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Vettel Thinks Entente is a Must-Visit; Sula Calls Trench a Meat-Centric Winner; More

Plus many more critical reviews

Marc Much

Phil Vettel thinks every food lover should have Entente on their radar. He calls it the “complete package, presenting downright delicious food.” The “pumpernickel pretzel” is a “thinking-chef’s take on a charcuterie plate,” served with “unctuous folds” of Benton’s ham and a saucer of beer-cheese fondue. The “flaky, fluffy” buttermilk biscuits are “worth every nickel” while among entrees, Berkshire pork loin is a “gorgeous composition” of country staples. Even the “straightforward chicken breast demonstrates extraordinary commitment.” It’s accompanied by escarole, flageolet beans, chicken-thigh sausage, and tiny edible flowers. Desserts “deliver more than they promise as cheesecake, which is “more colorful than an artist’s palette,” is arranged with shattered meringue, vanilla-kissed citrus segments, frozen coconut marshmallow, candied orange, and blood-orange sherbet. All-in-all, the restaurant earns three stars and high praise from the Tribune critic. [Tribune]

Trench takes some meaty risks that pay off, Mike Sula writes. With Jared Wentworth at the helm, the kitchen is pumping out creative dishes like pastrami-spiced pig head—a puck of “unquestionably lush, fatty” pork on a bed of sauerkraut with an egg on top. Buffalo sweetbreads are a “punch in the mouth” while bacon-wrapped venison pate is “technically impeccable.” Among the non-meat items, roasted romanesco cauliflower with couscous, pickled veggies, and harissa aioli is a “contained pyrotechnic demonstration of flavors that [Sula would] order over any other dish on this menu.” For dessert, an “astonishing” espresso fudge pudding is topped with mushroom marshmallow, green coffee ice cream, and candied mushroom crunch. Those “many powerful elements” come together for an “ambitious” umami-flavored ending. All things considered, Sula is certain Wicker Park will eat Trench up. [Reader]

Ella Elli is a “step up” from 4 Star Restaurant Group’s other neighborhood restaurants according to Michael Nagrant. The kitchen is putting out “destination-worthy plates” in a chic dining room. A “Skittles-colored assortment” of “earthy” baby carrots is spiked with a lemon vinaigrette, fiery harissa chili, and dollops of crème fraiche, while ricotta gnocchi is so tender that it feels like it could easily be “rendered into fine dust.” Other standouts include creamy scallops surrounded by buttery polenta that “taste[s] of freshly picked corn, and a complex lemon pound cake for dessert that’s “so moist it [weeps] lemon and tarragon syrup.” [RedEye]

Income Tax is a “place you should get excited about.” Elizabeth Atkinson says the Edgewater wine bar offers “excellent service, above and beyond tasting notes, comfortable digs, and outstanding small bites.” For bottle seekers, she recommends “ditching the menu altogether” and asking the “ridiculously on-point servers” for suggestions. To complement the wine, small dishes like carrot agnolotti served with mushrooms, veal sweetbreads, and slices of grapes are the perfect bites. Similarly, the “picture perfect” flammenkuchen is “delicious, hearty and comforting.” Overall, Income Tax “feels like a bar every neighborhood should have.” [Time Out]

Spilt Milk is a “comfy and friendly” neighborhood bar with a “small but curated” beer list and a “strong collection of wines.” The space feels like an “upscale” watering hole, with a “sprawling” wooden bar top, bright green booths, and mirrors. Atkinson recommends sticking to brews from Moody Tongue as well as Spanish cider and Belgian sour ales. Although the cocktails “aren’t ridiculously impressive,” the pineapple soft serve topped with a daily cocktail is “worth seeking out.” The sweet and citrusy concoction is “just right for the summer.” And while the bar won’t “blow your mind,” it’s a “solid bet for a quick drink.” [Time Out]

Larry’s is a cocktail “oasis” in Uptown. The bar inside Lawrence House has an “old-timey feel” and features a menu created by two Sportsman’s Club vets. Highlights include an “odd-sounding” Rainbo that “successfully pairs” a mix of ingredients and a daily punch that’s “well balanced” and “goes down way too easily.” Julia Thiel’s favorite, though, is a “smoky, herbal, almost minty” twist on the Sazerac called the Uncle John. Service is friendly and attentive and with such “high-quality” drinks, Thiel says Larry’s is fulfilling the needs of the neighborhood. [Reader]

Southern Cut is a “sassy” new barbecue restaurant from chef Lee Ann Whippen and the Chicago Cut team. “The deep flavor that comes from unhurried exposure to wood smoke registers loud and clear in almost anything you might order here,” writes Joanne Trestrail. An appetizer of sliders is a “fine introduction to the meats,” while other options include “bounteous platters” of smoked meat and the Mac Daddy, a sandwich stuffed with mac and cheese and pulled pork. Non-meat items are also worth exploring, such as “fresh, light and large” crabcakes that make an “excellent entrée” and a “well-made” Caesar salad. [Crain’s]

Southern Cut Barbecue

198 E. Delaware Place, Chicago, IL 60611 312-280-8887 Visit Website

Income Tax

5959 North Broadway, , IL 60660 (773) 897-9165 Visit Website


12-16 Blenheim Grove, , England SE15 4QL 020 3795 7385 Visit Website


700 North Sedgwick Street, , IL 60654 (312) 285-2247 Visit Website

Ella Elli

1349 W. Cornelia, Chicago, IL 60657 Visit Website

Spilt Milk

2758 West Fullerton Avenue, , IL 60647 Visit Website


2039 W North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 Visit Website