Sala Bua [Photo: Facebook]
Sala Bua is a "good introduction to authentic Thai," writes Michael Nagrant. "Very good" sai-krok-e-san is "moist, tangy and spicy;" papaya salad is a "bowl of flavor fireworks; and the karee-poo is a "sticky delight" that's fresh and "worth the splurge." Disappointments include "too sweet" khao soy that doesn't hold up to other versions, and Thai-style fried chicken that's lacking the "deeply caramelized skin and the comforting perfume of fry oil" of the ones served at Spoon. Sala Bua may not match up to Chicago's best Thai spots but it's still a worth a visit for those in the Chinatown area.
Nagrant also visits new Korean BBQ spot Gogi and finds it still has some work to do. The marinade on the bulgogi is a "tasty mix of soy, garlic, chili and sugar" and "punchy," but the grilling process is "flawed," as the meat is cooked in a "lukewarm cast-iron skillet" heated by a "weak gas flame." The pork belly is "relatively flavorless" but the banchan side dishes are "as good as any in town," with the "crisp and light" haemul pajeon being "one of the best" Nagrant's had in town. In the end, the meats have a ways to go before they match up to ones at Gogi's predecessor, Hae Woon Dae. [RedEye]
La Sirena Clandestina is a worthy spot for a lunch, according to Laura Bianchi. There's a chimichurri grilled beef tenderloin sandwich as well as empanadas that are an "excellent bet," with fillings such as ground pork and vegetable, wrapped in a "crisp, phyllo-like crust." Fans of risotto will love La Bomba Rice, traditional paella rice cooked to "creamy al dente" with roasted sweet corn, summer squash, chilies, manchego cheese and truffle oil. Skip dessert though as sweet corn panna cotta is "rubbery and tasteless" and the alfajores are "floury." [Crain's]