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Nagrant Thinks Furious Spoon is Best; Vettel Gives Three Stars to Momotaro; More

Plus Time Out thinks Formento's reinvents old-school Italian, while Sula says Kokopelli is "lost in the crowd."

Furious Spoon
Furious Spoon
Marc Much

The ramen craze has hit Chicago hard and Michael Nagrant thinks Furious Spoon is delivering "some of the very best bowls." The "clear, lip-smacking and silky" pork broth has a "great body without being overbearingly thick" while the noodles, made in-house from a machine Shin Thompson brought from Japan, have a chew that other spots don't. On the "furious" ramen, the spicy miso broth with brisket, cha-sui and pork cheek is a "miraculous" combination of "sweet, heat and salt." Just "as addictive" is the cha-sui rice bowl featuring rice topped with chopped pork and scallions, while a bowl of "excellent" sweet-and-sour pickled veggies rounds out the sides. [RedEye]

The options are numerous and daunting at Momotaro but Phil Vettel finds plenty to like at the Japanese hotspot. Those who prefer omakases will do well with the sushi, a "straight line of imaginatively dressed" nigiri pieces, while the aji yakusugi—smoked jack mackeral—is a "real treat." The unique Momotaro tartare consists of diced sweet tomato, Maui onion and shiso leaves made to resemble tuna tartare and robata bites include "irresistible" hard-boiled quail eggs wrapped in bacon and drizzled with maple syrup.

With no shortage of items, the menu continues to please with "terrific" cedar-roasted sea bream with shiso dressing that's a "simple, clean" dish and one of Vettel's favorites. Downstairs at the Izakaya, uni toast featuring two pieces of toast spread with sea urchin, pickled celery and finely ground chorizo takes "best in show" and "small and light desserts" like the "very pretty" waka mono are perfect endings to a meal [Tribune]

Despite the influx of Italian restaurants, Formento's makes "old-school Italian feel new again." There are winners such as the shrimp scampi dish—halved langoustines topped with shrimp sausage and lemony breadcrumbs—as well as "good pastas" including a canestri with fennel sausage and meatballs "so light they're almost fluffy." Entrees don't hold back either as a "juicy" bone-in veal tomahawk wows and "creative" quail saltimbocca is "terrific." For dessert, the "sleeper hit" is a "creamy, minty" grasshopper that's a vast improvement over the regular version. [TOC]

In a neighborhood full of taco joints, Kokopelli is "lost in the crowd" according to Mike Sula. In most instances, the main issue lies with having "one too many" elements in the tacos resulting in "messy jumbles of muddled flavors and textures." A fish taco is buried in two kinds of salsa, chipotle coleslaw and citrus cream while a jicama-shrimp taco gets similarly lost amongst the ingredients. Others are poorly executed like the signature Kraken (octopus) that tastes "scorched and bitter."

Stick with less complicated tacos though like the Rasta and you'll find that they "aren't too bad, their flavors distinct and bright." Salsas are also "largely terrific," as are the ceviches and guacamoles. On the Black Harder, whitefish in squid ink with pineapple and peanut salsas is a "rare example of a pair working harmony." [TOC]

Kokopelli

1324 N Milwaukee, Chicago, IL

Formento's

925 West Randolph Street, , IL 60607 (312) 690-7295 Visit Website

Momotaro

820 West Lake Street, , IL 60607 (312) 733-4818 Visit Website

Furious Spoon

1571 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 687-8445

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