Seven Lions is a "crowd-pleasing place" that's "exactly the right kind of restaurant" for Michigan Ave, writes Amy Cavanaugh. While there are "some execution issues to fix," Cavanaugh is impressed by the "approachable" menu full of classics like a "solid" burger and "excellent" half chicken with "tender" meat, well-salted gravy and nubs of spaetzle.
A few misfires include the shrimp cocktail, a play on shrimp and grits, that arrives with a "greasy warm" grit cake and "rubbery" shrimp as well as a "flavorless" black cod dish. But the breakfast "cereal" bowl is perhaps the "best dessert [Cavanaugh's] had this year," with vanilla panna cotta, toffee corn puffs, raspberries and caramelized bananas. And as expected, the wine glass list is "short but full of good picks, from a well-balanced Napa rose to a crisp, vibrant albarino." [TOC]
The flavors at Taus Authentic "just aren't popping the way the menu promises," writes Mike Sula. Beef tartare lacks any hint of the XO sauce it's supposed to be served with while pork shoulder and Chinese radish cakes bathing in kimchi stew has "no heat, no funk, and no vegetation." Similarly, veal cheek pot-au-feu features "awfully bland" meat.
Other dishes taste "just fine" though like braised octopus and chorizo supplemented by cannellini beans and piquillo pepper relish, and thick lamb chops with mint gremolata and fried Brussels sprouts. A side of long beans with boiled peanuts and parmesan also has an "intense salty sourness reminiscent of Burmese tea salad" that grows on Sula, and for dessert a "substantial" apple tart with a scoop of buttermilk ice cream is "approachably honest." [Reader]
Jeff Ruby thinks that while River Roast is cold and impersonal, the food is "actually good." There are plenty of "crowd-pleasing" snacks like "Golden Gobbets" fried chicken and a "first-rate" Scotch egg that's a "sausage-y behemoth with pickled mustard seeds and red onions." The menu seems "engineered to satisfy the hordes" with items such as pork meatballs with tomato sauce and ricotta gnocchi, and a "bright" shrimp & crab toast. The signature roasts are the real deal too: "lovely crunchy-soft chunks" of fried branzino fall off the skewer while the "succulent" chicken is "cold-smoked to seal in the moisture." [Chicago]