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Nagrant Calls GT Prime a Resounding Success; Sula Thinks Dixie is a “Mixed Bag;” More

Plus Leña Brava, Intro and Claudia are all hits

GT Prime
Anthony Tahlier

GT Prime is a "reinvented steakhouse" but it’s also a "success by any standard," according to Michael Nagrant. Unlike traditional steakhouses, the menu offers a wide variety of shareable plates, such as "rocking" bigoli in a "super-savory" Bolognese and a scrumptious mac & cheese topped with crisp pork belly and charred broccoli florets. The meats section features a luxurious $110 Carnivore platter housing 4 oz. cuts of bison, beef tenderloin, rib eye and Wagyu strip. It’s a "wine flight in meat form" and "the attention to detail on each of protein is staggering." Finish with a "gooey and decadent" chocolate marquise that’s "delightfully executed" and you’ll walk out on cloud nine. [RedEye]

Dixie is a "mixed bag" as "dishes of powerful deliciousness share menu space with true head-scratchers," writes Mike Sula. The new Southern restaurant from Lillie’s Q boss Charlie McKenna is full of duds, such as Nashville hot-style sweetbreads "wallowing in a thick, mucilaginous sauce" that "approaches something like Elmer’s glue." Thai snapper crudo is "overpowered" by watermelon granite and lemon-poppyseed dressing while an otherwise excellent Wagyu tartare has its "deep flavors" diluted by tomato water poured atop. It’s not all bad though—a Middle Eastern-leaning dish of carrots with boiled peanut hummus and a plate of "tender" cornmeal dumplings in a "wonderfully acidic" creamed lima bean sauce show off the restaurant’s potential. Better yet, at the rear of the building is a small bar, 1952 ½, offering conventional snacks and a pleasant list of antique bourbons and cocktails worth seeking out. [Reader]

Elizabeth Atkinson thinks Leña Brava impresses with "dish after delicious dish" of raw and flame-cooked bites. The menu, which is broken into fire and ice sections, features standouts like a "hearty and warm" shortrib as well as a "bright and acidic" ceviche of baja hiramasa yellowtail, green chile adobo and veggies. A wood-oven tart for dessert is a "fitting ending to your meal, contrasting cold with heat," while the staff is on point and "very well-versed on the menu with suggestions and ample answers to questions you may have." [TOC]

22-year-old prodigy Jonah Reider is making the most out of his one-month stint at Intro. The chef, who rose to fame operating a pop-up out of his Columbia University dorm, shows "good sense of flavor balance" on "unfailingly harmonious" dishes. On the eight-course tasting menu, there are "playful nibbles" of oyster accented with red currant and black peppercorn, and a phyllo pastry filled with goat cheese and red chard. Venison tartare, a "superior creation" tossed in a mushroom reduction that adds a "wonderful umami undercurrent," is also a highlight, while a pre-dessert sweet-cream panna cotta topped with figs and gooseberries is a nice segue into the finale—a whole berry galette. Reider’s residency runs until Oct. 15th and Phil Vettel says it "might prove useful some day to be able to say you had his food back then."

Vettel also snags a seat at pop-up restaurant Claudia and finds it to be a fascinating dining experience. Chef and owner Trevor Teich hosts multi-course dinners twice a month and produces an exciting array of dishes. It starts with a bento box of snacks that includes foie-gras torchon, wrapped in tuna and topped with dots of ponzu gel, with a "pitch-perfect combination of flavors and textures." Next comes an arrangement of crabmeat, lemon, pickled seaweed caviar and gold leaf that "play[s] joyfully together," followed later by two venison courses: a "beautiful" tartare and "perfectly cooked" loin pieces with heirloom carrots, caraway crumble and red-cabbage puree. Dinner concludes with a "so good" bite of blue cheese panna cotta topped with apple gelee and poached apple slices. [Tribune]

Lena Brava

900 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 733-1975

GT Prime

707 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654 (312) 600-6305 Visit Website


1952 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (773) 688-4466 Visit Website

Intro Chicago

2300 N. Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 868-0002

claudia restaurant

327 N Bell Ave, Chicago, IL 60612