloquently describes it as “Southern-inspired Mexican cuisine.” That means you’re ordering dishes like chuleta de puerco, and chicken fried chicken in chorizo verde gravy. But some dishes work better than others. While the chicken fried chicken is a beautiful marriage of Southern-style fried chicken in a Mexican inspired gravy, the pork chop was sloppily paired with some Mexican black rice and mojo sauce that don’t add anything to the dish. We applaud the experimental combinations, but not all experiments are meant for the light of day.
Our biggest problem with Dove’s is that it’s a bit of a Perfect For conundrum. Heavy Mexican food at a restaurant with one small table and 41 counter stools only lends itself to so many situations. It’s definitely Perfect For Dining Solo, and we’d even hit it up on the weekends for some coffee and brunch, but other than that, it’s kind of a wildcard. The side-by-side counter seats are ideal for getting to know a date, but we won’t go so far to say the heavy style comfort food is ideal for breaking the ice. What we do know is that Dove’s is 100% unique, and that alone coupled with enough good food is reason to at least check it out.
The ceviche was OK. Serrano chiles give it a nice kick, but we probably wouldn’t order it again.
Roasted and chilled beets with pickled raisins, mint, sesame seeds, and a mole sauce. Crazy good beets appetizer.
A side of crispy fried potatoes with shishito peppers, aioli, and a bit of queso fresco. All potatoes should taste like these.
A great side of blood sausage for $4. Or make a meal of it by ordering the Pepper and Potato Hash with two fried eggs on top and a side of this blood sausage. Boom. Chronic Brunch.
A giant brisket taco sandwich type of ordeal. The flour tortilla was a little too bread-like, almost like a taco-pita. The brisket was alright, but the combination as a whole didn’t do it for us.
Our favorite main dish. Buttermilk fried chicken smothered in chorizo verde gravy with sweet peas and pearl onions. Juicy chicken with a nice fry and stick-to-your-ribs tasty gravy.
Marinated pork chop with a fried egg over the top, plus black rice and some caramelized vidalia onions. Decent piece of meat, but rather uneventful.
This Pozole is basically the Mexican equivalent of ramen. Braised pork shoulder in a guajillo chile broth. Good meat, great spices, and surprisingly not too heavy.