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Vettel Thinks Steadfast Aims High; Sula Says Unique Hanbun is Worth Seeking; More

Plus Estereo excites with Latin flair

Marc Much

Phil Vettel thinks that "something special" is happening at Steadfast and calls it the "most ambitious restaurant to open in the Loop in a long time." Executive chef Chris Davies "cooks with complexity" and delivers a knockout dry-aged, whole roasted duck full of "rich, succulent" meat. He does great things with sablefish as well, balancing the protein's richness with compressed apples and black-garlic broth. Other winners include beef tartare served with brioche toast; sweetbreads "smoked for enhanced flavor;" and cider-braised rabbit over rice grits that's a play on shrimp and grits. The bread and charcuterie programs are also top notch, while pink peppercorn-topped panna cotta topped with rhubarb sorbet "might be the best dessert on the menu right now." [Tribune]

Food court dining usually doesn't leave a lasting impression but Hanbun is doing things "so different from what any Korean restaurant in the region does that it's worth a pilgrimage or two (or more) [to Westmont] from wherever you are on the map." Mike Sula praises chef David Park, a veteran of the Aviary and Storefront Company, for executing with the "thoughtfulness and precision that only a chef forged in the crucible of the fine-dining kitchen can pull off." The lunchtime menu features an "ample, deeply satisfying" bowl of ja jiang mian (noodles in black bean sauce) and an "extraordinary" assortment of banchan. On weekends, Park offers a tasting menu of modern Korean cuisine. Courses include a "plump" Plymouth Champagne oyster with "delicate sweetness;" a deep-fried shrimp croquette "oozing" with emulsified crustacean, yogurt and garlic confit; and fat kimchi-pork dumplings in a cucumber-butter emultion. At $63, Sula calls it a "bargain" and proclaims Hanbun a "treasure worth seeking." [Reader]

Estereo is off to a hot start and is a "neighborhood bar in its truest form," writes Heather Schroering. The new coffee and cocktail bar from Heisler Hospitality brings Latin vibes to Logan Square by crafting drinks with underutilized spirits. There's the Breezy cocktail, a mix of yerba mate tea, housemade falernum, soda and lime juice and choice of liquor; and a refreshing mezcal concoction combining watermelon, lime juices and chili salt. A "gorgeous" beer cocktail blends fresh raspberries and house-infused jalapeno tequila with Off Color's Fierce Berliner weisse and wins the award for "most photogenic." For food, patrons can enjoy a few pastry offerings as well as a Cuban sandwich with ham, cheese, mustard and pickle. [RedEye]


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