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Tête Pleasing Critics; Vettel Lauds Topolobampo

Tête Charcuterie
Tête Charcuterie
Photo: Marc Much

Mike Sula thinks Tête Charcuterie shows great promise and is "excit[ed] to see what comes out of that curing room in the next few months." The charcuterie board is a good value that includes kitchen selections like "lush, smoky, tissue-thin" ribbons of full-fat bacon that "practically dissolve in the mouth," while the headcheese is "texturally pleasing" and aided by housemade mustard, "which delivers a nasal-burnishing burst of heat."

A large entrée of pork belly with a "umami-loaded" XO sauce has a "brain-rattling effect," but it's the "Spring Garden" salad that leaves a lasting impression on Sula. It's a "symphonic springtime signature dish" of dozens of different ingredients from charred romanesco cauliflower to sautéed chanterelles, and he has "more fun navigating it" than anything else he's eaten all year. [Reader]

Amy Cavanaugh has an equally pleasing experience at Tête. The "vibrantly colored" Spring Garden is "one of the most interesting vegetable dishes" she's had lately and each bite is "intensely flavored and perfectly executed." The $24 charcuterie plate is a "steal" and "the best charcuterie plate in Chicago right now" with "melt-in-your mouth" salumi and "succulent" cubes of head cheese. And the Filipino sausage served in a bowl with dried shrimp fried rice, chili marmalade and a slow-cooked egg is a "spicy, yolky, richly satisfying bowl." [TOC]

As Topolobampo turns 25, Phil Vettel writes that the "cooking is at the highest level [he's] ever seen." The current "Mexico City 1671" menu offers diners plenty of choices such as starters like "pristine" oysters with "wonderful" sauces, and a Trio, Trio, Trio sampling of ceviche and tuna-cocktail that's "pure communal joy."

Other options include a "soul-nurturing" sopa Azteca and a "gorgeous" quail tartlet with a béchamel-based sauce flavored with poblano and epazote. The "must-try" is the pork in clemole sauce, a "magical dish" of roasted pork shoulder and slices of pata negra Iberico ham in a "luxurious," bread-thickened sauce. For dessert, there's a rice-flour cake layered with sweet plantains, brandied caramel, plantain pudding and crunchy, coriander-flavored crumbles. [Tribune]

Tête Charcuterie

1114 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607 312 733 1178 Visit Website

Topolobampo

445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654 312-661-1434

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