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TOC Thinks The Duck Inn's Bar Menu Excels; Izakaya Mita's Bites Excite Nagrant; More

Plus Oak + Char's disappointing lunch sandwiches.

The Duck Inn
The Duck Inn
Marc Much

Service issues aside, Amy Cavanaugh thinks the Duck Inn is "on its way to being a great restaurant." The bar menu is full of winners: fried cheese curds are like "little clouds placed atop aquavit-laced Bloody Mary ketchup; the hamburger sandwich is a "greasy but worthy update of a patty melt;" and the duck fat dog is a "magnificent specimen."

The regular menu isn’t quite as successful, although duck breast is "tender" and "richly flavored." Instead, braised brisket is a "tad dry" and prawns and risotto with uni butter is "underdone," while crispy chicken with pickled Brussels sprouts and chicken heart gravy is "good but unexciting." Desserts are also hit-or-miss as an apple and parsnip brown betty with sweet parsnip ice cream is pleasant but beignets are "basically leaden chocolate pastry." [TOC]

Izakaya Mita channels the spirit of a true izakaya according to Michael Nagrant. You’ll find interesting bites on the menu like a bowl of squid bits covered in a fizzy pink sauce that "pop[s] with funky, briny flavor" and smoky chicken gizzards that are "so good." Equally tasty are sweet shitake mushrooms glazed with a sweet soy sauce that are like "delectable fungi candy," and an eggplant, cheese and jalapeno tempura "sandwich" that packs all the ingredients into "one crazy delicious nugget." Just about the only dish that falters is the tonkotsu ramen and its "too salty" broth and "desert-dry" roast pork." [RedEye]

The food at Oak + Char is a "mixed bag," writes Joanne Trestrail. The sandwiches on the lunch menu are "let-downs" that are "marred by bread pressed to the point of toughness." The Cuban is "stingy" with meat while the egg and a "thick blanket" of béchamel on top "overwhelm whatever delicacy" the croque-madame might have had. However it’s not all bad; creamy cauliflower bisque "works well with its moody undertone" of smoked cilantro yogurt and salads like a roasted acorn squash salad are a "strong suit, prettily plated and built with ingredients not encountered often enough."

Izakaya Mita

1960 North Damen Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 799-8677 Visit Website

The Duck Inn

2701 South Eleanor Street, , IL 60608 (312) 724-8811 Visit Website

Oak + Char

217 W Huron St, Chicago, IL 60654 (312) 643-2427 Visit Website