Eater Chicago intern Jeffy Mai contributed this article.
2Sparrows [Photo: moss Design]
2Sparrows’ attempt at fine-dining breakfast is a hit-and-miss affair, writes David Tamarkin. While the idea of a foie gras pop tart is intriguing, he finds an “unsettling undercurrent of meatiness” in it as the flavor of liver infects everything. A “benign” broth and equally lackluster noodles flood the ramen and pork belly noodle bowl. Tamarkin finds more success with the “safer” options like the honey-lemon doughnut and its satisfying, crisp crust and tart lemon-custard filling, and the mushroom-leek quiche’s “featherlight” qualities of an expert soufflé. [TOC]
Julia Kramer takes a walk down memory lane at Melt, the new sandwich shop from Dion Antic. She finds the chalkboard walls and old school desks “adorable,” but the ‘Perfect 10’ BLT doesn’t quite make the grade with its thin, salty bacon failing to qualify it as a “really great sandwich.” Fortunately, the real head of the class is the soup as both the tomato and Italian wedding have rich texture and full flavor. “All hail the soup lady!” Kramer exclaims. [TOC]
Thomas Witom tackles a pair of suburban restaurants in Naperville and Berwyn. At Trattoria Totuccio, the menu is lined with traditional Italian classics. Unfortunately, taste is in small supply as three dishes — the artichoke hearts, beef tenderloin medallions and seafood plate — all lack flavor and could stand up to more “assertive” seasoning. The tiramisu was also disappointing, devoid of even a hint of coffee flavor.
Over at Autre Monde Cafe, Witom says the seasonal tapas-style offerings are turning heads. The butternut squash gnocchi are light, fluffy and “perfectly complemented” by the onions, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts. “Palate pleaser” pork rillette is slowly cooked in fat and then shredded, tempting to be spread on toast. For dessert is a honey-lavender cheesecake, which caps off an evening with “no missteps from start to finish.” [Sun-Times]