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¡Ay Chiwowa! Fails to Impress; Found is a Find; More

Ay Chiwowa
Ay Chiwowa
Photo: Timothy Hiatt

Restaurateur Billy Dec's ¡Ay Chiwowa! failed to impress Sam Worley, whose experience was distressing to say the least. After ordering an appetizer, the rest of the meal quickly went south: "By the time it reaches your table, the cheese on the queso fundido may have reached terminal coagulation; near impenetrable with the tools you've been given." The carnitas tacos were "bland and watery" and "the Gomez shrimp" sounded promising, but ended up being "overcooked" shrimp drizzled with yellow mustard. But the atmosphere proved to be the real mood killer after a rowdy cowboys vs. Indians party resulted in two "vomit sightings." The best way to remedy was a steady supply of "Billy's Beeritas," "a perfectly inoffensive cocktail that comes with a miniature bottle of Corona plunged into it, upside down." Things started to look up with the "fresh, chunky guacamole" and bread that was "crisp and chewy and fantastic." But tasty guacamole and crunchy bread really isn't worth the trouble, leaving Worley to suggest to future diners, "come for the bread, leave for the atmosphere." [Reader]

Phil Vettel says Amy Morton's Found provides something for everyone, and though entrees are priced around $25, there are plenty of "sturdy small plates" and some "deeply satisfying" sandwiches, like the French dip, that can fit into anyone's budget. He encourages diners to get messy with the lemon-honey glazed, twice-fried chicken wings that are "incredibly sticky" but "pretty darn yummy." Also, make sure to order the creamy polenta and mix it together with almonds, mushrooms, blue cheese, and a slow-poached egg for "an umami bomb of soul-comforting flavors." The whole-roasted fish "gets nice support" from the "crispy" baked kale, dehydrated vegetable chips, and green-goddess aioli. For dessert, the chocolate pot de crème is "very good," but the accompanying shortbread cookies are "the real stars of the plate," "perfectly crumbly and graced with a touch of salt." The cocktail menu is "interesting" and includes a "stout float" with vanilla gelato and molasses bitters—"a black cow for mature audiences." [Tribune]

According to Jeff Ruby, the future is promising for The Boarding House. "Though only three months old, [The Boarding House] possesses the unmistakable sparkle and swagger of an eventual Chicago classic." Christian Gosselin's dishes "more than hold their own." The "showstopping" slow-poached citrus salmon with a blood orange beurre blanc atop tarragon polenta is a highlight along with the double bone-in pork chop, which is "carmelized yet ridiculously moist." Some fun dishes include a "brined, magnificent" fried chicken and a "rich, bourbon" chocolate-dipped oatmeal sandwich cookie. There are a few missteps that "remind you that the operation is still young", such as "leaden" buttermilk biscuits, "limp" fried cumin cauliflower bites, and "sludgy" lobster poutine, but the "veteran" staff and "flawlessly curated wine list" contribute to a worthwhile experience. [Chicago Magazine]

Eater Chicago intern Daniella Caruso contributed to this story.


1631 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201 (847) 868-8945 Visit Website

¡Ay Chiwowa!

311 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60654 312-643-3200 Visit Website

The Boarding House

720 North Wells Street, , IL 60654 (312) 280-0720 Visit Website

Ay Chiwowa!

311 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL

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