Mike Sula has two vastly different experiences at Rustic House. Although nervous about chef Jason Paskewitz "stalking the small front dining room with disturbing frequency," the "crew" in the kitchen did what they were supposed to. The gnocchi were "dimunitive but lush" and the pommes Anna were "unappealingly grayish but nevertheless crispy and buttery-good." What "turned the tide" for Sula was "a heaping pile of ribbony pappardelle." However, on his second visit, "execution was so flawed across the board that I wondered if the crew was indeed cooking in their sleep." Many of the dishes "were undercut by such basic bush-league overcooking, undercooking, or overseasoning." Overall, "it was a meal as inconsistent and disappointing as the first was encouraging." [Reader]
Phil Vettel longs for the days when Paris Club was still Brasserie Jo. Paris Club is aimed toward a "younger demographic" with "lighter food, smaller plates, low-commitment stuff...designed for the take-a-bite, pass-it-down crowd." The menu has "very little written in French" and typically bistro fare is considered "French soul food." He finds the pork rillettes to be a "seriously good dish" and the duck cracklings are "as tasty as they are bad for you." For "a trip down Memory Lane" there are a few Brasserie Jo menu items, "straight from the original menu, and all terrific." [Tribune]
Jeff Ruby calls Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz the golden boys as he praises both Perennial Virant and GT Fish & Oyster. Ruby appreciates the "Americana" cooking at Perennial Virant, and loves the pork shoulder confit so much that he thinks "you will want to soak up every last drop of rich pork jus with fantastic whole-grain bread that has been baked in a Blodgett triple-deck oven in the basement." He finds the herb gnocchi "lovely" and the Wisconsin morel mushrooms with milk jam worth a "fight" with your tablemates.
At GT Fish & Oyster, Ruby finds "the salty seaside vibe" is captured better here than "anywhere else in Chicago." He enjoys the clam chowder and mussels, but the lobster roll and mahi tacos "both disappoint." Actually, he thinks, GT’s finest dishes are the ones you might normally overlook," like the "impeccable" snapper carpaccio and the "showstopping" strip loin. Boehm and Katz "built two very different places to suit two very different chefs...and that's the whole point." [Chicago Mag]