Reviewing restaurants with respect to “reality” rather than “hyperreality” means enveloping oneself in the insecurities of an audience that has little to no experience with “fine dining.” It means preserving the magic, educating the consumer when necessary, but never letting one’s cynicism infect the experience (let alone the political axes one has to grind). A critic should challenge their reader without ever blowing smoke up their ass.
Kyōten is one of few restaurants you have ever visited that feels unmistakably “alive.” Phan and friends invite you to become a part of their story, to write your own chapter with them. You can trust that they will do everything possible to please you in your time together, and they succeed at doing so in a manner that Chicago has never quite seen before.
In the age of airborne viral transmission, the relationship between “server” and “served” has never been more consequential and, ironically, impersonal.
In the final analysis, it is hard not to look back at all four events you attended as a mere cash grab, driven by branding Alinea as the “sort of group” that puts on “wine dinners” in a weak market where they, as usual, will escape any meaningful criticism.
RPM Seafood is the long-awaited third concept in Lettuce Entertain You’s chain of high-end RPM eateries, which includes […]
Ciccio Mio is the red sauce joint of your dreams, the greatest common divisor of every good thing that every Italian-American restaurant has done in the century (or so) since the diaspora wove the trodden souls of Naples, Palermo, and Genoa into the fabric of domestic life. Does that mean Ciccio Mio is the best Italian restaurant in Chicago? Why, yes, it does. Tied for “best,” at least, depending on just what one considers “Italian” and whether diaspora culture the whole country over is destined for preservation or renovation. “Authenticity,” you guess, is the name of the game, and Hogsalt’s newest restaurant brings one of modern dining’s most contentious questions to the fore.
Gaijin has garnered praise as one of Chicago’s most ambitious openings of 2019, and, while the last year saw little by way of new concepts in this city, the restaurant’s reputation is well-earned. You have visited the establishment four or five times following its first day of service in early November and must attest that the space is inviting, the food is delicious, and the experience flows with nary a hiccup…
Despite what you may have heard, Mako does not serve the best sushi in Chicago. Sure, it is a stunning, special venue. The staff is polished. The branding is slick. There is a well-priced beverage pairing and a decent wine/sake selection to boot. You may even go so far as to say that Mako is one of the better Japanese restaurants in the city. But in terms of sushi?
RPM Steak caters to the 99% of customers who did not make a Bavette’s reservation a month in advance of their special dinner. The restaurant caters to the 99% of customers who are impressed with hulking cuts of meat from unknown ranches–customers who take a bite, find they can chew through it, and think: “fair enough!”
Sure, Galit has gotten plenty of positive press, Cabra’s Peruvian fare is fantastic, and Gaijin promises to shift the paradigm for Japanese food in the city, but Tzuco stands as Chicago’s hottest opening of the year…