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Vettel Thinks Prime & Provisions is a Top Steakhouse; Sula on 'Majestic' Cherry Circle Room; More

But Son of a Butcher needs tweaking and Schwa still excels after a decade.

Prime & Provisions
Prime & Provisions

Prime & Provisions is a steakhouse "done absolutely right" with meats that’ll make you "very, very happy." Phil Vettel heaps praise on just about everything on the menu, starting with an "impressive presentation" of tuna tartare and "seriously good" crab and lobster cake. "Thick cut" bacon is "true indulgence," an "inch-deep slab" of crisp pork belly served with a maple-chili glaze and smear of bittersweet chocolate sauce. Steaks include an "excellent" roasted, double-cut prime rib, a "terrific" bone-in rib-eye and a dry-aged Kansas City steak whose "deep, beefy tang [is] the stuff of dreams." To cap off the meal, "tableside s’mores" is the "star dessert" that pleases and entertains. [Tribune]

Mike Sula thinks Cherry Circle Room is a "majestic" space inside Chicago Athletic Association with a "mostly well-executed menu." Modern interpretations of classics, such as a "mineral-rich" beef tartare with shaved Gouda and quail egg, are "so nicely presented it’s difficult to be bored." Likewise, the steak presentation "rivals that of any of the nearby expense-account steak houses" and a 48-ounce tomahawk prime rib is "lush, buttery, and rich." Misses include a "terribly overcooked" halibut fillet alongside a "solid clump" of squid ink pasta as well as a disappointing and "pointless deconstruction" of "dry" carrot cake. Instead, Sula suggests a "more satisfying endgame" would be one of Paul McGee’s boozy ice cream drinks served in a miniature milk bottle. [Reader]

Son of a Butcher hasn’t found the perfect balance yet, writes Amy Cavanaugh. Vegetarian starters include "heavy" goat cheese fritters and an "overdressed" squash salad while entrees also miss with "underseasoned" pork cheek torta and a "leaden" burger. They also range from "cold to lukewarm, and service from disinterested to smothering" for a dining experience Cavanaugh finds hard to recommend at this point. [TOC]

Ten years in, Schwa is still as unique, colorful and transcendent as ever. Jeff Ruby finally gets to try the tasting menu at the venerable restaurant, which is full of "similar jarring flavors and goofy ideas." Some of the offerings "border on miraculous" like a dish of "perfect" hand-cut spaghetti alla chitarra with Brussels sprouts, dark chocolate, pickled veal heart and cured roe that "could be a Grade A shit show [but] instead awakens long-dormant regions of your tongue and brain." Foie gras is marinated in mulled wine and served with "three discrete foils," each bite being different and the flavors being fine-tuned "within an inch of their lives." In the end, Schwa is an "authentic experience" that needs no tweaking and is a "showcase of Chicago’s purest desire to excite and please the palate free of financial concerns, rituals, or creature comforts." [Chicago]

Schwa Restaurant

1466 North Ashland Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 252-1466 Visit Website

Prime & Provisions

222 North LaSalle Street, , IL 60601 (312) 726-7777 Visit Website

Son of a Butcher

2026 Greenville Avenue, , TX 75206 (469) 862-8780 Visit Website

Cherry Circle Room

12 South Michigan Avenue, , IL 60603 (312) 792-3515 Visit Website