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CS on Taus' Successful Return; TOC: Community Tavern is Hit or Miss; More

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Plus Phil Vettel gives three stars to the "excellent" Harvest Room in Palos Heights.

Taus Authentic
Taus Authentic
Marc Much

Michael Taus brings his skills to Wicker Park with Taus Authentic and impresses CS with his globally-inspired menu. There’s Aunt Reba’s fried chicken, featuring "some of the crispiest and juiciest bird parts" Lisa Shames has had in a while, that’s full of "terrific flavor and texture." A foie gras appetizer layers foie with slices of brioche, Nueske’s’ bacon and oven-dried tomatoes, while an "elegant, fun and delicious" diver scallop dish pairs raw scallop with watermelon radish and green apple.

For seafood entrees, a "perfectly seared" piece of fluke is enhanced by a Korean-style rice-flour pancake, caramelized cauliflower and chile vinaigrette.  And to finish, sweets range from a deconstructed chocolate cake to lemon goat-cheese kolachky with fruit dumplings and poppy-seed ice cream. [CS]

Portage Park’s Community Tavern brings steakhouse staples to the neighborhood with varying results. There are "gems" like a double cheeseburger that "hits all the right flavors and textures" and is everything Amy Cavanaugh wants in a burger, as well as a cheddar bacon muffin that’s more like a "lovely, buttery brioche." But the wedge salad is an "unappealing landslide" of thick nubs of chewy bacon, tomatoes and cheddar; a cauliflower side dish is "goopy;" and the meat in the steak frites is "missing salt." There’s also a "very good" beer list and "affordably priced" wines, both of which are recommended over the "weak" and "watery" cocktails. [TOC]

Out in Palos Heights, Harvest Room chef Jonathan Harootunian is "pulling out some of the stops," writes Phil Vettel. Peking pork is a "fun riff" of hoisin-glazed pork belly, scallion pancakes, Fresno chilies and pickled lotus root for a dish of "assertive flavors combined with postmodern presentation." Tuna sashimi is an "exercise in textures" with different offerings of fish; the dinner burger is "simply a great burger;" and steak bravas features "excellent" grass-fed beef topped with "brightly acidic" salsa verde. To finish, the mousse noir is a "true indulgence" of dark chocolate spongecake layered with semisweet-chocolate buttercream, topped with Luxardo cherries and a little black pepper. [Tribune]

Taus Authentic

1846 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622

Community Tavern

4038 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60641 (773) 283-6080 Visit Website

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