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The Reader Says Boka 'Maintains its Relevance'; The Daily Herald Tries Bistro Chen

Photo: Marc Much

The Reader's Mike Sula wonders why Boka's new executive chef Lee Wolen "hasn't thrown his hat in with the legions of ramen pretenders that have proliferated in the city" after tasting the roasted pork broth in Wolen's grilled Spanish octopus appetizer. He adds that Wolen could "teach them a thing or two."

Though the heaviness of the menu overall presents some issues, with Sula opining that it "seems geared toward enabling the accumulation of hibernation weight,", he concedes that "it leads to some powerfully delicious food." And despite the roasted chicken being all the rage (his chicken breast came to the plate dry), a dish with a "lighter touch" featuring "silky fillets of loup de mer and tender rings of calamari" "has an intensity of flavors that's muted in some of the heavier offerings" and gives an idea of how future menus will look. Praise is also given to pastry chef Genie Kwon's "abstract arrangements." [Reader]

Opening in late 2013 after the closing of Chin's, an Arlington Heights institution for 54 years, The Daily Herald's Deborah Pankey notes that Bistro Chen has kept some of the former's signature dishes while incorporating their own. Also new is a Saturday and Sunday brunch featuring dim sum (chicken feet anyone?) and a sushi bar (separated from the dining room by a "black tiled divider").

Pankey says that the egg rolls were "plump and crisp," but that the crab rangoon "was too light on the creamy, scallion-flecked filling." The almond duck, a "Chin's favorite," featured "generous slices of nicely pink, crisp-skinned poultry." A dish of curry shrimp proved too hot for the table, but featured an "intoxicatingly fragrant sauce and tender shrimp" that "pleased this palate." [Daily Herald]


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