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Critics Differ on The Peasantry; G.E.B. Off to Hot Start

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The Peasantry
The Peasantry

The Peasantry aims high but the food, and service, miss the mark according to Michael Nagrant. Foie torchon is “one of the most tasteless” he’s ever had with a flavor more akin to “pedestrian chicken liver” but the rabbit pasta is a worthy dish—a linguine with “rich, braised, melting” bites of winey rabbit. The deconstructed Twix is an improvement on the original but the shortbread’s a “little too tough, and not nearly as buttery” as the ones once served at Mado. Most appalling though are the servers who “offer service that is less than professional,” feign ignorance about plates, don’t course out selections appropriately and throw things down “slapdash.” [Sun-Times]

On the contrary, Julia Kramer writes that The Peasantry isn’t perfect but “it’s a place any neighborhood would be justifiably happy to have.” Burgers have an “intense” char and their juiciness is offset by “bold” pickled cauliflower, whole-grain mustard tucked beneath the skin of duck legs elevates it into an “impressive bar snack,” and fried frog legs are “as easy to like as KFC.” Yet quirks dampen the experience such as using Romesco sauce as pasta sauce topped with both burned and completely untoasted bread, and a “deconstructed” candy bar that is “so texturally off the restaurant would be better off serving a Snickers.”

Pizzeria da Nella’s pizzas are simple yet masterful. David Tamarkin takes a bite out of the distinctive crust that “may be perfect” and finds that the food “hinges on the quality of the ingredients and nothing more.” Fortunately, the ingredients are “solid bordering on exemplary—and so, then, is each dish.” The burrata plate is a “meal in itself” consisting of creamy cheese, prosciutto and bruschetta while marinated salmon is “meaty” and “acidic to the point of tasting almost pickled.” The food won’t blow you away and Tamarkin says, “You have to appreciate simplicity to appreciate this pizzeria.” [TOC]

G.E.B. is off to a hot start in the ever-expanding West Loop. Kate Bernot tries an asparagus and egg appetizer that “packs way more flavor than they let on” and the lasagna “brings new life to this Italian favorite.” Likewise, a flaky pink trout and “juicy” pork loin are the “most memorable dishes” but sadly a “dense, bland” strawberry rhubarb poundcake doesn’t hold up to the rest of the meal. In the end, the food backs up Graham Elliot’s talk and is a step toward silencing his critics. [RedEye]

Andersonville lost a great hangout when In Fine Spirits closed but its replacement, Premise, has “earned its place among the neighborhood’s culinary elite.” Mike Sula sits down to a falafel unlike any other—the dish’s accents are “powerfully” flavored—and a seared spring lamb loin has a lot of “distinct but harmonious flavors.” Sweet prawns are supported by “silky” spoonfuls of tapioca pearls that could be eaten by the bowlful, a strongly flavored mackerel is the “most refined version” Sula’s ever had, and a “sweet but not cloying” salad is the “most visually beautiful” dish this year. A carrot cake dessert garnished with a crystalline cube of honeycomb and freeze-dried peas is “tasty” but marred by a “watery, almost flavorless” scoop of pea gelato. [Reader]

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