THE MOD SQUAD
Byline: Kristin Larson
If the Jetsons owned a restaurant, it would look like Mod.With quirky details like red bubble-wrap-like wallpaper, curved plastic wall dividers with peekaboo holes and wide-angle mirrors, this Wicker Park hangout is gaining as much attention for its interior design as its traditional, yet inventive menu.
“When people think ‘mod,’ they think Sixties fashion,” said Kristin Skrainy, a partner and manager of Mod. “But we don’t want to alienate anyone — whether that means Mod in the Sixties or in the year 2000.”
So while cocktail music that may have played decades ago swirls into the dining room, Chef Kelly Courtney turns out traditional modern American dishes with a definite upbeat flair.
“People often ask what modern American cuisine is,” said Skrainy. “We say it’s really simple dishes done with the freshest ingredients.”
A quick glance at the menu proves that one stop at Mod may not be enough.
Some of the most popular appetizers include the “ham and eggs” made with prosciutto ($6.50), the iron-skillet-roasted black mussels ($7.50) and the crispy fried Blue Lake green beans ($6.50). Some entree hits include the grilled double-cut pork chop with Indiana white corn ($17), roasted New Zealand Rainbow Snapper ($22.50), and the “Texas truck stop” jumbo Ribeye chop ($26).
And diners whose yearnings tend toward the sweetly nostalgic may want to save room for dessert. Pastry Chef Nancy Silver whips up delights like baked alaska with a chocolate-espresso cake base ($5.50), a tropical banana split with passionfruit ice cream ($6.50) and pumpkin bread pudding ($7).
Like the menu, the restaurant interior is a marriage of past and present.
The contemporary design, replete with a partition wall made from recycled detergent bottles, plastic swivel chairs and a bar lit by a cluster of inflatable lamps, scream retro, yet reflect architect/designer Suhail’s vision for modernism.
“Modernism to me is about color, light and the available technologies to process materials — and utilizing these resources in innovative ways,” noted Suhail, whose projects also include the sleek restaurant Tizi Melloul and trendy p.45. “This is the fundamental concept for Mod.” 1520 North Damen Avenue; (773) 252-1500.