Phil Vettel visits two fine dining spots in the Chicagoland area and deems them both excellent. Up north in Winnetka, the Tribune critic believes that chef Michael Lachowicz provides one of the region’s finest French experiences at recently-reopened fine-dining destination George Trois. The “brilliant” restaurant, which “arguably deserves a Michelin star,” offers a 12-course menu that starts off with a “heavenly” bite of osetra caviar over a dome-shaped potato panier. Foie gras torchon is bound in gelee, served alongside a hot seared foie medallion, and topped with Burgundy truffle shavings that add “even more luxury,” while lamb loin sits atop choux confit and a “lovely” rosemary jus. The meal finishes with a “picture-perfect” miniature soufflé and a variety of autumn-themed sweets.
Temporis also elicits a “wow” from Vettel. Despite a change in executive chef, there’s been no drop-off in quality at the Michelin-starred West Town spot, the critic writes. New lead Troy Jorge presents dishes that display “extraordinary balance,” such as a three-dimensional gazpacho and king crab nuggets with three expressions of grapefruit. A “spectacular” lobster tortellini features vanilla-scented pasta, tarragon and lobster powder, and dots of truffle and orange-marmalade puree, while seared wagyu with fried broccoli florets is a “playful take” on beef and broccoli. Desserts match the savory offerings “in complexity and artistry” and include lemongrass mousse over toasted rice cake and toasted rice sorbet, surrounded by rice pearls. [Tribune]
Longtime River North Italian stalwart Coco Pazzo has a new executive chef but “it’s as solid in the kitchen as ever,” writes Joanne Trestrail. The antipasti platter — full of prosciutto, Parmesan, grilled veggies, olives, and more — is “as good as it looks,” and calamari fritti “also dazzles” with “tender, delicately crusted squid” and a “super-tasty” cherry-tomato sauce. Among the pastas, a “simple but resonant” plate of whole wheat stracci with black chickpeas, onions, and pancetta is a winner. A few misfires include a “soggy” autumn salad and “disconcertingly tough” leeks wrapped around an otherwise “delicious” roasted salmon. [Crain’s]