Sink | Swim has plenty of kinks to sort out before it becomes a great seafood restaurant, according to Gwynedd Stuart. The new Logan Square spot from the Scofflaw group underwhelms with dishes like a fillet of sole, "devoid of flavor," in a salty brown broth with "undercooked" navy beans, boiled potatoes and greens. "Disappointment lurks" everywhere on the menu from "underwhelming" charred broccoli "overwhelmed" by seaweed flakes to a wreath of zucchini topped with smoked trout "drown[ing] in a kind of seafood fondue."
It's not all bad though as highlights include "gargantuan and beautifully briny" west-coast oysters and "chewy beets" with shaved pear and frisee that's brought to life with torn mint leaves. Ironically, the best thing on the menu is an "impossibly moist" chicken paillard with fried greens, turnip puree and a smear of thickened buttermilk, while dessert features a similarly moist pecorino cake accompanied by a honey-infused cream and "delightfully bitter" bits of grapefruit. The cocktail menu "strikes all the right chords" with options such as the "spicy and complex" Breakneck and "simple and summery" daiquiri. [Reader]
Amy Cavanaugh also checks out Sink | Swim and thinks that while there are some issues, the potential is high. "Perfectly shucked" oysters are available four ways and other pleasures include a "simple, elegant" gin-cured salmon and a "worthy" pecorino cake for dessert. Meanwhile, other dishes "seem too ambitious" like potatoes with "muddy" seaweed butter and smoked trout with an "identity crisis of accompaniments." The drink list is "terrific" though and the wine selection is full of "interesting, affordable choices that work well with seafood." [TOC]
Phil Vettel thinks Rural Society is a "very good and stylish steakhouse." Picanha, a steak with the texture of a sirloin strip and the flavor of a ribeye, is a "terrific piece of meat" as is the lomo, a dry-aged NY strip so rich it "positively glistens." Steaks aside, there's a "beautiful" octopus carpaccio, "terrific" housemade sausages and an "especially good" pasta dish of shellfish-filled saffron taglierini. For dessert, "delicious" panaquenes with blackberry ice cream and roasted pecans is "tidy, artistic and manageable." [Tribune]
Taco in a Bag "has a lot of promise" but "might benefit from a little more focus and a sometimes-lighter touch," writes Gwendolyn Purdom. Getting through the Cheeseburger Nachos requires "digging through a tangle of way too much romaine and an uneven distribution of beer-braised ground beef that overpower[s]" everything else, and likewise the Pizza in a Bag suffers from a "similar overload" of Bolognese sauce. Surprisingly, the vegetarian Vegemite bag achieves a "refreshing balance" while the Southern Dandy is an "inventive combination of tastes." Other menu items include elote-style corn that "pop[s] with sweet freshness and pungent bite," and disappointing Donuts in a Bag that are "too dense and bland, lacking the airy pop" Purdom hoped for. [RedEye]