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Sula Says Giant is a Big Hit; Il Porcellino Delights Vettel; More

But Beacon Tavern's food needs some tinkering

Marc Much

Jason Vincent makes his triumphant return with Giant and shows he's still got it. Mike Sula visits the new Logan Square eatery and enjoys just about everything on the menu. A "gorgeous" serving of sweet and spicy peppers is an "of-the-moment dish" that "disintegrates into a delicious mess" ready to be sopped up by bread, while eggplant agrodolce "reigns supreme" among the veggie offerings. Jonah crab salad with waffle fries "conjures ghosts of New England seafood shacks" and is "totally brilliant, evocative, and tasty," but the pastas are the real stars of the show. They feature "superb tensile texture" and the fusilli Jerry is a meaty Bolognese that's "at once familiar and transporting." Desserts are also "loaded with depth of flavor," with vanilla ice cream balls rolled in butter-pecan crunch and crumbled dehydrated strawberry passing for a "supercharged strawberry shortcake Good Humor bar." [Reader]

Il Porcellino brings delicious and affordable Italian fare to River North, writes Phil Vettel. He calls it the "least-expensive serious restaurant" in the area and starts with a "thoughtful" antipasti such as tuna carpaccio, roasted artichokes and fried Brussels sprouts. "Extremely good" pastas are a "bargain" and the "feather-light" gnocchi Bolognese "might be the best dish on the menu." Entrees include chicken Vesuvio that's "well-seasoned" but "slightly overcooked," while the zuccherati—brioche doughnut filled with mascarpone—is the star of dessert. [Tribune]

Beacon Tavern still has some kinks to work out according to Joanne Trestrail. The beautiful dining room is let down by the food and service. White gazpacho is "watery, sharply vinegary" and mostly textureless; scallop salad is an "overdressed pile of limp, badly edited greens;" and salt "block[s] other flavors" on a redfish sandwich. It's not all bad, though, as a grilled bacon sandwich is "terrific" and mussels are "plump, plentiful and tasty." Service falters with pacing but Trestrail says the "lovely setting" and "some good bites make it worth a try." [Crain's]

Il Porcellino

59 West Hubbard Street, , IL 60654 (312) 595-0800 Visit Website

Beacon Tavern

405 North Wabash Avenue, , IL 60611 (312) 955-4226 Visit Website


3209 West Armitage Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 252-0997 Visit Website