Quiote is an all-day, multipronged newcomer bringing Mexican flair to Logan Square. The “heart” of the space is in the basement bar, where more than 80 bottles of mezcal are available, as Mike Sula surmises in the Reader that “it could take weeks of happy and enlightening sipping to wrap your head around everything.” The vast selection includes “complex blends” and “celebration” agaves distilled with fruits or animal proteins, as well as cocktails like a margarita with tart hibiscus.
Upstairs, the food menu is equally impressive. The bread course “sounds ridiculous and pandering but is something you’ll want to avail yourself of,” and fried cauliflower with fruity Fresno chiles make for a “respectable approximation of a classic Baja fish taco” when wrapped in housemade tortilla. Other “remarkable” veggie options include “enormous” Oaxacan-style tamales stuffed with maitake mushrooms, while meat eaters will enjoy “amply stuffed” duck tacos or a slab of “tender” pork collar smothered in pasilla chiles. Desserts also excel—“dense, moist, yet crusty” tres leches cake hits the right notes.
Kitsune is an atypical Japanese restaurant that lets diners “throw [themselves] with abandon into an alternate dimension.” Iliana Regan’s new spot “fucks with expectations” by offering a Midwestern adaptation of Japanese bar snacks. A pickle plate serves up “distinctly pleasurable facets of funk” and the okonomiyaki, a savory street pancake, is a “textually perfect drinking food, both absorbent and substantial, and hits all the necessary pleasure centers.” Seared scallops in soy hollandaise “bring about the same involuntarily joyful paralysis,” while the tonkotsu ramen is an exemplary bowl of noodles, pork, and broth. For finishers, a concoction of candied sweet potato, goat’s milk yogurt, and mandarin orange granita is “one of the most original desserts of the year.” [Reader]
The Wit Hotel’s ground-floor restaurant State & Lake has a new lease on life, writes Graham Meyer. Executive chef Nathan Sears, who co-owned The Radler, has revamped the menu for better and worse. The warm mushroom salad is an “earthy refraction of an Asian cold-noodle salad” while creamy parsnip soup “tastes squintingly like a brighter, veggier clam chowder.” Entrees “fail to converge,” though, and deliver “disappointment for different reasons.” A porchetta sandwich is overly rich and heavy; braised beef-cheek chili “devolves into a big bowl of boring black beans;” and the smoked Portobello Reuben should be “more accurately named the sauerkraut-and-thousand-island Reuben.” But given some time, Meyer thinks the talents of Sears and sous chef Kevin McMullen should “be able to put State & Lake on the map.” [Crain’s]