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Reader: de Quay's Fusion Excites; RedEye: Villains' Triumphant Return; More

Plus a neighborhood gastropub gem in Humboldt Park.

de Quay
de Quay
Marc Much

Mike Sula is pleased with the "exciting" Dutch-Indonesian fusion going on at de Quay. Almost everything on the menu is either an "overt or subdued combination of the two cuisines" like oorlog Amsterdam frites that are "crispy but creamy inside" and loaded with mayo, peanut satay sauce and chopped raw onion. Sweet lacquered chicken satay maximizes "juiciness" and is served with a "cooling rough-cut" cabbage slaw while one of the "most surprisingly delicious dishes" is a hunk of red-wine-braised short rib and shiitake mushrooms accompanied by fried croquettes filled with emulsified beef. For dessert, stroopwaffel, an iconic Dutch street cookie that’s "warm and pliable with a gooey cinnamon interior, is a mandatory finish." [Reader]

The new iteration of Villains in the South Loop offers not only "one of the finest burgers available in Chicago," but also "wonderful seasonally focused care." The space is "rustically elegant with just a tiny touch of edge" and offers fine, "funky" burgers that are "thick, juicy, medium-rare" with a "slight mineral flavor." Likewise, double-fried fries are "addictively splendid" while non-burger plates include a slice of pork belly that eats "like a ham steak" complemented by honeycomb, charred asparagus and verdant farm peas that taste like "the very essence of spring." As for drinks, the "stellar" and "most excellent" craft beer list features a "solid sampling of Michigan’s finest breweries." [RedEye]

"Well-executed" Haywood Tavern is a spot Amy Cavanaugh thinks every neighborhood should have. The "cozy" space with a "completely relaxed ambiance" offers "more ambitious dishes [dishes] than you’d expect from a tavern." There’s a burger and roast chicken but also piquillo peppers stuffed with deviled egg salad while a light starter of parisienne gnocchi is packed with fava beans, asparagus and mushrooms. Provoleta is "everything you want melted cheese to be" with pickled shallots and carrots to lighten it up" and a dessert of cornmeal cake topped with rhubarb, salted Chantilly cream and basil chiffonade is "simple but inspired." [TOC]

De Quay

, Chicago, IL (872) 206-8820

Villain's Black Market Craft

730 S Clark St, Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 583-0283

The Shelby

8445 West 3rd Street, , CA 90048 (323) 424-3230