County has some work to do before it can compete with the city's best barbecue joints. Michael Nagrant sits down to veal brisket that arrives "parchment dry," rib tips that are "meatier than average, but also dry," and hot links that are the best of the bunch—"spicy and juicy with a nice snappy casing." Sides fare better as fluffy corn pudding wafts a "beautiful buttery perfume," and the bacon and barbecue parfait is a "glorious savory pork sundae." Washing it all down are drinks like the "refreshing and balanced" Rye Smith that conjures "visions of sitting in a lounge chair poolside." [RedEye]
Juno's high quality sushi is best enjoyed at the bar and is a "welcome addition to the city's sushi scene," according to Lisa Shames. The "smoked" sashimi is "pristine pieces" of fish that get a "subtle flavor boost" from smoke and toppings like garlic chips and freeze-dried sweet corn, and the live hotate—a Maine scallop—is "perfection." For non-sushi eaters, the texture of the grilled octopus is "perfect" and pairs well with the edamame, artichoke hearts and preserved lemon, while the diver scallop with crunchy sea beans is also a favorite. A few stumbles include a perplexing Meyer lemon-mayo sauce and a toro tartare that's "too small and not enough oomph." [CS]
Guildhall out in Glencoe is on a mission to create "not just a good restaurant, but a great one," writes Phil Vettel. There's a "nifty spin" on salad lyonnaise with mustard greens, smoked trout and crispy apple slices; the "silky" sweet-corn coup "surprises" with shaved jamon Iberico and chewy corn niblets; and the fresh oyster is a "worthy option, thanks to a delightful yuzu vinaigrette." Very mild walleye "works with its assertive plate companions" while meat entrees include a pair of "excellent" lamb chops. For dessert, the classic affogato has a "clever" twist as the ice cream is created from bourbon-barrel-smoked sugar and dusted with smoky salt along with cherry-pecan biscotti. [Trib]
Jeff Ruby thinks that The Lobby is now a "superior experience" to the days of Curtis Duffy's Avenues. Foie gras torchon filled with custardy grapefruit puree is "amazing and delicious;" roasted Colorado lamb loin is "a little sweet, a little savory; a little crunch, a little chew;" and an "attractive "roasted beet salad gets "made over" with creamy pistachio ricotta and crispy toasted spelt. Meanwhile, the signature whole roasted chicken "may be the best chicken dish in Chicago" with its "golden caramelized skin and tender meat." Capping off the meal are "stunners" like a "chocolate orgy" of chocolate cremeux, chocolate hazelnut crumble, chocolate sponge cake and chocolate ice cream.
Brindille "misses the mark" with meals that "drag at an atrociously slow pace." Caviar-topped oysters are "gorgeous, scrumptious" but a "total gouge" at $19 for four; dover sole meuniere is plagued by a cloying lemon balm that "tastes like lemon meringue pie filling;" and a fatty $46 rib of beef is an "overpriced disappointment." The few standouts worth ordering are the duck breast with foie gras, wheat berries and candied orange peel, and the "truly wondrous" cheese plate featuring 12 French selections. [Chicago]