The last time Chicagoans really heard from infamous food critic John Mariani it wasn't pretty, during that social media flap involving Grant Achatz in September. Mariani's last public tweet actually addressed the matter. But what was he doing in Chicago? Find out in The Huffington Post, which published a piece on Monday by Mariani where he surprisingly and lavishly lauds C Chicago, the seafood concept from the folks behind Chicago Cut Steakhouse that wasn't well received by local critics.
While Chicago magazine's Jeff Ruby labeled C Chicago "everything that is wrong with restaurants, and humanity," Mariani called it "the most admirable restaurant to open in Chicago in the last couple of years." Local critics panned C Chicago so hard that management made changes. Mariani acknowledged the chef shuffle, but remained in love with the space, effusive with his praise: "it's as modern and refined a dining room as you'll find in America right now, a place where when you walk in you say, 'Yes, this is where I want to eat.'"
Mariani also visited NoMi Kitchen and chatted with executive chef Satoru Takeuchi, who joined the Park Hyatt restaurant in April. Like C Chicago, Mariani brought attention to the seafood selections, but he later centered on the Western-style dishes, including a "Yorkshire porcelet as tender as any I've ever had...."