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Phil Vettel Loves Boka's Reinvention; More

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Photo: Marc Much

The latest edition of Boka is a welcome transformation that will "knock you for a loop," writes Phil Vettel. "Memorable" starters include soft ricotta gnudi and Lee Wolen's octopus in a burnt-orange seasoned pork broth, which will "spoil you for other versions." The veggie work is "joyful and delicious," with the "picture-perfect" broccoli salad a "must-order" dish of stems and florets with lemon vinaigrette, marcona almonds and parmesan sablet. Meat dishes also "dazzle" as the short rib is a "revelation" and a variation of Wolen's famous chicken makes an appearance as well. For dessert, a "lovely" coffee cremeux is accompanied by hazelnut cake, milk ice cream and whiskey foam. [Tribune]

At the revamped Japonais by Morimoto, the "food is not quite as exciting as the surroundings" but still delivers a solid meal. Laura Bianchi finds that the Japanese-influenced carbonara with spicy cod roe is "one of the best midday dishes" while hamachi tacos and the tuna taco are also "major flavor centers." The braised black cod bento box is a "good value for a speedy lunch," featuring "meltingly tender" fillet in a ginger-soy reduction, and pork kakuni buns are "delectable." To finish, go with the fudgy caramel chocolate tart over other options. [Crain's]

At North Avenue Charhouse in St. Charles, the dishes are "perfectly executed," according to the Daily Herald Meat lovers will "find themselves plenty of choices" with prime rib, filet mignon, baby back ribs, pork and lamb chops, various chicken options and more. The shrimp de jonghe starter is a "simple preparation" done right—six shrimp baked in a "tasty" garlic butter-and-seasoned breadcrumb mixture—while the London broil is topped with a mushroom and wine-enriched Bordelaise sauce. Capping things off, housemade tiramisu is "perfectly acceptable" but none of the other offerings "[hold] any surprise" and could use more flair. [Daily Herald]


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