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Fish Bar isn't Worth the Wait for Bruno; Kramer Enjoys Bite Cafe; Sutton Falls in Love with Alinea

Pat Bruno thinks Fish Bar doesn't stack up well against other seafood joints, especially those on the East Coast. He describes the Eastern belly clams as heavily breaded, and says comparing Fish Bar’s version to other fried clams at places on the East Coast “would be like comparing a BMW to a Ford Focus.” Although Bruno doesn't love the lobster roll, he enjoys the “flat-sided toasted roll” and thought there was “a good portion of lobster,” making it worth the market price. The clam chowder “was quite good,” but the “Federal Hill style” calamari “were nothing more than rubbery, tasteless “O” rings flirting with some strips of bell peppers (most restaurants on Federal Hill use hot peppers) and onion.” Although Fish Bar “proudly serves sustainable and responsibly farmed seafood,” Bruno thinks they just don’t cook it right. He doesn’t hesitate to add, “Oh, and by the way, cod is not a sustainable fish.” [Sun Times]

Julia Kramer thinks that Bite Cafe is actually a place she could enjoy going multiple times a week. She thinks breakfast is "quiet and easy," and although there are some faults, those are easily forgotten "by way of the Mashbrown: a crisp-on-the-outside, burger-size patty of skin-on potato mash, which is wisely tacked onto a good number of the breakfast dishes." Kramer finds lunch to be "bolder," with a fried-chicken sandwich where the "chicken is juicy enough and the slaw of pickled cabbage copious enough to bring cohesion to the fried-food-on-bread combo." At dinner, "though the execution of the food can be wobbly, it is nothing if not simple and satisfying." "The fact that there is both no corkage fee for BYO bottles as well as a short and cheap wine list makes the understated food uncommonly easy to enjoy?even a few nights a week." [TOC]

Bloomberg's Ryan Sutton thinks Alinea is easy to hate, but found himself in love with the place. Alinea makes you "rethink avant-gardism by serving great food that still fills you up" and "challenges the ways we perceive and appreciate flavors." He finds the tiny Hamachi donut to be "a perfect balance of sweet, spicy, fatty and salty, with the ordinary flavors of competent cooking trumping the anomalous ingredients." He issues a reminder that there are "no choices on the menu" and that the wine pairings are "three quarters the cost of the full menu." In the end, "you leave happy, full and broke." [Bloomberg]

Alinea

1723 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 Visit Website

Fish Bar

2956 North Sheffield Avenue, , IL 60657 (773) 360-8686 Visit Website

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