Eater Chicago intern Katie Johnson contributed this article.
Roka Akor [Photo: Tim Hiatt]
Roka Akor, whose Arizona location was named one of the nation's top sushi restaurants by Bon Appetit, arrived here this summer.Phil Vettel recently paid a visit to check out its newly debuted lunch menu. In an area already rife with restaurants of a similar vein, Roka Akor didn't seem to impress, especially when Vettel describes some of the selections simply as "Zzzzzzzzzz." The sake selection is impressive, but Vettel warns "at sticker shock prices." [Trib]
Mike Sula visits Chinatown's recent addition, Lao Hunan. One standout dish includes the famous Hunan chile in black bean sauce, which Sula describes as "one of the most irresistible things I've eaten all year." Owner Tony Hu serves up Hunanese cuisine with a noticeable tone of dry style heat that Sula warns "may bring you to the edge of agony," but gratefully, "never so much that it imbalances the other flavors." Heat tolerance aside, Sula indicates this new Chinatown restaurant may be one of his favorites of the year so far. [Reader]
David Tamarkin made the rounds at some of the cities newest brunch spots, pleasantly surprised by some and disappointingly underwhelmed at others. Kingsbury Street Cafe was the front runner, receiving four out of five stars, which, Tamarkin praises "in the pantheon of this city's breakfast spots, there is nothing sweeter than Kingsbury Street Cafe." Next up was Jam 'N Honey, where Tamarkin indulged in a "very respectable breakfast burrito" which could easily "feed two adults (three if said adults are dieting)." Then came Waffles, providing sweet relief "in a land where waffles are almost always prepared wrong, (i.e. America)." Toni Patisserie and Cafe is the "kind of spot grandmothers take their grandchildren pre- or post-Art Institute." One of their hearty danishes paired with a cup of coffee comes highly recommended. Rounding out the bunch is the new Bleeding Heart Bakery & Cafe (full disclosure: I happen to work here). The squash skillet was a hit, while Tamarkin likens the donuts in the retail bakery case to "chewing on dried rubber cement." Yikes. [TOC]