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A Critic Finds Arguably Chicago’s Best Bibimbop in Lakeview

Plus a critic enjoys his trippy culinary tour of Bar Biscay

Bar Biscay
Barry Brecheisen

Moccozy, a small storefront in Boystown, is making arguably the best dolsot bibimbop in the city. Here, the popular Korean dish has a “toasty, chunky crunchiness that takes it to another level.” It’s heated to a “ferocious temperature, which produces an extraordinarily thick” bottom layer of rice, and then topped with veggies, a fried egg, and proteins like short rib, squid, or shrimp. Other menu items include pajeon, a seafood pancake that arrives with a “fetching, smoky char” and a kimchi stew thick with tofu, pickled cabbage, and fatty pork belly. On the whole, Mike Sula thinks the “husband-and-wife team behind Moccozy are specialists of rare power.” [Reader]

Jeff Ruby says Bar Biscay “scratches an itch [he] didn’t even know [he] had.” The Spanish-French restaurant is a “fun house of shifting colors and audacious visual trickery” and the cooking is equally awe-inspiring. On the snacks side, “intense” whipped Cabrales “hits the back of your throat like a delicious punishment” while the seafood selection “comes up with pearls left and right,” such as “standout” whole prawns. Larger plates “may appear less exciting at first glance, but they’re surprisingly delightful.” The whole oxtail, in particular, is “destined to be a Chicago classic” — a “spectacular” mound of shredded meat is lifted by watercress and orange zest gremolata. Dessert is a work in progress but for libations, there’s a “luscious” old-fashioned mixed with sherry and cognac. [Chicago]

Bonci is “well-crafted pizza with rare ingredient combinations,” writes Michael Nagrant. The Roman-style pizzeria has set up shop in Wicker Park and is delivering crusts with a “cracklin’ soot-mottled bottom and a bubble-rich soft, chewy-interior.” They’re topped with “D.O.C.-quality prosciuttos, cloud-light ricotta, Calabrian chili etc.. Which is to say, this is like Sbarro for Kardashians.” Among the numerous options, the “ambrosial” ricotta with zucchini, lemon zest, and pepper is most likely to “blow your mind.” Bonci might not stand up to the best of the best, like Paulie Gee’s or Spacca Napoli, but it’s easy to mix and match different flavors and “if you want a top three or four Chicago slice and you want it in five minutes, this is your only option.” [Michael Nagrant]

Phil Vettel quickly cuts to the chase when reviewing Stefani Prime, Phil Stefani and family’s new restaurant in suburban Lincolnwood: “You don’t come to a Stefani restaurant in search of culinary innovation or the Next Big Thing. You visit for utter reliability.” Service earns high marks and the $99, 36-ounce tomahawk beef ribeye features “meat is so rich it glistens…I’d guess it would sate around four normal people (or one hungry lion).” The bone-in Kanas City strip was Vettel’s favorite steak and portions are large, and not just for the steaks. The pastas include a fettuccine tossed in a hollow of a 20-pound wheel of grana padano. Executive chef Nolan Narut earns overall praise and compliments for his take on shrimp DeJonghe, a unique Chicago dish that he finds a “perfect balance of breadcrumbs and butter sauce.” [Tribune]

Stefani Prime

6755 N. Cicero Avenue, Lincolnwood, IL 60712 312-275-9000 Visit Website

Bonci

1566 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (872) 829-3144

Bar Biscay

1450 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60642 (312) 455-8900 Visit Website

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