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A Critic Thinks a Boka Restaurant Has ‘Gone Full Cheesecake Factory’

Plus, another critic fawns over Aba and more reviews

Dutch & Doc’s
Boka Restaurant Group/Stoffer Photography Interiors

Dutch & Doc’s isn’t quite the home run that Boka Restaurant Group is hoping for according to Michael Nagrant. A “lack of specificity is the problem” and the menu, filled with standards like avocado toast and chicken wings, feels like it’s “gone full Cheesecake Factory.” Adding to the disappointment is the fact that while the “ideas are good,” the “execution is awful.” Soy-glazed “crispy” ribs are “lukewarm and mushy,” the burger is “desiccated like Wrigley Ivy in February,” and the bread is “soggier than a double-dipped Italian beef.” Fried chicken is “acceptable” but marred by a side of pimento cheese that has been “whipped somewhere between the consistency of chocolate mousse and spray cheese.” Dessert doesn’t fare much better as strawberry shortcake is a “hard tack.” One bright spot: Service is “great.” But then again, “service was pretty awesome on the Titanic” too. [Michael Nagrant]

Aba is a blissful and rewarding experience that justifies the costs, writes Aimee Levitt. Almost everything is “excellent” and best enjoyed on the “magnificent” terrace. “Dangerously addictive” za’atar-dusted flatbread is served with “smooth and creamy” hummus, while stracciatella stars burrata with sherry vinegar and ripe tomatoes. Grilled lamb chops are “both tender and beautifully caramelized, and excellent for gnawing,” but the scallops are a true testament to C.J. Jacobson’s skill. They’re “perfectly browned on top and soft inside, like little bivalve pillows.” [Reader]

Next’s ‘Alinea 2005-2010’ menu is a faithful recreation and a “thrilling experience for those who never had the opportunity back then.” Phil Vettel strolls down memory lane for 18 memorable bites. There’s the PB&J — peanut-butter-smeared grape enveloped by toasted brioche — as well as the return of the iconic “Hot Potato/Cold Potato,” a soup of contrasting temperatures that’s “beautiful in its presentation and clever simplicity.” For dessert, a “liquid Klondike bar” is “one of the menu’s sweet highlights.” Non-alcoholic pairings are full of “gems,” like a strawberry juice infused with barbecue flavors that works “brilliantly” with compressed watermelon seasoned with tamari and bonito flakes. [Tribune]

Joanne Trestrail thinks Sapori Antichi “suavely evokes a feeling you may remember from your last trip to Rome.” The River North Italian restaurant “separates itself from many local Italian-American spots with a menu that doesn’t include pizza, spaghetti and meatballs or Italian beef sandwiches.” Standouts include “delicate” fritto misto — fried cod, calamari, and shrimp. Tre formaggi flatbread is also “lovable,” as is the “delicious” orecchiette with shrimp. A calabrese focaccia panino “satisfies,” but its many ingredients blur together and cancel each other out. Overall, though, the lunch menu is a winner. [Crain’s]

Next Restaurant

953 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 312 226 0858 Visit Website

Alinea

1723 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 Visit Website

Sapori Antichi Bar Italiano

22 West Ohio Street, , IL 60654 (312) 624-9058 Visit Website

Aba

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

Dutch & Doc's

3600 North Clark Street, , IL 60613 (773) 360-0207 Visit Website

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