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Nagrant Says Momotaro is One of the City's Best; Sula Impressed By RPM Steak; More

Newcomers Momotaro and RPM Steak are off to sizzling-hot starts.

Momotaro
Momotaro

Michael Nagrant thinks highly-anticipated Momotaro is "already one of Chicago’s very best Japanese restaurants." Madai snapper braised in shoyu with shitake mushroom caps and nasturtium leaves reminds him of "fine dishes [he’s] had at the Michelin-starred L2O," while foie gras rolled inside washugyu skirt steak is "juicy and taste[s] like a fine rib-eye." Equally pleasing is the Unagi don—barbecued eel-topped rice with squash, mushroom and Japanese sansho pepper—is like "fried rice of the gods," but the sushi "could use a touch more consistency" as tarabagani nigiri features "soggy compressed flesh" and rice that’s "flimsy" and breaks away immediately. Fortunately, the toro tartare is "one of the best and most beautiful things" Nagrant’s eaten this year. For dessert, stick with the namelaka chocolate sponge cake with green tea ice cream instead of the other options. [RedEye]

The Melmans and Rancics have another huge hit on their hands with RPM Steak, writes Mike Sula. King crab legs with "smoky char on the tender flesh" and a "sweet, almost buttery" miso glaze" justify its $18 price tag, and the "millionaire’s potato," a double baked russet topped with fontina and black truffle, is "really the prize." Non-beef options include a "wonderful" broiled black cod fillet, while the best value on the menu is the "revelatory" short-rib steak that’s enough to "satisfy the bloodiest of meat tooths for just around $30." Some misses such as "oversalted" brussels sprouts and Dover sole with a "weird sickly" sweet sauce that "obliterates the flavor of the delicate fish" are found on the menu as well, but the overall experience is top-notch. [Reader]

Salero is awarded three stars by Phil Vettel for its excellent Spanish flavors. There’s plenty to love as the "extraordinarily meaty" roasted quail is stuffed with ground chorizo, and veal sweetbreads with bacon, hazelnuts and perigueux is a "collection of powerful flavors." Lamb served over confit-cooked tomatoes, mergeuz meatballs and green and wax beans is a "comfort-food dream," while zarzuela in saffron-sherry broth is "simple, but flawless." Similarly, the pork belly is a "superstar dish" that’s "as luscious as you’d hope." Vettel recommends the flan de queso for dessert, topped with blood-orange gel and surrounded by light caramel sauce and dots of saba. [Tribune]

Amy Cavanaugh makes her way to Elizabeth and calls it "one of the more fascinating experiences in Chicago food right now." Housemade rye bread is the "perfect vessel" for smoky, dry-aged lamb and shaved bits of cured egg yolk, while a plate of vegetables prepared like jerky is "more enjoyable than other meat jerky" she’s had. Thinly dried scallop chips are like "funky potato chips" and fried mushroom with acorn breading is "precisely the kind of thing that’s made for chilly fall evenings." There are a few minor duds—"barely warm" roasted chicken" and "too dry" doughnuts—but Cavanaugh thinks the end result "reminds us why we’re lucky to live in the Midwest." [TOC]

Salero

621 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661 (312) 466-1000 Visit Website

Momotaro

820 West Lake Street, , IL 60607 (312) 733-4818 Visit Website

Elizabeth Restaurant

4835 N Western Ave, , IL 60625 (773) 681-0651 Visit Website

RPM Steak

66 West Kinzie Street, , IL 60654 (312) 284-4990 Visit Website

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