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Reader Says Maple & Ash Lacks Focus; Crain's Praises Cold Storage; More

Plus "destination-worthy dishes" at Rojo Gusano in Albany Park.

Maple & Ash
Maple & Ash
Marc Much

Maple & Ash has plenty of "whimsy on display" but Julia Thiel wishes there would be a "more solid focus on the food." Gulf shrimp and scallops are plagued by "fishy, not-so-fresh flavor" and salmon tartare is similarly "bland." Steaks fare better though as they are "unquestionably mastered." The 28-day dry-aged rib eye is "well marbled with fat" and has the "most complex, earthy flavor" while even the cheaper cut hanger steak is "handled with care, full of flavor and surprisingly tender." Side dishes make a "terrible match" for the meat or suffer from underseasoning but desserts like key lime pavlova end things on a pleasant high. [Reader]

Cold Storage is a great spot to drop in for a midday meal, writes Joanne Trestrail. The seafood bar offers "nicely presented" oysters from both coasts, which are $1 each from 3 to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Among the cold plates, a "delicate" gravlax with soda crackers and a "lively" accompaniment of beets and horseradish is a favorite while a "substantial and well-constructed" shrimp bahn mi comes on fresh rolls with the "perfect heft and crunch." It's finished off with sweets from pastry chef Meg Galus, a "master of her craft." [Crain's]

Rojo Gusano in Albany Park is serving globally influenced tacos and ceviches worth making a tripmp for, according to Michael Nagrant. His favorite tacos feature "creamy curls" of shri slathered with "bright" Thai green curry, wrapped in "substantial" tortillas, while the arrachera is stuffed with "juicy nuggets" of carne asada. A "bright, fresh and zingy" octopus and shrimp ceviche that Nagrant "would drive miles for" has a "satisfying chew," and a "killer" empanada filled with farmer's cheese, epazote leaf and Portobello mushrooms is just the kind of bite that conjures visions of Latin America. [RedEye]

Swift & Sons

1000 West Fulton Market, , IL 60607 (312) 733-9420 Visit Website

ROJO GUSANO

4217 North Ravenswood Avenue, , IL 60613 (773) 360-7687 Visit Website

Maple & Ash

8 West Maple Street, , IL 60610 (312) 944-8888 Visit Website

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