Five-way Cincinatti-style chili goes North Side
I've had "real" Cincinatti-style chili on only one occasion, in the food court of the far flung Cincinatti-Northern Kentucky airport. I have almost no idea what sets one kind of Cincinatti-style chili plate apart from the next, so my last visits to Cinners and Chili Mac in Chicago were not so much to experience genuine Ohio-style eatin' as much as to fill the void that's my constant companion. Let the battle begin.
Cinners Chili Parlour (CLOSED), 4757 N. Talman Ave.
Having been a patron since its opening in 2008, my typical visit to Cinners is marked by perplexion at the wait for the food to arrive, discomfort with the relatively high prices, and confusion with the bland taste. Cincy-style chili meat is suppsed to be soupy due to its orgins as a hot dog condiment, but the ground beef broth here is thin and nearly flavorless. The cheese, meanwhile, is clumpy and the pasta is more filler than food.
Chili Mac's 5-Way Chili (CLOSED), 3152 N. Broadway
Well into its second decade in business, Chili Mac must be doing something right. You'll find it in the zesty ground beef, the flavorful shredded cheese and the delicate bed of thin spaghetti. The prices are on the money, too, prompting me to conclude my most recent visit with a bowl to go. The different sizes and heat levels are a nice touch and the expedient service is more than welcome when all you want is to chow down.
At last glance, Cinner's is now called Monti's and serving $11 Philly cheese steaks. Yes, $11.