Doggone’s fails to live up to the city’s rich history of encased meats, according to the Reader’s Mike Sula. The new Logan Square restaurant from Skip Murray, a sausage king who’s opened several shops in Louisiana, offers a variety of different animals on a bun. “The Nola Dog” — a crawfish sausage topped with étouffée, mustard, and sour cream — is a “balanced if messy composition,” but it’s the “richness of the smother that takes up most of the attention,” writes Sula. Unfortunately, the sausages themselves are the main problem. Nearly every one that Sula tries is “visibly reduced, wrinkled and withdrawn, any former snappiness reduced to a leathery crackle, as if they’d basked in the sun too long.” Other items include baked fries that can be covered with étouffée or a thick andouille sauce. In the end, Sula says animals “deserve better treatment” than being turned into disappointing sausages. [Reader]
Cabra is a “good-natured, bustling scene” with crowd-pleasing dishes to boot. Stephanie Izard’s Peruvian-inspired rooftop restaurant, against the “backdrop of sweeping city views,” is off to a scorching hot start. Though the classic ceviche “misse[s] the telltale pucker and flaky texture you expect,” kampachi tiradito is a “subtle, textural delight” according to Maggie Hennessy. Beef heart anticuchos’s “pleasingly intense meatiness” gets a zesty lift from rocoto chile mayo and minty huacatay and lime paste, while sous video pork shank with chicharrón skin is a “carnivorous delight.” For dessert, sweet potato doughnuts deliver a “satisfying chew and tang that balance[s] their sticky-sweet dulce de leche bath.” And to drink, the “balanced, quenching” golden hour cocktail is a summer sipping blend of Scotch, grapefruit, mango vinegar, and ginger ale. [Time Out]
Graham Meyer says the “food’s quality justifies the scene” at Cabra. “Nothing is ever one-note” with Stephanie Izard and the highlights of the lunch menu include a pork belly sandwich that has “no shortage of richness,” and sweet potato doughnuts. The pisco sour is also great, featuring “smooth pisco, foamed egg white and a few drops of bitters.” For those seeking a place to look cool, “Cabra is your spot, designed for millennial experiential leisure.” [Crain’s]
New steakhouse Ocean Prime “succeeds on quality and execution” according to Phil Vettel. The menu “touches all the expected bases,” such as the massive crab cake, with horseradish-mustard aioli, that’s “as good a crab cake as you’ll find anywhere.” The “very good” Florida grouper is served with crisped potatoes, shallots, and a lemon-caper reduction while the “firm flesh” of blackened snapper “works nicely against the crisp snap of the haricots verts and the silky-smoothness of the corn pudding.” On the meat side, the USDA prime New York strip is “flawless.” And to finish, the “very good” Key lime pie arrives with berries and raspberry sauce.
The Tribune team explores the Chinatown area and takes a look at a couple of restaurants and tea shops. At Big Boss Spicy Fried Chicken, chef Jassy Lee is making a “well made fried chicken, with an extra-crunchy crust and absurdly juicy meat.” Each bite is “wild and complex, thanks to a mix of seven chile varieties.” To temper the spices, head to Hello Jasmine for drinks like a lime passion fruit green tea, which is a “tropical vacation in every sip.” The food offerings are “humble, but each one fulfills a very specific craving.” The Taiwanese cold noodle “tastes like the simple ones your mom threw together to help beat the heat” while the popcorn chicken is a “boba shop must, its savory five-spiced crunch a perfect foil to the sweet and sometimes creamy tea drinks.” [Tribune]