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Lao You Ju, Acre Both Get 2 Stars from Time Out Critics

Despite its over-the-top splashy decor, Heather Shouse only gives Lao You Ju two stars. The vibe in the room, "the trippiest dining room Chinatown has seen, with spiky-haired Chinese hipsters at the bar, cushy red booths twinkling under green disco dots, and a private dining room stuffed with high-backed velvet chairs," doesn't translate to the dishes. She says the "dragon beef" flavor is left behind in a fryer, the lamb "lacks the punch" of sister spot Lao Sze Chuan and "fishing for a good-sized hunk among the fistfuls of flavorless cauliflower got old quick." [TOC]

On the other side of the city, Julia Kramer didn't have much more luck at Andersonville's Acre, also dropping two stars out of five. The renovation of the former Charlie's Ale House retains the space's comfort and familiarity, but that when it comes to the food, you have to "lower your expectations. The combination of figs, almonds and Manchego might have been more balanced if the figs were fresh or roasted rather than intensely wine-poached. Trout was moist and the serving generous, but salmon roe in the Israeli couscous felt like one ingredient too many." She did, however, dig on one dish: a tender skirt steak cooked medium rare topped with hot mojo rojo, which she said, "nailed it." [TOC]

Lao You Ju

2002 S Wentworth Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616 312 225 7818

Acre

5308 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640 (773) 334-7600 Visit Website

Acre

5308 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL

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