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Reviews: Chicago’s First Burmese Restaurant Impresses

Plus, a restaurant worth the drive to suburban Geneva

Craft Urban

The city’s first Burmese restaurant is a comforting place to escape the winter chill, writes Mike Sula. The Family House in West Rogers Park delves into uncharted territory with dishes like laphet thoke — “deeply funky” fermented green leaves tossed with cabbage, roasted peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, and fried soybeans that “together perform a veritable symphony of crunchiness.” Ohn no khao swe is a “richly creamy” curried noodled soup served with “wickedly moist” slices of chicken breast, while mohinga is a “piping-hot” soup of tilapia, banana stems, deep-fried soybeans, and rice vermicelli. Similarly helping diners “snap out of [their] seasonal stupor” are “bracing salads,” each “sharp with chile and lime and deeply umamic with fish sauce.” [Reader]

Although it’s all the way out in Geneva, Craft Urban “would feel at home in any city neighborhood” according to Phil Vettel. There’s a selection of toasts to start, including a “very nice combination” of ricotta, grape mostarda, and prosciutto. Seafood also excels — rainbow trout in a lemon-caper sauce is “one of the nicest dishes on the menu” — while the meaty porchetta is a “classy” pork and beans that serves as “perfect winter-weather fare.” Desserts are “classic indulgences” and the best of the bunch is the chocolate mousse with toasted marshmallow, graham-cracker crumble, and sea salt. [Tribune]