Botanical brewpub Forbidden Root is "pushing the industry forward and offering an entire experience that's worth leaving the house for," according to Heather Schroering. The thoughtful concoctions are about "layering flavors to create an experience." For instance, a wildflower pale ale feels "like walking through a field of sunflowers on a summer day" while the Forbidden Root is an "old-school" alcoholic root beer "born out of curiosity about what have been in cups of parched cowboys in Dust Bowl saloons serving sarsaparilla."
The dishes also provide successful pairings, such as a mushroom pot pie that completely changes a beer's profile. Conversely, going back to the pot pie after a few sips is "like tasting food for the first time." An impressive cranberry bean hummus is accompanied by "perfectly grilled" sourdough toast but the menu is expected to change seasonally. On the whole, Schroering calls it a "damn good concept" bringing food and beer "together in a way that's so far unparalleled in Chicago." [RedEye]
Oyster Bah is a "very good restaurant" that successfully evokes the seafood shack experience, writes Aimee Levitt. "Fresh" bivalves are great starters, as is the "creamy and delicious" clam chowder. Atlantic cod is a paragon of quality fish—"perfectly cooked, with crispy skin and flaky meat"—and "fresh and firm" Alaskan red crab meat is equally impressive. Likewise, the lobster roll is a "very fine specimen, filled with generous chunks of meat," while the stuffie is a "true revelation." For dessert, a slice of "excellent" coconut cake provides a satisfying finish to the meal. [Reader]
Bernie's Lunch and Supper "packs variety into brevity and scores a clean sweep" on its midday menu. Graham Meyer thinks "every single dish [is] worthy of ordering again," starting with lamb hashwi and a "standout" pan con tomate featuring a "vivacious" tomato spread. Entrees "score equally high" and include a steak salad with "butter-knife-tender" steak, as well as a delicious cheeseburger with optional "thieves-thick" bacon. It's a restaurant that defies expectations but offers "pleasant" surprises that'll satisfy any lunch goer. [Crain's]