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The Dawson is Inconsistent; Tanta is a Trip to Peru

The Dawson
The Dawson
Photo: Marc Much

The Dawson has some "snafus to smooth out" before it reaches its potential. Michael Nagrant thinks the dining room feels like a "spacious, impersonal box" and that polish and consistency are lacking. Chicken-fried steak is served with "velvety" mashed potatoes and greens with a "nice crispy texture," but marred by a "lukewarm" biscuit; wood-grilled squid is "so salty [Nagrant can] feel the edges of [his] lips drying out after a few spoonfuls;" and al pastor tacos have "clumpy, dry meat." The best plate of the night though is the mughlai curry, "the kind of elegant and thoughtful plate" that reminds what chef Rene De Leon is capable of. [RedEye]

Tanta is doing a fine job of bringing Pervuian cuisine to Chicagoans with a menu that "evokes the suitcase of a world traveler," according to Phil Vettel. To start, the clasica causitas with crab, avocado and egg are "especially good" and the octopus anticucho "might be the best appetizer in the bunch." The entrees are "complex, deeply flavored and delicious" like adobo de ternera and chicharron, while the signature pollo a la brasa is a "crispy-skinned treat" that's a "terrific dish." Desserts are "simple and fun" and include the mazamorra crumble, a mixed-fruit tart with an oat and almond crust. [Trib]

Out in Aurora, Sushi + is a new rotary sushi bar that's quickly becoming a "popular favorite among fans of the cuisine," writes Thomas Witom. A spicy squid salad is a "satisfying starter" featuring "tender, gently seasoned" baby squid with "agreeable" Japanese vegetables while deep-fried soft-shell crab is "delicious." As for the sushi, a roll named Incredible "lives up to its name" and Tuna Tataki, layered with mango and tomato, is "nicely executed." [Daily Herald]

Tanta Peruvian Restaurant

118 W Grand Avenue, Chicago, Il 60654 312 375 2172

The Dawson

730 West Grand Avenue, , IL 60654 (312) 243-8955 Visit Website

The Dawson

730 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL