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Nagrant: Kitsune Delivers Thought-Provoking Japanese; Sula Embraces The Gundis' Kurdish Offerings; More

Plus, a look at WonFun’s spicy lunch menu

Kitsune
Marc Much

Kitsune isn’t quite "pitch-perfect" but it’s a "familiar and accessible" experience that "gives [diners] something to think about," writes Michael Nagrant. Chef Iliana Regan’s (Elizabeth) Japanese spot in North Center offers bold and interesting flavors, staring with "universally delicious" raw uni dusted with pulverized nori, sugar, and seat salt splashed with yuzu juice. The ramen is restrained yet refined—"deeply savory broth, chewy slurpable noodles and a few simple condiments"—and is the best Nagrant’s had in Chicago. Similarly, oysters topped with edible flowers deliver a "delightful dance of floral honey, acid and brine," while a doughnut glazed with Japanese whiskey icing is "as soft as a cloud" and "would make a Krispy Kreme seem like wet cardboard." In the end, the right balance of Midwestern ingredients with Eastern techniques makes Kitsune an exciting newcomer worth exploring. [RedEye]

Chicago has its first Kurdish restaurant thanks to the Gundis and there are lots of intriguing dishes to discover in Lakeview. Mike Sula takes a closer look at the multi-cultural cuisine with Syrian roots, which is "unlike what you’re probably used to from your average Turkish restaurant." Kurdish food "seems to have a way with seafood"—mussels bathe in a light tomatoey broth while snappy crustaceans drenched in garlic-lemon-butter sauce is "like a lost cousin to New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp." Lamb also stars in entrees such as the Mesopotamia, a "monolithic mound of meat and rice drenched in gravy," and the Mardin special featuring tender braised meat and a fried-eggplant-wrapped sphere. A "slick" stew of eggplant, banan peppers, tomato, and onions on a bed of mashed potatoes is "just as substantially satisfying" as the meat options, while dessert includes a "baklava" composed of thin crepes stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with syrup. Sula applauds the restaurant for shining light onto a "part of the world where most of us have never been" and calls the food "something to embrace." [Reader]

Graham Meyer thinks WonFun is a blazing hot lunch spot in West Loop. Restaurant Row’s new Chinese spot offers traditional favorites like dan dan noodles, which come "aflame and abuzz" with chili sauce, peppercorns and ground beef. Mapo tofu "marries silky tofu with funky bean paste, under a scrim of similar spice and shivers." For a lunch deal, the $12.99 prix fixe is an "exceptional bargain" that includes "excellent" garlic-chili cucumbers, choice of salad or soup, and dan dan noodles or a "legitimately spicy and very crunchy" Chongqing fried chicken sandwich. Save room for dessert as well because the Taiwanese taro shaved ice accompanied by fresh berries, mochi bites, coconut jelly, and boba balls is a real treat. [Crain’s]

Wonfun & 2fun

905 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 877-5967 Visit Website

Kitsune

4229 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60618

Gundis Kurdish Kitchen

Edit 2909 N Clark St, Chicago, IL (773) 904-8120 Visit Website

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