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El Che Bar's Heat Thrills Sula; Low-key Honey’s is a Delight

Critics praise two of Chicago’s best new openings

El Che Bar
Marc Much

John Manion hits it out of the park again with El Che Bar according to Mike Sula. Drawing on the chef/owner's South American upbringing, the restaurant is "thus far the chef’s most elemental expression of where he comes from." Manion manages to make a beet and cheese salad "taste exciting" and highlights smoke-kissed oysters by pairing them with cilantro, corn, garlic and brown butter. Similarly, "juicy" prawns are "exploding from their exoskeletons, luxuriating with charred sweet peppers, garbanzo bean puree, and a red-pepper-and-tomato salsa criolla." The open hearth cooking also elevates meats to new heights, producing the "most confoundingly tender and juicy" quail and "fatty yet slender and crisp" pork chops. For dessert, "fairly innovative" creations include an "Argentine" float and a chocolate mousse cake topped with marshmallows. [Reader]

Honey’s is delivering a first-rate, relaxed fine-dining experience, writes Lisa Shames. Executive chef Charles Welch serves "lovely Mediterranean-leaning dishes" that include a refined Caesar salad featuring pickled shallots and egg yolk sabayon, and a plate of scallops bathing in a white gazpacho. Both pastas—buckwheat chitarra and squid ink orecchiette with seafood—"deserve your attention" while a "delicious" roasted pork chop is served with whites beans studded with bits of guanciale. The meal finishes with a "beautifully plated" Turkish coffee mousse with curry sponge cake and goat’s milk ice cream. [CS]

Honey's

93 Scott Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237 (347) 669-1473 Visit Website

El Che Bar

845 West Washington Boulevard, , IL 60607 (312) 265-1130 Visit Website