Green Street Smoked Meats is a mixed bag that's decent, but won't turn any heads, Amy Cavanaugh writes. She isn't a fan of the large oysters served with a "lackluster" tartar sauce or the "worst" tamales she's ever had, which are "pure mush."
"Too dry" brisket is equally disappointing and lacks flavor, while the sausage has "no snap to the casing" and is "texturally one-note." The sauces are also forgettable and the only dessert option is coffee or vanilla soft serve, topped with a chocolate shell. Instead, Cavanaugh recommends sticking with the "satisfying" smoky chicken legs and her personal "favorite," the pulled pork.
Another new spot, Q BBQ, offers up nearly every type of barbecue imaginable to varying success. Brisket is "nice and smoky, but entirely too dry," although the burnt ends fare better. The sausage is the real winner among the meats and "among the best" in Chicago with a spicy "lingering burn" and "great snappy casing," while the chicken wings are also "flavorful and meaty."
Sauces tend to be "too sweet" and sides include "nearly raw" green beans and "super-sweet" baked beans, but the "unexpected" spicy fried Brussels sprouts are a pleasant surprise. [TOC]
Phil Vettel thinks A10 "demands" attention and "has just about everything you'd want in a restaurant." Sweetbread saltimbocca over a bowl of fontina fondue is "terrific;" lamb belly over baked gnocchi cake with a 60-minute egg is "pure richness;" and swordfish crudo is "lightness and brightness."
An osso buco lasagna with braised lamb shank and quark is "worth ordering for looks alone, but [is] also delicious" while the porchetta, a special one night, is "so good it deserves permanent menu space." Capping the meal off are chocolate beignets and layered chocolate carmelia, a "chocolate-on-chocolate indulgence." [Tribune]
Coppervine's ambitious pairings concept is a hit, thanks in large part to the comforts food menu that's executed "really well," according to Lisa Shames. The flavors of the tuna crudo with pork belly are "spot on, especially when eaten with its 2-ounce cocktail partner," while a royal trumpet mushroom flatbread with ricotta and spicy pepperoni is "wonderful."
"Plump, delicious pieces" of fried chicken "live up to its Large Plate moniker—and then some" and the seasoning and texture of the red-wine braised short rib are "ideal." For dessert, the warm Valrhona chocolate molten cake is "worth revisiting." [CS]