Rural Society is a steakhouse that's "worth the price," writes Mike Sula. It's "not a formulaic" place either; Chef Cory Morris' style is "marked by judicious seasoning, authentic ingredients, and precise presentation." An "alluring" plate of thinly sliced octopus is "delicate as sashimi" while roast peppers with anchovies is "taken to another level" with "airy, almost cheeselike" whipped eggplant. Morris also "does wonders" with veggies, making roasted beets "come alive" with an orange vinaigrette, whole coriander and charred bits of olive.
As for the meats, morcilla is "perhaps the richest, most potent blood sausage [Sula's] ever encountered" and the wood-burning parrilla delivers "lean and clean-tasting" Uruguayan grass-fed ribeye and tenderloin. Desserts aren't as exciting but a dulce de leche flan is deeply rich and "unsuccessfully" paired with mango sorbet. [Reader]
Drinkers will want to check out Bucktown's Presidio, which Amy Cavanaugh calls the area's "most serious cocktail program." The Bay Area-inspired restaurant features "fairly simple" food and "a lot" of Fernet, the Italian amaro popular out West. The "well-crafted" beverage list includes "gems" like "Flash in the Pan," a "summery" gin cooler; and the Jolly Roger, a "creamy" rum and Batavia Arrack drink that "evokes Thanksgiving, thanks to curried sweet potato." To go along with all that is a "well-executed" mix of small and large plates. Cavanaugh recommends skipping the "gummy" ricotta cavatelli with sausage and peppers and going with the "refreshing and hearty" rabbit salad instead.
Cajun-seafood BYOB spot the Angry Crab is worth the long waits. Seafood ordered by the pound is tossed with your choice of sauce and spices for an unbeatable combination. The "luxurious" garlic and butter sauce "really complement[s]" the food while the third level of heat makes Cavanaugh's lips burn in a good way. "Don't miss" the Dungeness crabs "packed with sweet meat" or the "tender" crawfish and "plump" shrimp. It's simply some of the "freshest, most delicious seafood in Chicago." [TOC]