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Bellemore is Another Boka Group Standout and More Reviews

Plus A Place by Damao sizzles

Anthony Tahlier

Death, taxes, and another Boka Restaurant Group winner may be the only certainties in life. This time, Mike Sula praises Bellemore led by chef Jimmy Papadopoulos. Grilled vegetable soup, an update on classic Italian ribollita, is “both light and powerful, the kind of thing that could wake you from a coma.” Venison tartare “fulfills the primal, life-affirming craving raw flesh is supposed to satisfy” while razor clams — deep fried and served with razor clam ceviche and sweet potato fritters — are as if “they’re from a New England clam shack that fell from the sky over northern Spain.” Among entrees, a “lush” piece of cod with multicolored cauliflower florets, roasted hazelnuts, and grilled radicchio is a “master class in acidity dancing gracefully with fat.” For dessert, Allison Schroeder “scores” with a lemongrass semifreddo topped with makrut lime granite. [Reader]

Maggie Hennessy thinks A Place By Damao’s “bold, simple street fare” is “some of the city’s most authentic” Sichuan cuisine. The Bridgeport restaurant brings the heat on boiled bell dumplings swimming in a “searing, bright-red” oil, and potato strips — covered in peppercorns, dried chilis, and scallions — that manage to “hit every taste bud.” A bowl of wonton soup features “supple” pork dumplings bathing in a “beautifully subtle” broth while braised pig feet is a “special dish” that tastes like a “smokier, more intense pork belly.” To keep the spices manageable, Hennessy recommends a can of the sweetened herbal tea. [Time Out]

Somerset is a “fine addition to [Boka Restaurant Group’s] remarkable portfolio,” writes Jeff Ruby. The American menu “looks straightforward at first glance, but it has depth.” Wood-grilled Spanish octopus is a “precisely calibrated three-star dish” that takes “vibrant flavors to sophisticated heights” thanks to the addition of tart radishes and a sweet potato and sesame puree. Lee Wolen’s “eclectic rendition” of tartare mixes dry-aged beef with chopped shiitake mushrooms, radish strips, and pickled mustard seeds under crispy fried mushroom shreds. “Magnificent” venison loin, gets dressed with sunchokes, pears, huckleberries, and venison sausage nubs, while the “stunning” roasted chicken offers “impossibly soft, pliable meat under a crisp golden crust that pops with that garlicky sausage layer.” Complementing the food is a “versatile and dynamic” wine list with more than 30 affordable options available by the glass. [Chicago]

Pearl Brasserie is the “best Saturday-night hidden secret in town” according to Phil Vettel. Chef Jason Paskewitz’s “cooking remains strong as ever, but his menu is simpler and more affordable.” There’s a “silky” lobster bisque or “beautiful” composition of beets and goat cheese to start. The execution is “flawless” on main courses, such as a pork chop with “beautiful taste and texture” and Scottish salmon with “nearly melt-away flesh.” Cocktails like the bourbon-based Law & Order and Milk & Roses are also “worth seeking.” [Tribune]

“The food can complement the art” at Marisol. Graham Meyer says the dishes “bear the hallmarks of upscale dining,” including a Brussels sprouts starter with some leaves roasted brown and others presented raw. Burrata toast with candied squash, persimmon, and charred ginger blended creamy yields “impressive results.” So too does roasted winter squash combining butternut and delicata with spreadable ‘nduja, Gouda, and dill. Overall, it’s a “captivating” museum experience that makes a “worthy destination lunch.” [Crain’s]


200 West Superior Street, , IL 60654 (312) 280-1000 Visit Website


205 East Pearson Street, , IL 60611 (312) 799-3599 Visit Website

Alla Vita

564 West Randolph Street, , IL 60661 (312) 667-0104 Visit Website

Pearl Brasserie

180 North Upper Wacker Drive, , IL 60606 (312) 629-1030 Visit Website