Simply put, critically-acclaimed Oriole “gets everything right,” according to Elizabeth Atkinson. The dining room is a “jaw-dropper” that features exposed brick walls and tall wooden columns, and the evening starts with a “lavish” bite of Golden Osetra caviar that “sets the tone for the rest of the meal.” There are plenty of “interestingly presented dishes” throughout, such as a puffed beef tendon topped with wagyu tartare and shaved matsutake mushroom served on a bed of wood chips. To round it out, a croissant filled with raclette, apple butter, and cardamom will make any you’ve had before “pale in comparison to this creation’s flaky, buttery magic.” Atkinson says the menu will leave you “feeling neither too full nor too drunk” with a “balance, like so much else, [that’s] just right.”
Publican Anker doesn’t reach the heights of the original but it’s still a great neighborhood spot. For something to snack on, the pickle plate is a fantastic option to pair with beer. Elsewhere on the menu, the dorade is a spectacle that’s filleted tableside. Although the fish is “tasty,” letting the product “speak for itself,” Atkinson would pass on ordering it again. More successful items include a “tender” pork collar brightened by apple, cilantro, and urfa pepper, and a side of “snappy” cauliflower with cippolini onion, hazelnut, and kale. And make sure to “absolutely finish” with the “impossibly light” banoffee pudding. [TOC]
Jeff Ruby thinks Dolo has “elevated dim sum without ruining what makes the ritual so irresistible to begin with.” Pan-fried dumplings filled with shrimp and corn is an “outstanding rendition” of siu mai and the “strange but undeniable” rice crepe is like a “double-decker taco by way of Guangdong.” Hong Kong-style scallion pancakes are also “brilliant” and “addictive,” as are the “equally satisfying” pillowy barbecued pork buns. Dinner service is likewise full of hits. Beef shank in spicy oil is a “zap of pure flavor” and the restaurant’s best appetizer, while the “showstopping” lobster offers “moist and rich meat [that] is well worth the labor of digging and cracking.” Whether it’s lunch or dinner, Chinatown has a new standout. [Chicago]
Phil Vettel checks out two Italian restaurants in the suburbs. La Notte Ristorante Italiano in Oak Park is a “tiny gem” cooking classic dishes. For openers, a shareable burrata antipasto plate as well as clams a mia modo (my way) are “all good starting choices.” The menu has “worthy pasta picks abound,” including pillowy cavatelli with sausage, and orecchietti with shrimp, sun-fried tomatoes, and rapini. A “thick, well-roasted” pork chop is an entree highlight while “crumbly, light” ricotta cheesecake makes for a fine end to the meal.
At La Buona Vita in La Grange, owner Terry Rempert has a downtown hotspot on his hands. Grilled calamari gets things off to an “eye-catching start,” and stuffed banana peppers with sausage-spinach-mozzarella-marinara filling “make for fun eating.” Pastas are all “terrific,” such as a simple penne with hearty sausage and tomato-cream sauce that’s “everything you’d want in such a dish.” Short-rib ravioli in porcini-mushroom sauce is also a “star.” For dessert, choux-pastry puffs are “good, and to see one is to want one.” [Tribune]