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Giant Gets Three Stars From Vettel; Sula Discovers Chiya Chai's Treasures; More

Plus The Dearborn brings sophistication to the Loop

Marc Much

Another week and another glowing review for Giant. This time it's Phil Vettel heaping praise on Jason Vincent and his team for "crank[ing] out plates that are all about flavor -€” generally, layers of them." Sweet-and-sour eggplant is "loaded up with so many goodies," such as pancetta, cashews, fried wild rice and pita rounds, while the pasta program features an "absolutely delicious" pici pasta along with a "yummy" Fusilli Jerry dish full of tomato sauce and sausage chunks. The kitchen "wows with precision, again and again" on items like swordfish that "boasts a beautiful exterior char while remaining wonderfully moist inside," and pecan-smoked ribs with "just the right amount of chew and bone-sticking stubbornness, glazed with a just-sweet-enough sauce." The meal is finished with yellow-cake crepe, a "surprisingly light-tasting indulgence." [Tribune]

Chiya Chai Cafe is the de facto standard for masala chai in Chicago according to Mike Sula. The milky spiced tea is imported from Nepal and the different blends range from spicy masala to dark chocolate-spearint and caramel-sea salt. The "impressively varied" food includes savory pies, filled with chicken curry or spicy minced pork, in a "flaky and rich" crust as well as chiya chile potatoes that are the "most visually arresting and irresistible item on the menu." There are also momo dumplings that come in several "delicious" varieties—ground bison, lamb, ground—but they fall apart far too easily and the "sloppy, bland" all-vegetable version "tastes like something pulled out of The Moosewood Cookbook for Geriatrics." [Reader]

The Dearborn takes the best of The Gage and brings it up to a "more sophisticated level," writes Graham Meyer. "Top Chef" alumnus Aaron Cuschieri deftly produces a "light-touch" burrata appetizer, pairing the cheese with in-season beets and tomatoes, while dry-aged duck breast tastes "densely ducky and works swimmingly with the subtly sweet, unsubtly rich uni butter." Some "duds" include an "overcooked" fried chicken starter and Lyonnaise salad with bacon chunks "intransigently tough to the point of jerky." For dessert, pistachio brown butter cake shows "rare fine-tuning and fearlessness in keeping sweetness ambitiously low." [Crain's]

The Dearborn

145 North Dearborn Street, , IL 60602 (312) 384-1242 Visit Website

Chiya Chai

66 East Wacker Drive, , IL 60601 Visit Website


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