It's hard to find a dedicated Jamaican restaurant in most neighborhoods in Chicago, let alone a good one. And while there's probably a hole-in-the-wall chicken joint that has a jerk chicken sauce to die for, chances are you're still searching.
Mr. Brown's Lounge makes a strong case for itself through its sauce alone – a tangy, fiery blend that's balanced perfectly and doesn't smack of sugar underneath. You can order it on the wings - $10, but half off on Thursdays, or $.50 per wing on Sundays) or you if you're really in the mood for a bun, get it on a burger or veggie burger ($10 and $9 respectively. The $2 cocoa bread side doesn't pack much flavor, but the island-style mac and cheese has plenty of kick for $7. If you're settling in for dinner, you can go all out and get the oxtail stewed in brown sauce with buttered beans, or even curried bone-in goat marinated in Jamaican seasonings and curry spices (both $15).
While there are plenty of tables in the back, the comfy couches along the wall and posh bar stools lend themselves to a lounge-type atmosphere. Cocktails run on the expensive side – the signature Mr. Brown is a mix of Cognac, Bailey's and Kahlua for $12. Sundays are a little kinder, with bloody Marys, mimosas, and Heineken all for four bucks apiece. And in case you were wondering what they did with all those records on the wall, Thursday through Sunday have live DJs spinning with no cover.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Dan Morgridge