Worth the Ride: Go 4 Food, Chinatown

Chinatown is one Chicago's most fertile zones for food exploration

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By David Hammond

Chinatown. An exotic name with a far away feel that's actually just minutes away from Oak Park.

Chinatown is one of Chicago's most fertile zones for food exploration, with a regularly refreshed lineup of new restaurants and some old standbys, many of which are way worth the visit for the new foods and flavors we always discover.

The oddly named Go 4 Food has been around a little under two years, and we stopped by last Christmas Eve.

Like the name of the restaurant, a dished titled "Fried Silverfish" seems unlikely to attract more than a quizzical glance…but we loved these slivers (of white fish, not the bathtub insect) fried crisp and served with sliced jalapenos, which elevated this dish considerably.

Egg drop soup was pointless, but what the hell did we expect? I'm not sure I've ever had a good version of this dish, but it's not beyond the realm of the possible.

We had the "French" beef tenderloin, which is marinated steak chunks, crispy and simple, served over lettuce, tomato and raw onion. I found myself going back throughout the meal for more of this food. I asked the nice hostess lady about the provenance of this entrée, and she said it was actually inspired by a Vietnamese dish developed during the Gallic occupation of Indo-China. Whatever, it was tasty.

The vegetable "sphere" was a construction that may very well have been traditional Chinese but I'd never had it before. It was a mass of vegetables, with many types of mushroom (I counted five), under a sheet of tofu "skin." It was cool; it was odd, and it was enhanced with tableside chili sauce (which packed some heat and helped bump up some of Go 4 Food's more moderately flavored dishes).

A surprise favorite was the tofu "stuffed with meat," which turned out to be a kind of whipped tofu with herbs and chunks of Chinese sausage, fried and served with sweet-sour sauce. I ate a lot of these plump brown blimps of tastiness. I really liked the texture, and it was fun running into little blasts of the sausage in the midst of the creamy tofu.

I enjoyed this place quite a lot. The prices are reasonable, it's BYOB, and the menu offered some surprises…and that's always a good thing.

Go 4 Food. Worth the ride. About 40 minutes by CTA, Ridgeland Green Line to State-Lake Red to Chinatown – or you can drive it in about 20 minutes.

Go 4 Food

212 West 23rd Street Chicago, IL 60616

(312) 842-8688

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