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Critics Enjoying Swift & Sons; Nagrant Loves Monteverde's Refreshing Italian; More

Plus, Travelle Kitchen & Bar's new lunch menu is "right on."

Swift & Sons
Swift & Sons
Marc Much

Swift & Sons reimagines the traditional steakhouse and gives it a refreshing update, writes Mike Sula. An appetizer of agnolotti stuffed with celery-root puree is "so delicate and ethereally delicious it somehow seems both an outlier and just the thing you want to consume" before steaks while an "intensely peppery" Caesar salad "becomes an exercise in extremes" with salty cheese and "bracing" spice. Avoid the "overcooked" striped bass but the roast half chicken is a "paragon of the form, its brittle delicate skin armoring lush, juicy poultry flesh." As for the beef, Sula says the rib cap is a something he could "eat exclusively for the rest of [his] life." Pastry Chef Meg Galus' ice creams are the perfect ending, achieving "uncommonly dense, silky textures." [Reader]

Amy Cavanaugh is also impressed by Swift & Son's "rethinking of steakhouse cuisine." The hot platter, a spin on the traditional seafood tower, consists of langoustine stuffed with shrimp mousse, a pair of oysters and a "marvelous" clam packed with bacon, breadcrumbs and melted cheese. Surf and turf features a "beautifully tender" cap steak served with citrus-poached lobster while a bone-in rib eye comes with a "flawless char" and zesty steak sauce. For dessert, the S&S Cracker Jack "perfectly nails the salty-sweet elements" by balancing peanut butter mousse with salty popcorn sherbet and crisp caramel corn. [TOC]

Sarah Grueneberg is creating some special Italian dishes fused with Spanish and Asian flavors at Monteverde. Michael Nagrant starts with skewers of "fat, wobbly, seawater-kissed" octopus tentacles and char-grilled leaks nestled in a "sweet, smoky and addictive" peperonata. A dish of mozzarella e ham features "soulful flavors" such as cherry tomatoes, country ham, warm bread rounds and orbs of cheese "so creamy" Nagrant is convinced it's actually burrata.

Pastas include pinwheel rounds of cannelloni saltimbocca stuffed with lamb belly, manchego, prosciutto and sage plated with a "nutty, velvety-smooth" cauliflower béchamel. It's a combination that's "richer than a hedge fund manager, but a smart swoosh" of balsamic vinegar lightens the load. The budino is a custardy-sweet ending Nagrant would take "over crème brulee all day" and overall, he thinks the "technique and ingredient quality" of Monteverde rivals Spiaggia, but at a much lower price point. [RedEye]

Despite Travelle Kitchen & Bar's recent transformation, chef Tim Graham's "creativity and execution continue to be right on." The menu's Mediterranean-inspired dishes have been replaced by seasonal American fare and Joanne Trestrail thinks "every offering goes a bit above and beyond." Sweet squash soup is "made more interesting" with garnishes of pear, dried cranberries and nutty granola while black bean fries with charred scallion dip are "even more memorable." Larger bites include a "terrific" smoked-turkey club with bacon, piquillo peppers, aioli and fried egg as well as risotto with chanterelle mushrooms and sage that "stands out." To finish, pumpkin cheesecake and gooey dark-chocolate cake will send you back to office happy and content from lunch. [Crain's]


330 N Wabash Ave Fl 2, Chicago, IL 60611 312-923-7705 Visit Website

Swift & Sons

1000 West Fulton Market, , IL 60607 (312) 733-9420 Visit Website


1020 West Madison Street, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 888-3041