Phil Vettel thinks the food at Baffo is "executed at the same high level as the prices." Eataly’s flagship restaurant is full of impressive plates like a wine-braised octopus that’s the "most tender" Vettel’s ever tasted and veal tongue topped with giardiniera that’s a "textural success." Pastas are also excellent, from the orecchiette to the "decadently rich" goat-cheese tortelloni with orange zest and fennel pollen.
Entrees dazzle as the scallops are "beyond reproach" and veal loin is "flawless meat" topped with foie gras butter and surrounded by chanterelle mushrooms and truffled celery root. Similarly, beef short rib is a "warm comfort on a winter evening." Desserts don’t wow but are all "well made" such as the cioccolata, an "indulgent mix" of spongecake, ganache and hazelnut gelato. [Tribune]
The Franklin Room confuses Mike Sula as the food "consistently straddles the line between gross and oddly compelling." A bowl of crispy ginger slices is a lemony snack he’d "like to have in [his] life every day" while slices of roasted eggplant under a blanket of greens with miso and Parmesan "come close to achieving peak meatiness."
Broiled Spanish mackerel is a "simple pleasure" but "things go off the rails" on a "dried-out, withered" lamb shank on a pile of heavy pancetta grits and on a corned beef served in "hacked-up irregular chunks" that looks like "someone dropped a Reuben on the plate from street level." Even worse is the chicken-fried rib eye with a "greasy fried crust" hiding tons of fat. Sula thinks "it’d be hard to find a Chicagoan depraved enough to stomach it." Ouch. [Reader]
Farm-to-table comes to Schaumburg with Grillhouse by David Burke. Laura Bianchi writes that the beef is "excellent;" tender filet with "deep, rich flavor" is used in steak frites and on an open-faced sandwich with crisp fried onion threads and bacon-jalapeno jam. Pizzas might be the "best [Bianchi’s] ever had," with "buttery-soft" short rib and ricotta topping a "perfectly fired, yeasty crust with chewy edges." Rounding out the menu is "rich and soul-satisfying" rigatoni with Italian sausage and a kale and fennel salad with cooked and fresh beets and "big, meaty" shrimp. [Crain’s]