Phil Vettel calls Wherewithall an “exhilarating” and “utterly unpredictable” experience. The second restaurant from Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark only offers a four-course prix fixe menu but the dishes change almost daily. On the Tribune critic’s visit, he enjoys a Norwegian trout with a sherry glaze that’s “gorgeous in color and flavor,” and a “standout” Iberico pork collar served with caramelized roasted arrowhead cabbage.” Desserts include a black raspberry tart accompanied by pea pod ice cream. Overall, the “kitchen provides the excitement of a chef-designed progression at an exceedingly modest price” of $65.
Flora Fauna’s jet-setting menu “flounder[s] due to woefully overcooked proteins and lackluster cocktails,” writes Maggie Hennessy. The tropical decor can’t make up for a beachy drink lineup that “often seem[s] too predictable.” On the “Celery Midori Sour Slushy,” passion fruit puree and pineapple juice “overpower the piney, vegetal notes of the more unique celery-flavored gin.” A “dismayingly busy” composition of octopus tentacles, plantain matchsticks, cherry tomatoes, and sour gooseberries can’t overcome the “cephalopod’s rubbery texture,” while the farm stone bowl is plagued by “tough, boiled bavette steak and dry chicken thigh meat” that “drag down the dish’s spot-on seasoning.” To finish, the whipped cream on the Hemingway daiquiri tart is “just overmixed enough to let the dessert down.” [Time Out]
Suburban doughnut maker Joe Donut also serves as an affable breakfast spot. Mike Sula visits the business’ second location in Niles and finds a variety of morning delights. The eponymous items, from old-fashioneds to strawberry glazed, “can stand up to any in the city’s doughnut establishment.” But “there’s a showmanship baked into” many of the other dishes, such as an omelet boasting a caramelized three-cheese blend. Breakfast potatoes are “irregular deep-fried nuggets of shredded baked spud, crispy but soft inside.” The biggest hit, though, is a sandwich that’s “a degenerate alliance of everything that screams for your attention.” It features a French-toast style yeast doughnut packed with ham, burnt cheese, and raspberry preserves. [Reader]