Pat Bruno thinks it’s a shame the food at Maude’s Liquor Bar isn’t being highlighted as much as the liquor, because “executive chef Jeff Pikus is quite good at making food.” He raves about the mussels,“ a bevy of black beauties arrived in a cast-iron pot with a baguette serving as a lid,” and appreciates the “thick yet spreadable and flavorfully rich” chicken liver mousse. He recommends skipping the French onion fondue, and the desserts, with the exception of the “toasty caramelized” creme brulee. Although the menu is in the style of small plates, “portions at Maude’s are generous, so beware of ordering too much food.” [Sun Times]
Kristina Meyer thinks Blackbird is still going strong after 14 years even with a new chef at the helm. The transition to David Posey as chef de cuisine seemed “nearly imperceptible” and it truly “showcases the strength of the restaurant, whose success is predicated not on individual egos but a team of talented chefs and service professionals working together to execute.” The “only whiff of change to note” is the eastern European touches, where in the past the focus was on Spain, Italy, and France.
For the most part the food seemed to be consistently good, aside from a few flaws, like the cocktail Meyer ordered, “a sad, neutered manhattan” and the sepia noodles that “seemed sloppy and ill conceived in comparison to most others.” Patrick Fahy’s dessert menu shines with “sweet composed plates that mirror the savory menu in scope and complexity but afford a special kind of surprise?” Although Paul Kahan may have branched out to other ventures, “his original’s going strong.” [Reader]
Julia Kramer and David Tamarkin hit the streets to see how food trucks Tamalli Space Charros,The Southern Mac, 5411 Empanadas and Sweet Ride stack up and their reviews seem fairly mixed. Kramer finds the tamales at the Tamalli Space Charros to be “moist and perfectly serviceable” and the tortilla soup to be “the best thing I’ve yet to eat off a moving vehicle in Chicago.” On the other hand, she felt The Southern Mac truck was unexciting, although “filling and satisfying.” Tamarkin enjoyed his empanadas at 5411 Empanadas, favoring the “beef with olives” although he thinks the portion sizes “are snacks,not meals.” He finds Sweet Ride “cute” and thinks the pies and vanilla pudding with ripe bananas are most satisfying. [TOC]