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Next is Midwestern Majesty; CH Distillery is the Vodka Hotspot; More

Photo: Next

Next earns four stars again from Phil Vettel for its Bocuse d'Or menu. It starts with "all the majesty, indulgence" and "salt level of classic French cuisine" with a sourdough crisp containing caviar that's "sheer decadence;" and a "beautiful and briny" prawn soufflé. There's a "marvelous" mushroom consommé under a pastry dome, a "butter-soft" piece of sous-vide pheasant breast and a "deconstructed steakhouse dinner" dish. To finish are two "straight-up Midwest desserts:" a cube of butternut squash with huckleberries, oatmeal crumbles and butter-pecan ice cream; and an ice cream bombe that recreates the flavors of an apple pie. [Trib]

CH Distillery is trying to popularize vodka with its "crisp and smooth" offerings, writes Amy Cavanaugh. "Well-executed" cocktails include Rhymes With Orange, which "picks up heat from the Serrano chili-infused vodka and is "balanced with watermelon and housemade curacao," while the Czech Mate is vodka infused with cinnamon and spices in addition to grapefruit and honey. The food menu is the "surprise of the night" with options like a "tangy" whitefish salad topped with hardboiled eggs and capers, and graviax served with a dish of puffed salmon skin and topped with dollop of crème fraiche. If you're looking for a spot for pre or after-dinner drinks, "there isn't a better place on Randolph Street." [TOC]

If you liked the original Davanti Enoteca, "you will find more to love" at the newest location in the River North, according to Laura Bianchi. Pickled rhubarb and black pepper mascarpone on grilled asparagus and the warm kale salad are "rustic sophistication with a dash of inventiveness," but crunchy sea salt is "too aggressive" for tuna carpaccio. "Memorable" pastas include the bucatini amatriciana, which gets "noticeable heat" from chili flakes, while the kitchen "coaxes maximum flavor" from pepperoni and caciocavallo cheese for the Neopolitan pizzas. "Massive" sandwiches will appeal to the lunch crowds and the coconut cake with pineapple and limoncello panna cotta makes a fine end to the meal. [Crain's]

CH Distillery & Cocktail Bar

564 W. Randolph St, Chicago, IL 312 707 8780 Visit Website

Davanti Enoteca

1655 India Street, , CA 92101 (619) 237-9606 Visit Website

Next Restaurant

953 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 312 226 0858 Visit Website