At Three Dots and a Dash, "you won't realize how much you were missing perfectly made tiki drinks in your life until you have one here." Amy Cavanaugh writes that the drinks are "beautifully garnished" and quite "potent," with rum concoctions like the classic Pago Pago. Non-rum drinks are also worth checking out like the "Aloha, Mexico," which "[scorches] the back of your throat" with Hellfire bitters. For food, the Thai fried chicken is a "clear winner" while the crab rangoon are a "big step up from take-out versions."
It's not a traditional deli, but the menu at Dillman's is still "delicious." Smoked whitefish avocado salad is a "light, fresh and an ideal starter" and "you'd be remiss" to not order the corned beef. The chicken pot pie is a "surprise hit" that "takes you straight back to childhood," but missteps include a "one-note" reuben and a "forgettable" dill potato salad. Drinks are "balanced and well-executed," with the Scotch and honey making Cavanaugh "rethink the entire category of after-dinner drinks." [TOC]
Mike Sula thinks the Refinery is anything but refined and instead a "restaurant that has no idea what it aims to be or what people want." To start, there are "rubbery lengths of unchewable" octopus tentacles atop a "thick smear of gluey" pureed sweet potato; beef carpaccio with cubes of Manchego cheese that is "at total odds with the harmonious nature of the original concept;" and duck liver mousse that is "emulsified to the point of liquefaction." Chicken and pork belly are devoid of moisture while scallops and braised oxtail are "faintly fishy" and served with a "puddle of watery polenta." Just about the only bright spots are the "artfully plated" desserts like the chocolate pretzel bar that is "rich and minimally accented" with smears of caramel and pretzel-flavored ice cream. [Reader]
Jeff Ruby visits two Chicago classics for a trip down memory lane. At Yoshi's Café, "dishes hit their marks" such as duck liver mousse pate that's "pure pleasure" and a "perfect" al dente Japanese kabocha pumpkin raviolo. A "stunning" American red snapper is a "wondrous specimen, crisp and fleshy," while "golden and juicy" Cornish game hen "demands attention." There are a few mistakes, which include "misguided" desserts and a "wet mess" of a burger, but in the end Yoshi's is a "kindred spirit you love despite various shortcomings."
Tallgrass continues to evolve over the decades and is still a "fascinating restaurant." Three "plump" flash-fried scallops are served with a "distinctive" cauliflower sauce; "flavors pop" during the vegetable course; and three-cheese ravioli with English peas, mint pesto and lime crème fraiche is "perfectly balanced and indelible." Portions border on "slightly oppressive," such as the signature Soup Trio in a bowl the "size of a hubcap," and an "unhinged assortment" of lobster lasagna, smoked salmon gnocchi, prawn chorizo tostada crab beignet and Parmesan deviled egg is a "symphony with too many movements." Nonetheless, Ruby commends Tallgrass for having "something the latest hot spots may never have: character." [Chicago]