On the one hand, Dusek’s is simply a great gastropub, serving food that is as comforting and down-to earth as one of their wood fire-roasted pretzels, tucked with gooey cheese and hot beer mustard. On the other hand, this is just the place to meet friends or grab a bite before heading to a concert at Thalia Music Hall, located next door. The fact that this spot is named for the man who founded the original venue back in 1892 shows the importance of this connection—those in-the-know are usually headed here before or after a show. The space seems dark and moody, but everyone is having a rollicking good time. The front room feels more like a tavern; the back is a dining room warmed by the wood-burning ovens. Yet both share that same convivial ambience and superb service. Menu pleasers include chicken fried rabbit, tender and crackling like few other fried birds, on a bed of hoppin' John risotto flecked with charred okra for a homey, smoky side. Warm, soaked in rum, and hiding a mound of mascarpone with cocoa nibs, the tiramisu cruller is intensely good. The craft beer selection is terrific, with mostly local varieties, so ask your server for pairing suggestions and you won't go wrong.
- MICHELIN guide inspectors