David Tamarkin stops by Grange Hall to take a bite out of the burgers. Although the barn house design is a little quirky, the grass-fed beef burgers are juicy and have a “mild but pleasant beefiness.” The turkey burger is even more flavorful and he thinks the best sandwich is the meatloaf. For sides, the fries are “terrific” while the fried veggies are “watery.” The filling in the pecan pie is a hit and the undercooked crust is a miss, but the real achievement is the chocolate ice cream — boasting “deep notes” of cocoa and a creamy mouthful “devoid of iciness.”
At the new Filini, the décor is tacky and the food is a “basket case of outsized ambitions,” writes Julia Kramer. The lamb loin is “cloaked in salt,” the filet of halibut is “bland” and the “spastically plated” seared ahi tuna leaves her puzzled. On the plus side is the polipo, a salad of grilled octopus with mint and chickpeas, and the “sweet but inoffensive” butternut squash cappellacci, which is a “coherent effort.” But as Kramer says, “In this city, it’s easy to do so much better.” [TOC]
North suburban diners can get a taste of a wide selection of traditional Italian dishes at Mambo Italiano. Thomas Witom visits the Mundelein restaurant where many classics such as bruschetta, calamari, Pizza Margherita and homemade lasagna fill the menu. The fried ravioli with a “delightful” blend of four cheeses is topped with a “tasty” tomato sauce. The zuppa di pesce is a fine dish that could’ve been perfect with a little more garlic, but the vitello Marsala is slightly less interesting with its pan-fried medallions “swimming” in wine sauce. For dessert, the tartufo classico is a “pleasing, if predictable” treat to end the meal. [Sun-Times]
Eater Chicago intern Jeffy Mai contributed this article.