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  1. Photograph: Jill Paider
  2. Photograph: Martha Williams
  3. Photograph: Jill Paider

Three way | Finger limes

What local chefs are doing with finger limes


Unusual ingredients and preparations are nothing new for diners at Avenues. Even so, “nine out of ten tables ask to see a finger lime,” says chef Curtis Duffy. “We give a lot of them away.” Currently, Duffy’s using the fruit in a composed Japanese pumpkin soup that also includes a base of bitter chocolate custard, fried pumpkin seeds, crispy duck skin, a brioche crouton, red and green purslane, and a piece of duck confit. Because the limes are $35 a pound, Duffy makes the most of them, drying the rind and adding it to a savory waffle dish. 108 E Superior St (312-573-6754).

Epic’s Stephen Wambach has eaten all over the world, yet when a vendor of his, Midwest Foods, turned him onto finger limes, the chef was blown away. Wambach liked the digit-shaped fruit’s range of citrus flavor as well as the crunchy texture of the caviar-like beads inside the pods. After tasting it, Wambach thought the lime would be a perfect partner for his hamachi crudo appetizer. Turns out he was right: The dish, which also includes charred blood-orange segments, fried artichoke, Meyer lemon puree and shaved breakfast radishes, is the River North restaurant’s best-selling dish. 112 W Hubbard St (312-222-4940).

It was no mistake that Prairie Grass Cafe’s In-Law Cocktail debuted on Thanksgiving. With so many large families celebrating the holiday at the restaurant that night, mixologist Daniel Sviland says he “thought a shot of tequila would be good idea.” The drink—a shot of Corzo Reposado tequila with a teaspoon of lime caviar in a Hawaiian red salt-rimmed glass—was created after Sviland tried a finger lime and fell in love with the fruit’s flavor. (We assume it was also inspired by his mother-in-law, but on that Sviland had no comment.) 601 Skokie Blvd, Northbrook (847-205-4433).

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