"The reinvention of Italian food continues" at Monteverde, where Sarah Grueneberg is putting a delicious twist on the classics. Pastas are "perfectly cooked" and accompanied by sauces that "make sense once you've taken a bite," writes Amy Cavanaugh. A "creamy and intensely peppery" cacio e pepe "ratchets" things up with four peppercorns and whey while other tasty items include grilled octopus chunks expertly paired with sweet potatoes on a skewer. Cavanaugh's personal favorite though is a simple cobia crudo served with spicy fresno-chili water. For dessert, salted butterscotch budino "wears a delicate bruleed cap" and makes for a fine ending.
Swift & Sons' new oyster bar Cold Storage is making a "big impact" with its fresh seafood offerings. Cavanaugh enjoys "perfectly shucked" bivalves "teeming with liquor" as well as "fat chunks" of crab and "large, meaty fillets" of sardines. Complement it with a "refreshing" Louie wedge salad with a "generous amount" of crab and a sundae or shake made with "marvelous" fresh mint ice cream and you've got the perfect lunch spot in the West Loop. [TOC]
"There's a lot of generally solid pan-Latin food" at Latinicity to keep the lunch crowds happy according to Mike Sula. The expansive food court has its "rough edges," but also offers fine items like the Milanesa torta with crispy chicken that's a "solid representation of the form." Likewise, ceviche mixto is so good "you can't get enough tostadas to scoop it all up" while a "gloriously sloppy" Sonoran-style hot dog is "worth all the chili mayo you'll need to wipe off your gob."
Other impressive dishes include a "frighteningly delicious" arroz aeropuerto full of fried noodles and rice, chicken beef, fish and shrimp; "tender, beefy" skirt steak with "vibrant" chimichurri sauce that's perhaps "best steak value in town;" and a thick tortilla soup that might be Latinicity's "most sophisticated spoonful." The full-service restaurant Pata Negra also "holds up against any Spanish tapas operation in the city" with hits such as "superfresh" shrimp in a garlic-butter bath and an Iberico secreto steak that's an "indulgence of pure porky goodness." [Reader]
Graham Meyer is less impressed by Pata Negra, calling it more of an "afterthought." Most dishes "deliver what you'd expect" but when they "deviate from the norm, they succeed best." A "rich, mouth-coating egg deepens" lamb meatballs, which are "robust and obsequiously not gamy," while a "smooth" blue-cheese sauce complements bacon-wrapped dates. Similarly, roasted eggplant "sings" with a myriad of accompaniments and asparagus in hollandaise with a coddled egg "finds an earthy note the vegetable doesn't always display." Unfortunately, there are too few of these dishes and the restaurant "doesn't stake out a personality of its own." [Crain's]