At Yusho, the delectable dishes of food urge you to drink, writes David Tamarkin. The beef tongue is “earthy, fatty, tender, spicy and begs for a beer,” as does the elegant steamed bun with short ribs. The “very sumptuous” piece of tofu is topped with pineapples and walnuts while the mochi dessert is stuffed with a crisp, candy bar-like combination of hazelnuts and chocolates. Disappointments include twice-fried chicken that is ultimately “nothing more than chicken fingers” and the croquette of pig’s tail over “poser” ramen that falls into a trend trap.
Julia Kramer finds that Tony Mantuano’s newest restaurant still has room for improvement. Bar Toma’s “poorly designed” giant space and “disaffected, aloof service” give way to pizza crust that is “salty but flavorless, burned and dry” on one visit. There’s “yellow-brown” salad leaves sent without dressing, “mellow-flavored” chicken-liver spread, and mammaluchi—doughnuts—that are “wet and raw” on the inside. Summing it all up is the burrata, which is served so cold that it “muted most of the flavor” and Kramer’s confidence in Bar Toma. [TOC]
Likewise, Mike Sula thinks Bar Toma overstretches in trying to appeal to too many. The Calabrese pizza succeeds “as a sop for other sauces and bites rather than its own merits,” and the Mantuano pie is a “wet, sloppy mess.” There are several more inconsistencies across the board including tripe submerged in tomato sauce that “obliterated” the mint and orange that could have offset its inherent pungent “smell of the sewer.” Even the pastries suffer as the cornetti are “dry” and “dead” and the sorbetti and gelati are “icy, overaerated, and insufficiently dense.” [Reader]
BLT American Brasserie has the “wow factor,” looking and tasting better than its understated dishes would suggest. Phil Vettel thinks the veal and pork meatballs are “pure comfort ? home cooking on a higher level,” while the salmon is a “study in subtlety” with the “gentle kiss of wood.” A calamari salad is a “colorful mélange” of food ingredients and the star of the desserts is the passion fruit crepe soufflé, which looks like a giant croissant with soufflé texture and a “delightfully tangy” fruit component. [Tribune]
Eater Chicago intern Jeffy Mai contributed this article.