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Sula Slams Michael Mina’s New Chicago Restaurant and More Reviews

But Sal’s Trattoria is worth seeking out

Margeaux Brasserie
Marc Much

Margeaux Brasserie “wants to be a place where whales celebrate” according to Mike Sula. The French restaurant from Michael Mina is an excessively lavish experience that “only someone with the aesthetics of the 1 percent could enjoy without shame.” Dover sole weighs in at $59 but the “legitimate deliciousness of the firm, lightly crisp flesh” helps soften the blow. Dry-aged Rohan duck breast also “possesses an almost Wagyu level of fat marbling with a shattering-crisp skin” but an “unnerving number” of dishes miss the mark. Sweet-and-sour sweetbreads are “rubbery and leached of flavor”; steak tartare “overcompensates for a lack of beefiness with an off-putting hit of sweetness”; and roasted chicken is “oversalted to the point of inedibility.” Dessert features a “wan and limited” cheese chariot that “makes it feel like choosing from a gurney in a cheese hospice.” All in all, Sula says Margeaux will “mean little to the people who live in the city it just dropped into.” [Reader]

Margeaux fares better during the day as a breakfast spot. Joanne Trestrail explores the menu and discovers Nutella sticky buns and a selection of croissants and scones, “all fun.” Custardy quiche is “right on” while an “airy” omelet with Gruyere and fine herbs is “another good choice.” French toast is a “slab of deliciousness that’s dangerously close to bread pudding,” and a side of breakfast potatoes is “perfectly roasted” with bits of onion and bacon. For those looking for a morning hangout “with some old-school posh and refinement to it,” this is the place. [Crain’s]

Sal’s Trattoria is a charming neighborhood restaurant that’s “easy to visit and easy to come back,” Phil Vettel writes. Italian staples like beef carpaccio and fried calamari are “all capably rendered,” while a “beautiful” spinach-arugula salad also pleases. Pastas are a “strength” and include a “most interesting” spinach tagliatelle with black mussels, tomato-cream sauce, and spicy Italian sausage. Mediterranean bass is another “beautiful” special worth trying, as are the two-inch-thick meatballs “loaded with garlic and swimming in marinara sauce.” For dessert, olive oil cake “satisfies with light texture and buttery flavor.” Maybe it will break the curse of that corner Lakeview space. [Tribune]

Maggie Hennessy thinks Daisies “makes a compelling argument for going out for pasta.” Fried shiitakes and cheese curds ooze “just enough inside” and are served with a tangy tarragon ranch while a sturgeon entrée is “hearteningly crispy skinned and flaky” You’ll want to save lots of room for the pastas though, which include “toothy” pappardelle with sweet mushroom ragu and meaty portobello, and “squishy” potato pierogi that has “lovely chew” from a hard sear. But it’s the tajarin that really soars. Tangled with butter, green garlic, green beans, and crunchy chicken craklins, it’s a “supple yet textural, light yet indulgent, just garlicky enough, shameless face-stuffing kind” of dish. [Time Out]

Jeff Ruby is not moved by Split-Rail’s playful concept. The menu “overflows with cleverness … but clever doesn’t necessarily taste good.” There are “ingenious creations,” such as loaded-baked potato gnocchi and a “tightly composed” grilled fingerling potato salad. Yet they’re offset by duds like a “soupy train wreck” of a green bean casserole, and “gummy” linguine and clams that taste as if an “entire lemon tree had fallen into it.” An “awkwardly named” Fajitas, Reimagined dish is “undeniably tender and flavorful,” though, and the Toast No. 1 is the “kind of elegant but simple dish that made [Zoe] Schor a star at Ada St.” In the end, Ruby hopes Split-Rail gets more serious and relies less on gimmicks.” [Chicago]

Proxi spans the globe for a bevy of indelible delights. Dishes are inspired by “ingredients and flavors from all over the world” that “on paper, shouldn’t work when paired together, but do” according to Lisa Shames. The buzzed-about tempura elotes take the beloved Mexican street snack and “morphs [it] into a Japanese-style deep-fried fritter,” while coal-roasted oysters are a “globe-trotting relative of oysters Rockefeller.” Fried fish collars are similarly successful and a “terrific” piece of cobia is enhanced with funky bitter melon in a coconut milk and turmeric sauce. To finish, an avocado mousse is a memorable dessert with creamy green custard, chewy tapioca pearls, and a coconut tuile. [CS]

Sal's Trattoria

2834 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, IL (773) 857-1401 Visit Website

Split-Rail

2500 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 697-4413 Visit Website

Daisies

2523 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 661-1671 Visit Website

Proxi

565 West Randolph Street, , IL 60661 (312) 466-1950 Visit Website

Margeaux Brasserie

11 E Walton St, Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 625-1324 Visit Website

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