Galit is “where you go to revise the standard for how [Middle Eastern food] should taste,” according to Maggie Hennessy. She thinks diners should start with the “creamy and light as air” hummus and swipe it with a hunk of “Bubbe’s Brisket” for a “moment of pure bliss.” Kubbeh, croquettes of “succulent” lamb ragu, “grow tastier as they cool in a sauce of sweet raisin and almond puree” while the restaurant’s charcoal hearth turns orange- and cumin-glazed carrots into “something revelatory.” Desserts are a bit of a miss as one of the options is a “clunky, dry take on the Georgian cheese bread khachapuri,” but the “balanced and understated” cocktails, such as the negroni-ish “Sunset on Halsted,” are winners. The biggest blunder, though, is the service. Duplicate orders, missing dishes, and glasses sitting empty for “long stretches” all dampen the experience. Fortunately, the food is good enough to make up for it. [Time Out]
Café Cancale is another hit for One Off Hospitality, writes Michael Nagrant. The French seafood restaurant isn’t afraid to play with the classics, as walleye quenelle is a “cloud-like seafood soufflé swimming in a lake of cognac and lobster essence capped off with a verdant mound of pea shoots that tastes like soil and fresh spring air.” Salade Lyonnaise “take[s] things to the next level” by adding fried potato wisps and smoked nuggets of eel, while lobster is “impeccably” dressed with a creamy sauce, black lime, and celery. The “only real mis-step of the night is an ammonia-tinged plank of trout featuring a giant fat globule,” but dessert redeems it with a sweet and salty strawberry sundae. On the beverage front, the “Superb Last Word” is “served with sidecars sitting in ice-filled hammered-copper sleeves, so that each sip of gin, lime, and chartreuse, is frigidly delicious.” [Michael Nagrant]
Phil Vettel says the Hoxton hotel is dining destination. On the ground floor, Cira boasts Chris Pandel’s Mediterranean-inspired plates, like a “creative, inside-out” taramasalata featuring cured mackerel flakes in the spread and fish roe on top. Pasta is a “strength” and includes lamb-filled manti as well as “similarly impressive” pistachio ravioli with saffron-orange butter. Among the main courses, “seek out” the brodetto in a “complex” broth with tomatoes and harissa. And for dessert, Vettel “love[s]” the mille feuille, a puff pastry topped with honey-sweetened tahini and malted-honey ice cream.
At Cabra, Stephanie Izard delivers Peruvian bites with some twists. The “ceviche star is the snapper” but the “decidedly nontraditional” duck ceviche — topped with pickled mango, gooseberries, and salsa criolla — is also worth trying. Pulpo con olivos, a chilled octopus-olive-avocado salad, is “delicious” while flaky empanadas are “irresistible.” The “signature” entree is the chicharron del puerco, pork shank with crispy skin that offers a “delicious, satisfying crunch,” which is served with pickled veggies, flatbread, and dipping sauces. “Fun” desserts, such as sweet potato doughnuts with dulce de leche and crispy rice, round out the meal. [Tribune]