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TimeOut Thinks Naoki is a Playful Delight; Sula Says Bunny is a Wonderland; More

Plus Aloha Poke offers "unique, fresh" lunch options and Lula hasn't skipped a beat

Naoki
Naoki
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises

Naoki offers "interesting plays on sushi accompanied by pretty presentations." Elizabeth Atkinson recommends starting with the "addictive" tuna tacos, made with crispy wonton shells and truffle chawanmushi. "You can't go wrong" with the sashimi and nigiri specials, such as "slightly sweet and tender" kinmedai topped with dehydrated yuzu. A melting salmon nigiri crowned with smoked soy and shallot is a "great choice," and "delicate" hamachi maki with scallion, cucumber and yuzu are "anything but a miss." In the end, it's a "fun dining experience without pretension that still delivers an upscale meal." [TOC]

Iliana Regan is doing magical things with bread at Bunny, the Micro Bakery, according to Mike Sula. The signature foie gras toast is "so cute you'll evacuate rainbows," but the "heavy smear of preserves overwhelms the rich, creamy bird liver." Rotating specials€”such as scrambled eggs, house-made kimchi and wood ear mushrooms marinated in sweet soy sauce€”"highlight the sort of ingenuity you could previously experience only [at Elizabeth]" while a bowl of chewy, housemade spaghetti in a tart cream sauce is "startling refinement." Rounding out the bakery is a pastry case full of "treasures" like "airy, "cheesy gougeres, "towering" buttermilk biscuits and whiskey-glazed donuts. [Reader]

Michael Nagrant thinks Aloha Poke is a "unique, fresh and tasty alternative" to the usual Loop lunch options. On the Crunch bowl, the veggies are "so crunchy and cool you'll swear they've been sitting in the greatest lettuce crisper of all time." What "really makes the bowl," though, are tobiko and tempura-fried onion, which add a salty, satisfying pop" to the mix. Both the tuna and salmon are "fantastic with a creamy smooth finish like freshly scooped sherbet," but the rice could be improved as it tends to be a "little soggy." [RedEye]

Lula Café is still the standard bearer for farm-to-table cuisine, Phil Vettel writes. Chef de cuisine Sarah Rinkavage is creating noteworthy dishes like a black risotto with baby squid that Vettel is "in love with." It's "wonderfully tender" and just salted enough to "recall a sense of ocean brine." He's also a fan of the fried quail, "light in color but big in flavor," as well as a fine hanger steak that's "beautifully red within, accented with blue cheese and cippolini onions." Desserts include "yummy and eye-pleasing plates" such as a "perfectly balance[d]" chamomile crème caramel with sweet potato and honey. [Tribune]

Bunny The Micro Bakery

2928 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60657 Visit Website

Naoki Sushi

2300 N. Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 868-0002 Visit Website

Aloha Poke Co.

50 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest, , DC 20002 (202) 863-0405 Visit Website

Lula Cafe

2537 North Kedzie Boulevard, , IL 60647 (773) 489-9554 Visit Website

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