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A Critic Praises the ‘Progressive, Exciting’ Korean-Italian Food at Passerotto

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Plus, Sepia still shines after more than a decade and more review

Passerotto
Barry Brecheisen/Eater

Passerotto isn’t flawless but Jennifer Kim has “firmly cemented her place among the chefs doing progressive, exciting things with Korean food” according to Mike Sula. The food is “more Korean than Italian,” but the latter’s influence can be felt on “lovingly and respectfully accented jewels of cleanly cut fish flesh.” Likewise, sweet bay scallops with dabs of XO sauce and soy-onion puree is “one of the loveliest plates of food [Sula’s] encountered all year, and a rare case of crudo that satisfies in proportion to its price.”

“Life-affirming” lamb tartare is served with puffed-rice crackers that “earn a spot in the movie-theater-snack hall of fame” while fried chicken has a “brittle-crisp coating that stands up to a thick, punchy glaze of gochuchang and Calabrian chiles.” Among the large-format dishes accompanied by banchan, the kalbi can be loaded onto shiso leaves with a smear of ssamjang for “robustly beefy bites.” There’s only one dessert — Tuscan biscuits known as cantuccini — and Sula says it’s best paired with a glass of the dessert wine vin santo or the “straw wine” passito. [Reader]

After almost 11 years, Sepia is still operating at the highest levels. Phil Vettel reviews the fine dining stalwart and thinks it hasn’t missed a beat. Salmon crudo is a “must-have starter,” sitting under sliced hearts of palm and fried artichoke curlicues. Scallops placed over a blend of peaches, pancetta, and porcini are “equally complex and artful” while pastas, like the crab-ricotta-filled agnolotti, are “excellent.” Entrees are full of “stars”; the “sensational” brioche-crusted halibut with morels, white asparagus, and spring onions is a don’t-miss. Capping off the three-star meal is a “magazine-cover-worthy” chocolate composition of chocolate mousse dome, sarsaparilla ice cream, cherries, smoked vanilla cream, chocolate meringue, and cocoa nibs. [Tribune]

Joanne Trestrail continues to eat through Chinatown. At Moon Palace, the “delicious” xiao long bao are “plump steamed purses stuffed with pork and vegetables” while pot stickers “also satisfy.” A block away, Qing Xiang Yuan focuses on dumplings as well. They’re available boiled, steamed, or fried and come filled with “lively combinations” of meet, seafood, and veggies. Some are even “pretty bold,” such as a combo involving sea cucumber. Overall, Moon Palace is a “solid choice for diners seeking traditional Chinese-American Dishes” but “QXY has better dumplings.” [Crain’s]

Passerotto

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

Sepia

123 North Jefferson Street, , IL 60661 (312) 441-1920 Visit Website

Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings

2002 South Wentworth Avenue, , IL 60616 (312) 799-1118 Visit Website

Moon Palace Restaurant

216 West Cermak Road, , IL 60616 (312) 225-4081 Visit Website

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