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Nagrant Says Oyster Bah's 'Pristine Seafood' Shines; TOC Satisfied by Maple & Ash; More

Plus Cantina 1910 continues to be a hit with critics but Appellation's muddled dishes miss the mark.

Oyster Bah
Oyster Bah
Marc Much

Michael Nagrant praises LEYE's Oyster Bah for its "pristine seafood prepared with impeccable technique at reasonable prices." The cold combo is a platter featuring sweet Spring Creek oysters, tiny bites of king crab and "crisp and briny" little neck clams, accompanied by an "interesting" and "refreshing" Guinness stout granita. A "fiery and bright" snapper is smothered in a Fresno chilis sauce and crab cakes are "hefty but simple [cakes] with punchy flavor and little filler." Shrimp tempura served with a salty, spicy ginger-soy dipping sauce is another "innovative" item while the meal is finished with a "monsoon-moist" wedge of coconut cake. Nagrant likes the restaurant, whose décor feels like "Red Lobster reimagined by hipsters," so much that he thinks it's destined to be a "classic, one that will likely join the pantheon of other long-lived Lettuce spots." [RedEye]

Maple & Ash is a satisfying steakhouse experience that offers "cooler ambiance than old-school spots." Amy Cavanaugh says seafood is a "good choice to start," with "refreshing" salmon tartare atop fried phyllo dough and "fat, sweet" crab legs. For steaks, the bone-in rib-eye has a "juicy center, mineral flavor and charred edge" while dessert features a "whimsical" and towering sundae topped with hot fudge, salted caramel, nuts, candy and fruit. A "great cocktail list" includes various takes on the martini such as the "gentle" M&A Reverse, which brings dry vermouth "to the forefront, then accents it" with Bombay gin and Angostura orange bitters. [TOC]

Appellation, the wine bar inside the new Pastoral in Andersonville, needs some refining, according to Mike Sula. His main complaint is that the cheeses are "often so subdued in execution that little can be said about their own individual character." The funky intensity that should be evident in the gougeres are instead "subsumed" in the pate a choux while Sardinian cow's milk Podda Classico is "overwhelmed" by white anchovy and sweet onion relish. Likewise, a bowl of chicken soup contains "bland" dumplings made from American cheese SarVecchio.

"Executional issues and seemingly consistent underseasoning" also plague other dishes as well. Egg noodles with pork shoulder ragu tastes like "it hasn't come within a mile of salt;" chicken thighs "drown in a mass of watery" mashed potatoes; and "fat, gummy" white gnudi with a "shockingly large" serving of purple beets is an "assault of contrasts." Desserts save the meal from being a complete bomb as a dish of Il Nocciolo cheese with shortbread and cranberry jelly is the "best and most cheese-forward thing" Sula tries. For the time being, he suggests sticking to the cheese plates, "which make use of the formidable stock the restaurant has on hand." [Reader]

Cantina 1910 is a "delicious, buzzy success" and the "handsomest restaurant" in Andersonville, writes David Zivan. To start, a vivid ceviche "balances perfectly" while tacos include a "delicious" al pastor option. Arroz negro is a "savory plate" of black rice and squid picadito topped with an "addictive" corn crema, and the "crowd-pleasing" puerco en cazuela is akin to a Mexican cassoulet. Drinks "show plenty of love and thought" with the "real winner" being the 1910 Old Fashioned, given a "smoky intrigue" with the addition of Vida mezcal. [CS]

Oyster Bah

1962 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

Appellation

5212 North Clark Street, , IL 60640 (773) 358-7181 Visit Website

Maple & Ash

8 West Maple Street, , IL 60610 (312) 944-8888 Visit Website

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