Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, October 2

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« DMK Burger Introduces the Chilaquiles Brunch Burger Friday Foodporn: Love is All Around »

Review Thu Feb 13 2014

Exploring Food at Frontier

dsc_0636.jpg Frontier in West Town is aptly named. Merriam-Webster defines frontier as "a new field for exploitative or developmental activity" and that's exactly what Chef Brian Jupiter ("Jup") accomplishes at his restaurant. His winter menu features exotic proteins normally found in the wilderness, and his recipes push the boundaries of culinary excellence. Dishes featuring alpaca, boar, venison, elk, and rabbit may seem pretentious (maybe even obnoxious), but the concept is based on Southern comfort food and presented in a relatively traditional fashion.

For dinner, my party and I shared crawfish and shrimp hushpuppies with blue crab tartar sauce, a kale and apple salad (urban till chives, dried mulberries, candied apricot kernels, jamon, goat cheese), alpaca sausage (with pumpernickel bread, bourbon onion jam, caraway kraut, and house giardinera), elk shepherd's pie, fried chicken with honey glaze, alligator scaloppini (with cheddar gnocchi and tomato buerre blanc), and cauliflower with hazelnuts and goat cheese.

dsc_0644.jpgTo describe the food as delicious is cliché and prosaic, but it truly applies in this case. Despite wanting to disparage at least one dish, every single plate managed to surprise my seasoned palate with a unique twist on flavors and textures. The cauliflower wasn't roasted to buttery smithereens, still retaining a springy bounce natural to this cruciferous vegetable.

The elk tasted much like braised goat shank, bathed in a light yet creamy mixture of mashed potatoes and jack cheese. The fried chicken was coated with a spicy Cajun batter, drizzled with a subtle maple glaze that didn't hit the palate until a few chews in.

dsc_0647.jpg The alligator scaloppini tasted like a fishier chicken, which paired very well with the citrusy-sweet buerre blanc. The alpaca tasted unsurprisingly lean, and though I prefer fattier sausages, this meat tube worked because it was well-spiced. Interestingly, my favorite "dish" was the spicy housemade giardinera, a pickled medley containing my favorite kitchen staple: fish sauce.

dsc_0630.jpgJupiter shows impeccable dexterity with flavors and textures--meat with alcohol, savory with acid, crunchy with chewy. It all works. The modest use of butter (no flavor deficiencies to cover up) was also a relief. A timid diner might find the menu rather intimidating, but if you're looking for a great meal in West Town, it would be such a shame not to explore Frontier.

GB store
GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

GB store



Drive-Thru on Flickr

Join the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

About Drive-Thru

Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Robyn Nisi,
Drive-Thru staff inbox:



 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15