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Sula Thinks Fort Willow’s Throwback Playground is Worth Seeking Out

Plus, Vettel thinks Band of Bohemia elevates brewpubs and more reviews

Fort Willow
Barry Brecheisen

Through vivid recollection and artist renderings, Mike Sula details his experience at Fort Willow. Among the rotating “Big Bite” specials, a “voluptuous” grilled cheese is a “clever reimagination of French onion soup.” It’s served with a dish of red-wine-braised shredded short rib to form a “wickedly irresistible combination.” There’s a “thirst-kindling spiciness across the menu,” such double fried cauliflower draped with Serrano and hot sauce; and charred broccoli with a peanut sauce that’s imbued with a “sneaking burn.” For relief, Sula cools off with a horchata crème brulee topped with crunchy cinnamon-spiced rice noodles. [Reader]

Michelin-starred Band of Bohemia is a “sophisticated, unique synthesis” of beer and upscale pub fare. Phil Vettel lauds the “visually stunning yet highly approachable dishes,” like lobster tagliatelle with king crab and matsutake mushroom butter that’s described as a “richness-on-richness indulgence.” Baked foie-laska — a slab of foie gras blanketed by a torched meringue of duck-egg whites and pears — “nimbly balances sweet and savory notes” and a “sensational” duck entrée features breast meat presented with crisped rice cubes, dots of coconut puree, and scorched bok choy. “Nifty” desserts include a tuffet of fermented-banana cheesecake while the house brews are “creative quaffs that incorporate such ingredients as bets, pears, toasted fennel and jasmine rice.” [Tribune]

Lonesome Rose is blossoming in Logan Square, writes Ariel Cheung. Truck stop nachos are a “superb option for snacking,” loaded with carne asada, queso, and black beans. Spicy fish tacos are “extra crispy and uplifted by salsa verde,” while plump chipotle shrimp “pair well” with charred corn. Downstairs at cocktail bar Golden Teardrops, “bartenders don’t hold back with stiff drinks like the Hot Flashes, an assertive blend of cognac, rye whiskey, vermouth and campari.” With a “lovely dichotomy” between the two floors, Land and Sea Dept. has created a “venue that’s twice as nice.” [CS]

John Kessler thinks Bridgeport is becoming the “New Chinatown.” The South Side neighborhood is delivering “so much hearty, face-stuffingly good food” that he embarks on a crawl. At Taipei Café, the gua bao — cradling pork belly, cilantro, and pickled radish — is the “definitive version of this now-ubiquitous food.” Farther south, A Place by Damao “brings the kind of full-throttle Sichuan flavors that other purveyors have hesitated to delve into,” such as hand-pulled rabbit infused with ma la seasoning, and braised-then-broiled pig’s feet. Finally, Xiao Mei Xing offers intriguing dishes like barbecue chilled noodles, a “psychotropic bliss” that consists of hot buckwheat pappardelle with egg, cilantro, and sauce. [Chicago]

It’s easy to overlook Tomatillo Tacoville but Michael Nagrant says it’s “worth stopping for.” The Mexican “wonderland’s” meats are “well-caramelized and well-salted” and include al pastor, carnitas, and carne asada. A “just right” shower of onions and cilantro are all that’s needed to make these tacos sing. Even Nagrant’s six-year-old agrees: They’re the real deal. [Michael Nagrant]

Lonesome Rose

5310 North Clark Street, , IL 60640 (773) 654-1365 Visit Website

Fort Willow

1721 North Elston Avenue, , IL 60642 (773) 687-8898 Visit Website

Band of Bohemia

4710 North Ravenswood Avenue, , IL 60640 (773) 271-4710 Visit Website