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Premise is Disjointed; Storefront Company Lacks Identity

Premise
Premise
Photo: Tim Hiatt

Premise has a lot to do to live up to In Fine Spirits but “execution is what fuels the disappointment.” The dishes are “disjointed,” “confusing” and “overwhelmingly, almost comically salty,” says David Tamarkin. Too much salt and butter mar “gorgeous” agnolotti, smoked salmon has “no hints of smoke” and falafels are “salt bombs.” Better is the “firm, juicy” compressed melon with candied peanuts and “sharp” buttermilk that’s a “balanced and thought-provoking dish,” and chocolate torte that’s a “combination of chocolate and chilies that makes sense.” Ultimately though, Premise is just a “stinging reminder of what is gone.”

Tamarkin also tries the revamped menu at BIN 36 and finds that no dish is “getting by merely on street cred.” Meatballs are “like Prozac in their ability to cause happiness,” rosemary nuts “make best friends with white wine” and halibut is notable for the “sprightly” kimchi dumplings alongside it. Filled with escargot and capped with bone marrow, the stuffed mushrooms may be “the richest in town” and it’s “still wisest” to end with the cheddar flight. [TOC]

Storefront Company “doesn’t have a strong identity of its own” despite its “farm cuisine, modern cooking” motto, according to Mike Sula. “The Whole Hog” is an “inharmonious” set of hors d’oeuvres and foie gras bombes are tasty, yet “quickly forgettable” canapés. A plank of compressed monkfish bits is “cooked too dry,” boned and reformed quail meat are offset by orange slices and “smooth” polenta that mitigate an “aggressive” saltiness, and duck confit coins lurk at the bottom of a bowl of “winning” cassoulet bisque. To finish, crumbles of “powerful” blue cheese with apple sorbet topped with pancetta is a “composition more harmonious than the sum” and a dense parsnip cake with cream cheese ice cream is the “best carrot cake riff” Sula’s had in a while. [Reader]

For those out near Hinsdale, Zak’s Place is “solid but unspectacular” with dishes that “almost never disappoint.” Phil Vettel makes the trek out to try mussels bolognese with melted leeks that give the dish a “whisper of spring,” chocolate-braised short ribs that have an “earthy nature,” and the daily fish preparations like the grilled escolar that are “worth your attention.” The Zak’s salad is “pleasant enough” while lobster-crab mac and cheese is “tasty,” but the rabbit risotto’s flavor is “lost amid a surfeit of tomato sauce and cheese” and the rice has a “waterlogged texture.” For dessert, chocolate blackout cake is “nicely nuanced,” apple bread pudding has “surprisingly light texture” and blood orange parfait is Vettel’s favorite. [Tribune]

Chicago’s updated review of Blackbird proclaims it “excellent but not arrogant” and “cutting-edge but not weird.” Butternut squash soup with roe, char, peach and stout foam “takes you to the far reaches of the flavor universe” and all the dishes are executed with an “admirable clarity of vision and deft technique.” At Amarind’s, “complex Thai flavors pop” and “there’s a lot to enjoy” beginning with fried stuffed prawns, Thai crepes and classic tom kha soup. “Entrée standouts” include vegetable karee curry and spinach noodles in a sauce of tamarind and ground chilies. [Chicago]

Bin 36

339 N Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60610

Storefront Company

1941 W North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640

Blackbird

614 North 2nd Street, , PA 19123 (267) 324-5224 Visit Website

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