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RedEye: Sink | Swim is “Destination-Worthy;” Mike Sula Thinks Seven Lions is a Safe Bet

But Rural Society's smoky haze clouds its stellar food.

Sink | Swim
Sink | Swim
Marc Much

Sink | Swim wows Michael Nagrant with dishes that are "incredibly complex, interesting and destination-worthy." The new nautical-themed restaurant from the Scofflaw team shows "very little kitsch" in its décor and offers an "eminently affordable" menu from chef Matt Danko, whose style is a "smart, punchy flavor-forward reimagination of classic dishes." Those include a shrimp toast tea sandwich where "each element popped off with flavor in rapid succession like a fireworks grand finale," and monkfish liver torchon that's "somehow greater than the best duck liver pates."

A celery root soup tastes like a "rich man's clan chowder," although it could use something to cut through the richness, while the beef and broccoli is a "brilliant riff" on the Chinese staple. Just about the only dud is a smoked trout that tastes like "eating canned tuna enrobed in microwaved Miracle Whip." To finish, Danko's pound cake infused with grated pecorino tossed with dehydrated grapefruit is a "beautiful mix of sweet, bitter and fruit flavors" and "one of the most imaginative and tastiest desserts" of the year. [RedEye]

Seven Lions plays things safe and its well-executed menu appeals to a broad audience, writes Mike Sula. "Delicious" fried chicken skins to start are "light and crispy" and served with honey sriracha, while "fall-apart silky" black cod has a "thin, crusted sear" and is served with ricotta gnocchi and meaty maitake mushrooms. Squid ink spaghetti with thinly sliced octopus in a red broth is reminiscent of Chef Boyardee in a good way but the "best thing" Sula tries is a side of charred leeks and country ham. And for dessert, an "intensely sweet" take on Kellogg's Corn Pops features toffee-tinged puffs in a bowl of panna cotta tossed with sliced bananas and raspberries. [Reader]

Rural Society offers "one of the best lunch menus" Laura Bianchi's encountered but the overwhelmingly strong, smoky smell that permeates the restaurant makes it difficult to wholeheartedly recommend. Empanadas are filled with "exceptionally robust" braised wagyu belly and a "mixta" salad of baby greens, goat cheese and poached cherries with zesty shallot-oregano vinaigrette is worth a look. Other options you "can't miss" with are the choripan sandwich and the fugazza, a "tender," focaccia-like pizza crust with fresh mozzarella, onions and oregano.  As for the meats, the "outstanding" grilled steak is glazed with Malbec-spiked butter and served with a side of savory sweet potato coins topped with aged French cheese and bacon bits. [Crain's]

Seven Lions

130 S Michigan Ave, , IL 60603 (312) 880-0130 Visit Website


3213 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (773) 486-7465

Rural Society

455 N. Park Dr., Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 840-6605 Visit Website