Antique Taco does a lot right but misses on one important ingredient—salt. Without it, the chili in the chicken comes off “dusty” and the ribeye is “flat,” according to Michael Nagrant. Similarly, fish tacos are “choked” by the smoke from the cabbage and the smiting chili in the tartar sauce is almost “unbearable.” Lack of salinity aside, the adobo rubbed pork carnitas are “as perfect as a taco can be” and the Horchata milk shake gets Nagrant’s vote for “one of the best milk shakes in Chicago.” [Sun-Times]
There are hits and misses at G.E.B. but in the end the food is solid and straightforward. A “pork + watermelon + okra” dish is “executed well and in balance with the others,” says Mike Sula, while the calamari is among the “most tender renditions” he’s ever encountered. Not as successful is a terrible tomato that “tastes like a swollen bath sponge” and “oversalted” shaved asparagus with diced, hard-cooked egg. The desserts are just as inconsistent with “dry and forgettable” stuffed beignets but “terrific” corn cake topped with blueberry ice cream. [Reader]
Black Bull is no trailblazer but it manages to do small plates right. Julia Kramer thinks mussels are “plump and mild-flavored,” the patatas bravas have the “crunch of triple-fried French fries” and the octopus is “sophisticated while never trying to approach complicated.” A couple of setbacks include garlic prawns that “lack flavor,” salt cod-stuffed piquillo peppers that “taste much more like starch and cheese than fish” and standard “we-don’t-care-about-dessert” desserts.
The food at Cru Cafe & Wine Bar do the drinks a favor by not stealing the spotlight, writes David Tamarkin. The kitchen sends out plates that are “either confusing or awkward or both.” Among them are an “underdressed” watermelon-tomato salad and a chilled corn soup that tasted “tinny.” Equally bad are “warm, rubbery” chunks of lobster strewn on a plate of green and white sauces that make a “truly bizarre dish” and skewered mangled scallops that lack finesse. [TOC]
Phil Vettel thinks 30-year-old Tallgrass in Lockport is a gem that should be experienced before it’s gone. A panna cotta creation is an “impressive" multiple-textured composition of crunch endive supporting a slab of panna cotta topped with asparagus, feta cheese and crispy cheddar biscuit. The housemade tomato spaghetti comes with an “intriguing” artichoke emulsion and the assortment plate featuring béchamel-rich lobster lasagna is a can’t-miss. Capping it off is a lemon quintet that’s a “citrus symphony” of lemon cake, lemon curd and mousse topped with a lemon cracker, accompanied by a shot glass of lemon yogurt. [Tribune]