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Sula Holds the Beef at Knife; Vettel Heads to Forest Park; More

Plus a review of Hutch American Cafe

Knife
Nick Fochtman

Knife is a welcome addition to the underserved North Center neighborhood and has great potential, according to Mike Sula. In somewhat of a surprise, the steakhouse’s apps, sides and salads "consistently show up" the beef. Macaroni gratin is "cohesive, scarfable funk" while onion strings are so "frazzly and light" that diners will "have trouble resisting the urge to shovel them down by the fistful." Likewise, the tableside Caesar is an "exemplar of the form," and sides such as broccoli almondine and twice-baked potatoes demonstrate the restaurant’s potential to "evolve into something more than a textbook." Unfortunately, the 28 oz., 28-day dry-aged rib eye is a "disaster" that’s hacked with "nervous, uncertain hands." Instead of being the pièce de résistance, it’s an overcooked "$94 pile of steaming sadness." Service is also not up to speed as servers occasionally go missing but given time, Sula thinks the restaurant could shine. [Reader]

The Heritage in Forest Park is putting out Mediterranean-inspired fare that’s worth a making a trek for. Chefs Sieger Bayer and Michael Spiewak, whose previous stints include Nellcote, Leghorn, The Bristol, Lula Café and more, impress Phil Vettel with a compact but potent menu. Oysters are butter-poached and finished under a broiler, and crispy pork belly gets an Eastern European accent from braised red cabbage, sliced pear and a caraway vinaigrette. The kitchen is equally "strong with comfort food" as "very good" soups include squash and the calcot with potato. Among entrees, Parisian gnocchi with braised duck and pickled cherry is a "nice option" and "real bargain" at $17, while a "delicious" special of tagliatelle is elevated to new heights with a chestnut-truffle sauce and shaved Perigord truffle. Desserts are "all worth a look," especially the "buttery, crumbly" French butter cake with quince and vanilla ice cream." [Tribune]

Get your fill of weekday brunch at Hutch American Cafe. The massive menu includes straightforward dishes, like smoked salmon benedict and chicken and waffles, that Graham Meyer calls "all workmanlike, undistinguished examples of their type." A pulled bacon and fried egg sandwich is the best offering and the sort of dish "you’d happily eat after stumbling downstairs in your pajamas." Another standout is the "fantastic" Nutella dough poppers that Meyer thinks would make a great brunch happy hour snack. Diners won’t be blown away but there are enough "inoffensive-to-good" options to satisfy everyone. [Crain’s]

Knife

4343 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Hutch American Cafe

416 W Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60654

The Heritage

7403 Madison St, Forest Park, IL 60130 Visit Website

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