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GT Prime's Small Plates Lauded; Little Beet Delivers Gluten-Free Delights; More

Plus reviews of Alinea and Enolo Wine Bar

GT Prime
Anthony Tahlier

Sharing is caring at GT Prime, which is a "steak house in name only," according to Mike Sula. Sure, there are dainty four- or eight-ounce "fine pieces" of beef on the menu but it’s the other "intriguing possibilities" that are the real stars. A kale salad is "surprisingly tender" and has "an architecture that [Sula] describe[s] as Trotterlike," while reimagined arancini is filled with mortadella mousse and draped with golden beet on a base of mozzarella sauce. Lemony, creamy grits are "tasty enough to make you push aside the otherwise delicious veal cheek they support" and suckling pig belly, sweet pureed red cabbage and roasted squash "make a plate that’s the picture of autumn." Desserts are "consistently beautiful and compelling," particularly the chocolate s’more cake with marshmallow ice cream and graham cookie base. [Reader]

Alinea is a flawless experience that "lives up to expectations while separating itself from the past," writes Elizabeth Atkinson. Grant Achatz and company deliver an all-encompassing and unforgettable meal full of highlights. The "fry" course features tiny fried icefish and shaved radishes in a floral daisy mandarin puree while a "bone" dish serves up raw A5 wagyu on a rice cracker and Japanese ginger, which brings "all the umami flavors of the tender meat to life." Similarly, a pumpernickel square topped with gruyere and black truffle "explodes with the earthiness of the truffle and richness from the cheese." Of course, the signature helium taffy balloons make a return and "beyond the magic of the dishes, you get to watch and engage the waitstaff." Atkinson thinks you should soak it up because "as Achatz has showed us before, you never know if your meal at Alinea is one you’ll eat again." [TOC]

The gluten-free dream is "too good to be true" at The Little Beet Table. Heather Schroering enjoys a "spectacular" cavatelli alla norma but everything else falls "surprisingly flat." Japanese pumpkin soup could use some salt; the beets and caramelized fennel are "incredibly underwhelming" and "overpowered" by dressing; and chickpeas in the wild pink shrimp curry are "unpleasantly undercooked." Even cocktails falter as the maple old fashioned is "far too sweet" and the matcha mojito is overwhelmed by lime juice. Unfortunately for this New York import, Schroering thinks it "does not live up to the city’s dining standards." [RedEye]

Enolo Wine Bar is an underrated gem for lunch. Joanne Trestrail calls the River North spot "tasty, smartly executed, a little out of the ordinary and modestly priced." Starters include "bountiful" bruschetta, cheese and charcuterie boards, and "delectable" calamari. Among entrees offered in the business lunch deal ($17), a trio of sausages "stands out, each one with the perfect accompaniment." Likewise, margherita pizza, is "simple but effective, with just-right crisp crust," while "precisely al dente" pappardelle "impresses" with earthy forest mushrooms, asparagus, truffle oil and poached egg. Overall, the restaurant should be on everyone’s radar as "the food is delightful, the room appealing, the location good." [Crain’s]

Little Beet Table

845 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610

GT Prime

707 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654 (312) 600-6305 Visit Website

Enolo Wine Bar

450 N Clark, Chicago, IL (312) 477-7674 Visit Website

Alinea

1723 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 Visit Website

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