Phil Vettel gives Blackbird four stars and finds “when food is the criterion, Paul Kahan’s restaurant belongs at the top of anyone’s list.” Chef David Posey cooks with boldness, balancing the charred baby sepia with blueberries’ acidity via green tomatoes with bitterness via Cynar. The confit of suckling pig is “earthy and briny” via fried clams and “gently sweet” from honeyed eggplant. Pastry chef Bryce Caron is doing “fine, cliché-free work” as one dessert of toasty, caramelized brioche strewn among gooseberries, a smear of Greek yogurt and apple-rosemary sorbet is a “study in sweetness levels.” [Tribune]
Lula continues to evolve and there is not another restaurant out there quite like it, writes Julia Kramer. The flat-iron steak with gnocchi is a dish that is aesthetically striking and technically accomplished, but most of all “greater even than the sum of its very great parts.” The flavor combination of sweet-potato puree, black lentils, and candied peanuts accompanying the roasted pork loin is “genius,” and the plates are marvelous to look at, similar to ones at Blackbird or L2O. And therein lies Lula’s most unusual attribute: someone could spend $20 or $100 on dinner and “no one would bat an eye,” Kramer says. [TOC]
The new Ripasso could use a little more salt on its flavor palate according to Mike Sula. The sauces in the ribbony pappardelle and tagliatelle tossed with clams are “underseasoned, and boldly so.” The ragu in the pappardelle presents four ingredients without distinction, and there’s barely a hint of acid and just a whisper of chili with the tagliatelle. Similarly, the lamb sausage, cauliflower, and roasted onion dressing the tubular folletti add little apart from volume and the pork meatballs in the antipasti are “filler in a one-note tomato sauce.” Even the dessert has problems, as the zeppoli are tough and overfried. [Reader]
Eater Chicago intern Jeffy Mai contributed this article.