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Tanta Shows Promise; Vettel Does Two-Star Italian

Tanta
Tanta
Photo: Marc Much

Gaston Acurio comes to town with Tanta, a Peruvian spot that "displays the mark of a very talented chef." Michael Nagrant starts with the nikei, ahi tuna "dripping" with honey, passion fruit and a leche de tigre sauce that's "especially cooling" in the warm weather. Cebiche chifa is full of "exceptionally firm and fresh" lime-cured bass while causita clasica, whipped Peruvian potatoes dabbed with huancaina and served with crab, avocado and more, is reminiscent of Joel Robuchon's famous mashed potatoes. And the chaufa aeropuerto is "rich and comforting, the kind of thing you'd like to eat in the morning while nursing a killer hangover" from drinking one too many pisco sours, which are a "nice summery sip." [RedEye]

Phil Vettel gives two stars to two recent, low-profile Italian eateries. At J. Rocco, starters include a "plump" scallop in pesto and Michigan burrata with "Mom's Gravy." The pizzas are "quite good," while "excellent" lamb and "lighter-than-air" shrimp meatballs in lemon-butter sauce are also a hit. Cioppino is "one of the best dishes on the menu," but a "cooked-to-death" pork sirloin is a surprising disappointment. And for dessert, "do not skip" the flourless chocolate cake.

Tre Soldi is equally as impressive with Roman classics such as spaghetti carbonara, veal saltimbocca and fried artichokes. The pizzas have "crispy bottoms and slightly puffy, pleasingly soft crowns," and include daily specials like a bianca pizza with broccoli and fennel that has "terrific flavor." Pastas are "very good, particularly the zesty bucatini amatriciana," while the vanilla panna cotta with honey-poached peaches is a "dessert special to grab when you can." [Trib]

County dabbles in several regional barbecues yet fails to master any of them, writes Mike Sula. Ribs have a "textural weakness" that yields "smoky meat that's mush nonetheless, as if it's been steamed or boiled" while brisket has "not even a hint of smokiness to it." It's not all bad though as rib tips are "appealingly gnarly and oozing with hot fat" and fiery hot links "explode with juices." But in the end the best items "never [see] the inside of the smoker," like "perfectly crispy, tart, peppery battered" tomato disks with goat cheese, and a pork shank that's braised and fried until its exterior is crispy. [Reader]

Tre Soldi

212 E Ohio Street, Chicago, IL (312) 664-0212 Visit Website

Tanta Peruvian Restaurant

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

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