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Tribune Praises All-Day Options at Quiote; Time Out Calls Smyth a Comforting Indulgence; More

Plus reviews of Trench and Mirabella

Nick Fochtman

All-day Mexican concept Quiote succeeds on the back of its chef and owner, Dan Salls. During lunch hours, Nick Kindelsperger thinks the housemade tortillas are easily some of the “best” in town, filled with options such as “ultra-savory nuggets” of confit brisket and plump shrimp. The sandwiches are even better, “giving Xoco a run for the best tortas in town.” On the dinner menu. Vegetable dishes are “unexpected and remarkable” and include fried cauliflower florets tossed with bright Fresno chiles and slivered almonds. Meatier items, though, have some issues: chicken en mole has “grittiness” in the sauce and the grilled chicken is also “dry.” Fortunately, the churro dessert served with ice cream is a “no-fail proposition” and the extensive mezcal selection makes up for the few negatives. [Tribune]

Smyth is a “down-home, come-as-you-are” fine diner with “dishes that are truly over the top,” Elizabeth Atkinson writes. She’s treated to “some of the most interesting and indulgent dishes,” like a “small but powerful bite” of Dungeness crab covered with foie gras and scrambled kani miso. A “show-stopping” dessert of salted licorice-soaked egg yolk in yogurt meringue is also jaw-dropping while cocktails “match, if not outshine, the drinks at the Loyalist.” The space itself is “homey and welcoming … a place where you could truly unwind” and “by the time you walk out the door, you’ll feel like you know the Shieldses on a more personal level.” [Time Out]

The recently reopened Trench offers “one treat after another,” according to Phil Vettel. Under the direction of Jared Wentworth, the kitchen is doing great things. “Wonderfully aromatic” roasted mussels dunked in harissa-butter sauce “provides a where-have-you-been-all-my-life moment” and a disk of headcheese dish has “something of a deconstructed-reuben-sandwich vibe.” Kentucky-fried quail is a “terrific entree,” while even “pedestrian” items are “worthy,” such as “beautifully seasoned, perfectly moist” roasted chicken and a top-notch burger. “Clever and colorful” desserts include a “fascinating” espresso pudding fudge with caramel, green-coffee ice cream, and mushroom-infused whipped cream.” [Tribune]

Mirabella is an old-school steakhouse with good value and a welcoming vibe. Mike Sula checks out the new restaurant from a Gene & Georgetti veteran and finds a near carbon copy menu at “significantly lower prices.” The signature Mirabella salad is a “dead ringer for G&G’s garbage salad,” while a “perfectly broiled bone-in rib eye sells for nearly $20 less in Irving Park than it does in River North.” Almost every dish is “executed with the precision you’d expect from a journeyman with decades of experience under his belt;” steaks arrive with “thin, sharply delineated scabs of char, which give way to evenly rosy flesh.” In the end, the “solid neighborhood restaurant” is “so wonderfully out of step with the prevailing winds of steak-house culture that it almost seems like it’s new.” [Reader]


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