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Scofflaw's Menu is Flawless; Balena Receives More Acclaim

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Photo: Urban Daddy

The drink selection at Scofflaw is without a dud and food is just as good. Mara Shalhoup tries the “creative, underpriced bar food” featuring the “absurdly good” guapichosa sandwich and an off-menu vegetarian sandwich that’s “perfectly equipped” to stand up to the drinks. The pork belly is “tender perfection” with a “pleasantly acidic” cucumber salad and the blackberry-lavender sorbet with ginger granola is “something you’ll want to eat every day.” As for the drinks, the “100-degree-day antidote” Basil Bramble will keep you refreshed during the hot summer days. [Reader]

The rave reviews for Balena continue to roll in as Michael Nagrant has his turn. A charred al dente rapini is “as sexy as green vegetables come” and “the world would be a better place” if the kale salad replaced the ubiquitous chicken Caesar. “Tangy” rhubarb mingles with “salty sweet pearls” of ricotta cheese on pizza that features “blistered chewy dough” that is “as fine as almost any pie in Chicago,” while salt and pepper chicken thighs are “luscious and juicy and tender to the bone.” Pastry chef Amanda Rockman ends each meal with “killer desserts” that are “perfection of classics.” [CS]

American barbecue and an Asian influence make for a hot start at Dragon Ranch Moonshine & BBQ, writes Lisa Arnett. Smokey spare ribs are “tender but have just enough chew to stay on the bone” and the pulled pork acts as a “blank slate to slather on the house barbecue sauces.” Asian-inspired sides lean “lighter and fresher” than typical sidekicks like the table-favorite house-smoked bacon, chilis and edamame and “cakey” cornbread. And the Honey Bunny moonshine cocktail is “so sippable that even the manliest I-don’t-dare-order-girlie-sounding-drinks guy should try it.” [RedEye]

In Skokie, Beyond Thai is serving delicious, classic Thai comfort food. Thomas Witom starts with “delectable” spring rolls filled with cucumber, carrot, bean sprouts, tofu and scrambled eggs. An “agreeable course” of agedashi tofu provides an introduction to Japanese hot tofu and chunks of pineapple give a “sweet tempering” to underlying spicy notes in a "lively" red curry with roast duck dish. The pad woon sen is a “perfect mix of flavors” and for dessert, the Thai iced coffee is a “perfect combination to satisfy any sugar craving.” [Sun-Times]


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