Good Stuff Eatery receives a rave review from RedEye, who says it’s serving "quite possibly the best fast-casual burgers in Chicago." The juicy patties "rival the greats" on "slightly sweet, supremely starchy and seductively soft" Martin’s potato rolls. A "delectable" special Prez Obama Burger is topped with bacon, onion, marmalade, Roquefort cheese and horseradish mayo while the Good Stuff Melt "ooze[s" with cheddar, muenster, caramelized onion and Good Stuff Sauce, a "mayo-ketchup blend that is superior to McDonald’s secret sauce."
Other items include village fries loaded with thyme and rosemary, and Cliff’s Vidalia onion petals that are a "tempura-fried revelation." Satiating the sweet tooth are treats such as the toasted marshmallow-flavored shake that’s like a "campfire in your mouth" and an orange creamsicle float.
New speakeasy-style bar the Drifter is "approachable and impressive … with expertly crafted cocktails and a rotating menu that lures you to return again and again." Morgan Olsen checks out the spot, which features rotating drinks written on tarot cards selected at random every evening. The cocktails are "strong, complex and full of flavor," such as the Leblon James "packed with florally citrus flavors that smell[s] almost too good to drink." Other winners include the "warm and boozy with notes of apple" World Class Aspirations and B.B. Gun, a "light pink, delicate cocktail" that’s the "star of the night."
Food is "just OK" as sausage-stuffed peppers with tomato fondue are "rubbery and generally flavorless" and olives are just … olives. "Oddball performers" including a juggler and contortionist provide live entertainment that "can’t be described as young, trendy or mainstream—and that’s a feat in River North." [RedEye]
The Kitchen’s brunch offers the "perfect comfort-food" to "jump-start [the] weekend," writes Lisa Shames. The beautiful downtown restaurant features a "straightforward, ingredient-focused approach" from chef Johny Anderes that Shames finds "refreshing" on dishes like "creamy" maple syrup-spiked Red Flint polenta topped with eggs and "chewy-in-a-good-way" bacon. A mustard and egg-yolk sauce gribiche adds both "richness and zip" to a Berkshire pork salad while a roasted-squash salad is "more than just the sum of its parts."
"Light and fluffy" goat-Gouda gougères are worth trying, as is the "perfectly cooked" ricotta cavatelli with braised goat. For mains, half chicken "gets a flavor boost" from tangy yogurt marinade and the flavors of the whole roasted Rushing Waters trout is "spot on." [CS]
Lost Lake is "more challenging—and more interesting" than Paul McGee’s first tiki bar Three Dots and a Dash according to Amy Cavanugh. Pool Rules is "perfectly balanced" between rum and bourbon with vanilla and warm spices; Tic Tac Taxi is a coconut-passionfruit-rum slushie; and Lima Lima Scorpion Bowl is a "fruity-but-dry" blend of gin, apple brandy and various fruits. Food is "also worth exploring" and one should definitely order "standouts" like a dish of cucumbers with mint and sesame leaves and crispy chicken wings that’s a "glorious mess" of sambal and soy.
Homaro Cantu’s coffee shop Berrista falls short of its promise. The shop centers on the miracle berry, a fruit that makes one perceive acidic items as sweet, but in practice Cavanaigh found that it "didn’t do much." A doughnut and sandwich "taste[s] almost exactly the same, while the coffee cake [is] slightly sweeter." Worse yet, "none of the food [is] very good, with or without the berry." The texture of the coffee cake is "sticky" and the fried chicken sandwich features a "floppy" waffle and a "single piece of wilted lettuce." Just about the only saving grace is a "solid lineup" of locally roasted beans brewed on a Steampunk. [TOC]