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More Critics Are in Love With Pacific Standard Time

Plus Passerotto seamlessly blends Korean and Italian fare

Pacific Standard Time
Barry Brecheisen

There’s “surprisingly little about [Pacific Standard Time] that is truly Californian” but Erling Wu-Bower’s vision of the West Coast is remarkable nonetheless. Mike Sula “thoroughly enjoy[s]” a super-elastic pizza topped with ramps, tomato, “punchy” ubriaco rosso cheese, and coppa, as well as chicken wings with a “soul-gripping” saline bottom from fish sauce and “warm, glowing” sweetness from caramelized sugar. The star of the show, though, is the house-baked pita bread — “toasty-fresh, lightly oiled and salted sorcery” that emerges from a 650-degree oven. It’s served with dishes like “delicious” beef tartare or a whole roasted duck. For dessert, a “memorable” huckleberry sundae features “clean, rich” fruit and honey ice cream topped with meringue and buttermilk cake. [Reader]

Phil Vettel is likewise enamored with PST. The notable bread is “like pita bread and Indian naan had a beautiful baby” and offered with a “terrific composition” marinated tuna over green-chickpea hummus, tahini, and urfa. “Do not overlook” the shrimp and pork dumplings; the “wonderfully roasted” black cod with fennel puree and marinated mushrooms; or the duck that’s “destined for stardom” and served alongside dipping sauces. The standout dessert is the huckleberry sundae but other choices include a “yummy” burnt olive-oil cake with crème fraiche ice cream. [Tribune]

Passerotto is a uniquely distinctive Korean-Italian experience. Owner Jennifer Kim, formerly of Snaggletooth, offers plates such as bay scallops, spiked with purple chive blossoms, swimming in a citron, XO, and soy onion puree. Michael Nagrant thinks it “looks like modern art, a pre-fixe-menu-worthy-course, and has the soul of an Italian crudo, but the umami punch of Asian cuisine.” Kimchi-stuffed pajeon is a “refined cousin of something you’d find at the traditional Korean-restaurant San Soo Gab San” and “the perfect plate for the person who loves to spend the weekend at the farmer’s market and the ceramics wing of the art institute.” Among the large-format options, the kalbi is “succulent” and accompanied by an array of “perfectly seasoned” banchan. Overall, the food is “executed at a level and quality that is worth every American dollar [Kim] charges.” [Michael Nagrant]

Fort Willow is a “welcomed hideaway with terrific service and crowd-pleasing sips” according to Maggie Hennessy. DMK Restaurants’ new treehouse-style spot certainly draws attention with its centerpiece, an “enormous tree made of reclaimed wood planks.” To drink, the Tree Fort Punch conceals a “hefty pour” of gin with sencha green and mint teas, raw sugar, and lime juice while the Daisy Puncher is a “tropical storm” of jalapeno-infused tequila, mescal, and guava syrup. Food options are more of a “mixed success.” A double dredging of batter “weigh[s] down” delicate cauliflower florets and Korean beef ribs offer “little depth” to counter its sweet notes, but charred and chileld broccoli are a mouthful of delight. Desserts include a “cooling, silky” horchata crème brulee, topped with cinnamon-scented rice noodles, that’s “both delicate and deeply satisfying.” [Time Out]

Bellemore is a “restaurant incapable of creating a bad dish.” Graham Meyer tries the lunch menu and says the “platings, too, live up to the beauty of the room.” Carrot toast is “in fact stupendous in both appearance and taste” and smoked duck kielbasa “turn[s] out even better than it sound[s], integrating the deep smoky meatiness of the sausage with the twin sours of the mustard and cucumber condiment.” Steak and avocado salad “winds up lowest only by staying unsurprising” while black sesame ice cream sandwiches pack “boldly unsweet, unusually colored ice cream between flourless chocolate cookies on a pillow of bruleed marshmallow and black rice.” Cocktails are less rewarding, though, as The Forager tastes “almost entirely of lime.” [Crain’s]


5420 North Clark Street, , IL 60640 (708) 607-2102 Visit Website

Pacific Standard Time

141 West Erie Street, , IL 60654 (312) 736-1778 Visit Website

Alla Vita

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

Fort Willow

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