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A Critic Falls for Lettuce Entertain You’s ‘Intoxicating’ Aba

Plus Flight Club is an experience all its own

Aba
Barry Brecheisen/Eater

Michael Nagrant takes a chance on Aba and finds a lot to like in an “intoxicating” environment. Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ new West Loop spot boasts a “glorious” open terrace that captures the “very essence of Chicago summer.” CJ Jacobson’s food is equally delightful. His red beet tzatziki is better than the average babcia’s, “bursting with horseradish spice and the tangy spurt of finger limes (it’s like fruit caviar).” Sesame shrimp is “encrusted and flaky like Rip’N Chick’N from Popeyes” and served with a “herbaceous” hot sauce, while crème brulee pie is a “smart revival of the classic.” On the beverage side, the “refreshing” Domaine Skouras Moschofilero is “basically like the wine equivalent of Budweiser in Greece.” [Michael Nagrant]

Flight Club shows that “sometimes the experience of a restaurant is about more than the food.” Aimee Levitt checks out the new darts club, which has the style of an “English Cracker Barrel” thanks to interesting décor choices like china horses, hanging ferns, and “portraits that look like they were lifted from the Haunted Mansion at Disney World.” Cocktails contain “at least one improbable ingredient,” such as artichoke liqueur, and are “all smooth and balanced and mostly delicious.”

Food is “not Flight Club’s greatest strength” but there are some good bites. Although tandoori chicken skewers are “oddly flavorless,” Kung Pao lettuce wraps are “prepared well.” Raw seafood is the “most solid section,” featuring briny oysters, sweet lobster, and snappy shrimp. And the oddly-named “Creamy Sexy Mushroom” flatbread is “actually pretty good, a nice blend of umami and thyme.” In the end, Flight Club isn’t reinventing the wheel but Levitt thinks folks should just embrace the benign absurdity of the experience. [Reader]

PST continues to garner rave reviews, this time from Maggie Hennessy. The food is a “cultural kaleidoscope of flavor packaged in that affably Californian clothing.” Roasted beets, verdant kale, and charred blueberries in a “bracing” yogurt dressing is “one of the most brightly aromatic, textural salads [Hennessy’s] ever eaten” while the “bubbly, tangy” pizzas include a “umami-packed mashup” of mushrooms, caramelized cipollini onions, stracchino cheese, and XO sauce. Seafood is similarly excellent, starring seared sea bass bathing in a poblano broth alongside salty-sweet clams and yuba. Save room for dessert and a huckleberry sundae with crisped meringue dusted with Urfa Biber, a Turkish chili pepper. It represents PST at its best, nudging guests out of their comfort zone with “murmurs of complexity and depth.” [Time Out]

Flight Club

111 W. Wacker Drive, , IL 60601 (312) 284-2474 Visit Website

Pacific Standard Time

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

Aba

302 North Green Street, , IL 60607 (773) 645-1400 Visit Website

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