Three twists on chicken fingers
Fried properly, even vegetables can be subbed
Buffalo tenders at State and Lake
(201 N State St, 312-239-9400; $7)
The problem with chicken fingers? Usually they just taste like...chicken. Release your kids from the chains of boring food and nudge them toward these fingers instead—they’re marinated for two days in a spicy (but not hot) combination of cumin, coriander and other spices; then they’re fried and served with a mild blue-cheese sauce (which pickier types can request on the side).
Shrimp/Vegetable tempura at SushiSamba Rio
(504 N Wells St, 312-595-2300; $13)
We’ve yet to meet a food that wouldn’t benefit from being coated in feather-light tempura batter and fried to an airy crisp. That goes for vegetables, too—now your kids will have something new to say about them: More, please.
Walleye Fingers at Custom House Tavern
(500 S Dearborn St, 312-523-0200; $12)
Looking at them, kids won’t detect a difference between these and the chicken fingers they know (too well) and love (too much). But once they bite into them and find light, flaky walleye, or dip them into a creamy tartar sauce, their taste buds will be thankful for the upgrade.