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Sula Says Roister is a Rip-Roaring Experience; Vettel Reviews Next: South America; More

Also, Michael Nagrant enjoys Smack Shack's Eastern classics

Matthew Gilson

Roister nails it on all fronts by offering "soulful, indulgent, nostalgic food that's superbly executed without calling attention to itself," writes Mike Sula. The Alinea Group's first attempt at casual dining showcases Andrew Brochu's talents in style. He delivers stunners like a crudo "masterpiece," as well as Carolina Gold risotto that's "loose and creamy enough to please the most discriminating Milanese." Among the high-ticket items, the A5 Wagyu is one of the "most sensorily overwhelming things [Sula's] ever ingested, each bite tender beyond belief" while the signature whole chicken—served both fried and roasted with an "eye-rollingly delicious" sunchoke sauce—puts an end to the fried chicken wars in Chicago. For dessert, the foie gras candy bar, a riff on a Snickers bar, is a chocolate-covered torchon with a layer of marshmallow, black walnut and pretzel bits. [Reader]

Next is off to a strong start with new executive chef Jenner Tomaska, according to Phil Vettel. The current South American menu focuses on Peru and begins with four versions of striped bass ceviche paired with an "absolutely perfect" pisco sour. Sudado, traditionally fish steamed in banana leaf, is "coddled" in a pork and coconut broth and arrives as a wooden block covered in brown paper for guests to rip into, while pachamancha is a dish of "richly seasoned" chicken and "plump" humitas served over hot rocks. Vettel has issues with an awkward shaved-ice ceremony to start the meal, as well as the noise level, but overall he awards the experience three stars. [Tribune]

Smack Shack has successfully brought East Coast favorites along with "Southern foodie gems" to Fulton Market. The second location of the Minneapolis-based restaurant offers a "soulful garlicky" lobster cioppino—filled with mussels, shrimp, lobster tails, clams and striped seabass—that's "on par with some of the best bouillabaisse" Michael Nagrant's ever had. The lobster roll is "overflowing with what seemed like a pound of meat" and is "probably one of the better rolls in town," while the chilled shrimp cocktail features a half-dozen "Kraken-sized" shrimp that are briny and juicy. To finish, Key lime pie is "elevated" by segments of fresh lime on top of the pie curd and the Mezcalito cocktail delivers a "real punch" with mezcal, grapefruit, lime juices and agave nectar. [RedEye]

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953 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 312 226 0858 Visit Website

smack shack

326 North Morgan Street, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 973-1336


951 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 789-4896