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Carriage House Reinvents Southern Cooking; Elizabeth is Full of Potential; More

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Carriage House
Carriage House
Photo: Jason Little

Mark Steuer is taking Southern food forward at Carriage House. Mike Sula thinks the Carolina rice balls are a "thrilling collection of textures and flavors that hits all the pleasure centers," and a panfried ham hock terrine with field peas and corn, tarted up with a mustard vinaigrette, and finished with a soft-boiled egg strikes "perfect balance." The she-crab soup is "outstanding" but lacks the promised acid in the sherry gastrique, while thick fried green tomatoes are "overwhelmed by its thick batter." The shrimp and clams in the low-country boil are also "tough and overcooked," but the sweet pear cobbler is a "great bowl and a nice reprieve" from the savory menu. [Reader]

Elizabeth is astounding yet still a "tad askew" according to Michael Nagrant. "Silky" cubes of Hamachi are ringed by leeks and painted with a "funky" fish sauce caramel; the brew of duck pho is "heartwarming;" and beet marshmallow has an "exciting root-veg funk that pairs nicely" with a spicy housemade ginger chew. But pitfalls include a "tyranny" of cinnamon in a shooter of "apple pie" that makes everything "taste like a pack of Big Red," a pancake that's raw in the middle and a salad "sponge" of arugula that's "monotonous and lacking flavor." In the end, Nagrant believes that while she isn't perfect, Iliana Regan is capable of becoming one of the city's best. [Sun-Times]

Arami Go makes the eat-and-run concept work successfully. Melissa Wiley writes that this latest venture from the Arami team is "really an homage to the bespoke bento box." Each $10 bento box offers a selection of choices from servers who "make you feel like you're co-creating nothing less than a master meal in miniature." Classic favorites like the grilled chicken thighs and lemongrass ramen are available as well and upon leaving, you'll feel like you've been "fed extremely well and possibly had your qi balanced into the bargain." [Chicagoist]

Alison Neumer Lara thinks Bar Toma is the real deal upon a second visit. Despite subpar results upon its opening, she tears into "one of the city's best pizza crusts" topped with ingredients that "preserve the dough's integrity." Similarly, a trio of fennel, golden raisins and sesame seeds delivers "delicious, subtle results" that counters the sausage in the Sicilian pizza. Charred carrots "come alive" with balsamic vinegar, goat cheese and toasted almonds, and is "more than the sum of its parts," while the mozzarella trio is a "tasty education" in cheese. [Crain's]

Bar Toma

110 E Pearson Street, Chicago, IL 312 266 3110

Elizabeth Restaurant

4835 North Western Avenue, , IL 60625 Visit Website

Carriage House

7485 Main Street, , MI 49757 (906) 847-3321 Visit Website