Hungry Hound: Make Room for Truman: Meat and potatoes like you've never seen

PARK RIDGE, Ill. (WLS) -- The hottest restaurant in Park Ridge is packing them in, not only because of their large menu, but also due to their different approach to some American classics.

They're slow-roasting, using their rotisserie and creating a few new twists on the traditional potato side dish. Our Hungry Hound tasted all of them.

The food is hearty. Mostly American, pretty much all familiar. But at Make Room for Truman - located in a large apartment complex near the train stop in Park Ridge - they're taking a few liberties, like cooking their prime rib on a rotisserie, for example.

EXTRA COURSE: A look at the restaurant's namesake - the Truman - and discovers a very unique dessert presentation
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In Steve's Extra Course video, he takes a look at the restaurant's namesake - the Truman - and discovers a very unique dessert presentation.

After just an hour-and-a-half, the majestic cut is sliced into Fred Flintstone-sized slabs, served with horseradish and aromatic jus.

"This way, we just find, yields a better product that's nice and tender. The flavors really get in there and the fat renders out nicely, so it just melts in your mouth," Executive Chef James Keane said.

To go with that beef, or that chicken, or burger, are potatoes, of course. But here, the idea of a potato side dish is stretched a bit.

"We take 'em down for gaufrette chips. We do our 55-minute baked potato fries. We also do our tater tots with them," Keane said.

Start with those gaufrette chips, for example.

"It's a lattice-cut chip that we do on the mandolin. Soaked about three times, getting the sugar and starches out so that they don't burn. Rinse 'em, soak 'em for 24 hours and then we fry 'em up. They're nice and light and airy," Keane said.

Potatoes au gratin contain pepperjack cheese and poblano chiles. French fries are reinvented as "55-minute" fries.

"We bake off a salt-loaded potato. Once it's cooled enough, we cut it and deep-fry it," Keane said.

Fried for about four minutes at 360 degrees, they emerge with dual textures.

"Nice, crisp outside layer. On the inside, it's nice and tender and steamy," Keane said.

Even their tater tots are reimagined.

"Cook it about halfway, and then we let it cool. Shred it. Then we add our spices," Keane said.

Those would be garlic and onion powder, plus an egg to help bind them. Formed into large "tots" but still with the shreds intact, they're fried until crisp, seasoned with a bit of chopped chive and then served with ranch dressing and a smoked paprika ketchup.

"We wanted to really make a mark with Truman, and kind of surprise people with what we could do with not-your-standard frozen potato," Keane said.

There's obviously a lot more than just meat and potatoes on the extensive menu at Make Room for Truman, but if you do consider yourself one of those meat-and-potato types, you've got a lot of choices.

Make Room for Truman
550 W. Touhy Ave., Park Ridge
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