Leghorn gets it "perfectly right" with the chicken, which Dana Moran says is "prepared with tender, loving care." The restaurant is "absolutely not messing around" with its "expertly fried" sandwiches, and "breast is best" when it comes to the cut of meat. The winner when it comes to sauces is a "killer" Kewpie mayo that's "delicious on everything."
Other menu items include "lovely hunks" of chicken tenders that are "moist and the perfect level of crispy," as well as sides like a "beautifully balanced" shaved vegetable slaw and green chili hush puppies. [RedEye]
Amy Cavanaugh suggests saving your money and skipping Baffo, where the food "pales in comparison to Eataly." Marinated sardines are "fine but forgettable" while an "ill-conceived" foie gras and chicken liver-stuffed pasta has "too dry-filling" and a "sickly sweet" balsamic brown butter-brown sugar sauce.
Equally disappointing entrees include a "tepid" calamari and the barbecued squab, a "tough" bird atop a "mildly flavored" beet faro risotto. Cocktails should also be avoided in favor of wine, as the Negroni is "too heavy" on vermouth and a Scotch-falernum-pistachio drink is "overly sweet." Just about the only "saving grace" is a "really lovely" millefoglie dessert that shouldn't be missed. Otherwise, stick with Eataly where you'll have a "better, more delicious time … for much less."
There's a lot to like at unheralded Celeste, which is destined to become a hotspot, writes Cavanaugh. Start with the Golden Filigree, a "smooth," clarified milk punch based on Benjamin Franklin's recipe before moving onto the other cocktails. The Stockholm Syndrome is a "sleeper hit—it's funky, herbal, savory"—while another standout is the Cynar and rum-based Ambiguous Smile, a "simple but lush drink." The food menu is "filled with hits" that are "much better" than typical bar food like "tender" baby octopus tentacles, and jidori chicken with a "beautiful" sherry-truffle sauce. [TOC]
Nico "delivers a blast of pleasure rivaling anything One Off Hospitalityhas unveiled," according to Jeff Ruby. Its minestrone with roasted calamari, head-on shrimp and chickpeas is a "rewarding brew" while a smoky grilled quail al tonnato enters "the pantheon of instant classics." Likewise, an "impeccably fresh" whole wild branzino "may be the best fish in Chicago," and Amanda Rockman's Nico Torte is a "heroric monument" of sabayon pumpkin and plums soaked in Earl Grey crème. [Chicago]
Phil Vettel finds a hidden gem in Waterleaf, a professionally-run restaurant on the campus of the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. Along with "one of the most beautiful dining rooms in the western suburbs," the kitchen boasts "excellent-quality ingredients and good execution."
A single scallop is served with a "pleasant jumble" of cashews, avocado, mint and grapefruit while the daily risotto is a "good bet."
Among the main courses, "don't pass up" the standout porchetta or an "excellent" bass on a bed of northern bean fricassee. "Uncommonly pretty" desserts include a "very good" thin-layered opera cake topped with white-pepper ice cream, and a chocolate tart with raspberry cremeux and orange crème brulee. [Tribune]