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Sula Feasts at Selam Ethiopian Kitchen; Crain’s Says Filini Lacks Ambition

Two restaurants with very differing experiences

Radisson Blu

Selam Ethiopian Kitchen serves a raw feast that’s a “true form of the shared plate,” writes Mike Sula. The new Uptown restaurant, originally a market and butcher shop, offers a world of intriguing delights such as kitfo—ground raw beef that’s loaded with spices, served with ayib cheese and pureed collards, and eaten with injera flatbread. There’s also tire siga, a simple preparation of sliced beef that seems to be the “perfect drinking food, something to keep your strength up while you’re sipping beer.”

Goden tibs, another specialty, are grilled short ribs that “offer the kind of mandibular exercise raw beef can’t.” Amongst the traditional platter spreads, there’s an assortment of goodies ranging from cubed lamb stew to a dish of turmeric-tinged cabbage and potatoes. And to finish, an Ethiopian coffee ceremony that consists of roasting beans at the table is a fitting end to the meal. [Reader]

Despite a change in chef, Filini “won’t challenge anything but your sense of value.” Graham Meyer thinks the menu is full of “Italian predictable and friendly forays into foreign food” that “have no magic to stir men’s blood.” The Filini panino “epitomizes the high-class, low-ambition strategy” and “lacks a final fillip of sour, spice or other bravery that would justify the restaurant’s name on it.” Similarly, Thai salad with shrimp, green-papaya, and peanuts is “coddled in a nest of normalizing romaine and lacking fishy funk.” Prices can also be excessive: An “underseasoned” burger dressed with add-ons is among the most expensive in Chicago. In the end, Meyer says “you could do worse, but you don’t have to change your default [restaurant.]” [Crain’s]

Filini Restaurant and Bar

221 N Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60601 (312) 477-0234 Visit Website