Lisa Arnett stops by the just-opened Acadia and finds all the trappings of upscale eating at a casual dining price point. The sunchoke veloute is a “velvety, soup-ified” version of the classic cream sauce while the risotto “isn’t really risotto at all,” with the rice replaced by potato and apple chunks. Even the ordinary beet salads are “beautifully plated works of art.” Former Graham Elliot beverage director Michael Simon crafts “complex, well-balanced” cocktails that are subtle, such as the mescal old fashioned with tomatillo agave, mole bitters and coconut-dill ice cube.
At the Japanese street food eatery Yusho, Arnett checks out a menu “chock full” of exotic ingredients by Charlie Trotter’s alum Matthias Merges. Unfortunately, the shared plates are “not actually shareable in practice” as many dishes—the steamed bun stuffed with beef short rib and maitake mushroom with poached eggs—are a pain to split. And the soft-serve ice cream with crystallized ginger and buckwheat caramel “didn’t top that of other spots doing the same.” The cocktails are the highlights with the standout being a seasonal flavor of chuhai, a shochu-spiked soda. In the end, the presentation is pretty but none of the dishes stick out as “crave-worthy.” [Metromix]
The reviews continue to pour in for Takashi Yagihashi’s latest restaurant Slurping Turtle. This time Julia Kramer says she would do almost anything “in the name of tan tan men,” a ramen bowl with chili broth, crumbled ground pork and pork meatballs. The ceviche of scallops, squid and cuttlefish is an “astoundingly balanced” raw preparation, and the potato croquettes burst with curry while crispy on the outside and “melting away on the inside.” As for the noodle dishes, the chiyan pon is “what you dream Chinese takeout will taste like,” fried noodles with stir-fried shrimp and scallops with a dollop of spicy mustard. [TOC]
Mike Sula also tries Slurping Turtle and has mostly similar thoughts. He writes that the tan tan men “is the most satisfying bowl on the menu,” but thinks the chiyan pon is disappointing, only “a small step above Americhinese takeout.” The octopus ceviche is a “textural rampage,” luscious miso-dressed black cod is a “miniature of the ideal,” and a charred mochi brick is “glutinous and chewy” under a girdle of crispy bacon. For dessert, the coconut and condensed milk quail egg shooter is “intimidating but ultimately rewarding.” [Reader]
Glen Ellyn restaurant Lu’s Sushi & Chinese continues to attract diners with its “extensive, thoughtfully prepared and moderately priced Asian menu,” writes Thomas Witom. Among the appetizers, a bowl of hot and sour soup proves to be an “ideal tonic” for this chilly night while the pad thai is “excellent,” featuring perfectly seasoned rice noodles in a moderately spicy sauce with tender beer strips. The Szechuan green beans “radiating pleasant garlic notes” add a fine balance, and the lo mein is “expertly prepared,” deriving flavor from a delicate sauce and pork, chicken and shrimp. On the sushi side, the Glen Ellyn maki roll combines deep-fried red snapper and a crab stick. [Sun-Times]
Eater Chicago intern Jeffy Mai contributed this article.