Mike Sula thinks the Duck Inn has a few kinks to work out but is off to a promising start and Bridgeport native Chef Kevin Hickey "knows just how a new restaurant should fit in." A supersized version of the Chicago dog is an "impressive, jaw-stretching" tube steak dressed with a "judicious application" of the expected toppings while a duck confit and foie gras tamale "disintegrates at the touch."
Other plates could use some refining like the "lusciously buttery, creamy" uni risotto undone by "mushy" shrimp, and a "slightly dry" brisket accompanied by a ribbon of pasta that "could have spent a minute or two longer in the boiling water." The duck is a mixed bag as well with "phenomenal" breasts "oozing with hot juices" but legs and thighs being "dried, stringy, and desiccated." Desserts include a mini baked Alaska and a dark, sticky toffee pudding with rum-spiked cream that are "wintry finishes that would send anyone out the door equipped to survive the elements." [Reader]
Charlatan is "basically the Midwest in a nutshell" with its meat, carbs and beer, writes Sam Faye. Expect lots of "real earthy and gamey flavors that will be the most enjoyable part of your meal" on dishes like the farro salad, a "good mix" of squash, charred scallions, arugula, mint and olive oil. Pastas "should be the focus of your meal" with rabbit casoncelli, sweet potato agnolotti and black kale spaghhettini being the "highlights," but don’t be afraid to go big with the "tender" whole oxtail or a ridiculous whole pig’s head that’s meant to be shared. [The Infatuation]
Lombard’s Casa Real is satisfying diners with "reasonably priced, well-made cooking." Thomas Witom recommends the freshly prepared tableside guacamole; each ingredient making a "bold statement in this flavorful appetizer." The sauce "work[s] well" in the pollo con mole, "complementing" the roasted chicken breast, while San Miguel Enchiladas are a "savory pleasure" stuffed with chicken, potato and chorizo. For dessert, a "winning" bananas Foster is flambéed in dark rum alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream. [Daily Herald]