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Alinea’s Supper Club Produces ‘Damn Near Perfect’ Prime Rib, Says Trib

Plus, Vajra goes beyond classic Indian and Nepalese cooking

Vajra’s dining room features brown tables and chairs, white brick walls, framed artwork, and an Indian mural
Vajra
Barry Brecheisen

The Alinea Group’s attempt at replicating the Wisconsin supper club experience earns high praise from Phil Vettel. All of the traditional elements “have been faithfully re-created” at St. Clair Supper Club and it’s just “one relish tray shy of being a time capsule.” The straightforward menu features “sensational” prime rib that’s dry-aged for 10 days, cooked as whole roasts, and sliced to order. The “well-trimmed, richly flavored slabs at St. Clair are damn near perfect” and served with a “satisfying, tongue-coating sauce that’s as integral to a prime rib dinner as the meat itself.” Appetizers, such as extra-large shrimp cocktail and deep–fried crab cakes, are “worthy” as well. To finish, strawberry shortcake with amaretto liqueur is Vettel’s favorite dessert. [Tribune]

Vajra is an Indian/Nepalese spot that “infuse[s] familiar classics with high-end ingredients in mouthwatering ways,” writes Ariel Cheung. Executive chef Min Thapa has assembled an “imaginative assortment” of dishes that range from sweet lobster Malabar curry to cumin-laced duck chhoela. On the tandoori venison, the meat is marinated overnight and then hit with a second rub before being smoked in the oven. The “intriguing menu” also boasts samosa chaat, which is “both deliciously indulgent and bright on the palate,” and veggie-friendly options like a matar paneer that’s “popping with fresh peas in a spicy tomato sauce.” For dessert, gaajarka halva pudding is “warm and comforting and reminiscent of a carrot cake rendered to a porridge-like consistency,” while cocktails are “spiked with flavors that captivate without overpowering.” [Modern Luxury]

Mike Sula visits the only Haitian restaurant in Chicago. Located in West Rogers Park, Kizin Creole offers “many of the essentials.” There’s pâté, a flaky puff pastry stuffed with meats or veggies, as well as the country’s national dish – griyo. For this, chunks of pork shoulder are marinated, braised, and then deep-fried. They’re served alongside fried plantains, taro root fritters, and fried white sweet potato. Everything is best enjoyed with a side of pikliz, a “tart, piercing Scotch bonnet-spiced slaw that generally brings this cuisine’s richness into sharp focus.” Other specialties include ka bef, stewed oxtail, and diri djondjon, “deep, earthy rice pigmented with black mushrooms.” [Reader]

Though the Purple Pig has moved into a new space, the quality of the food hasn’t changed. The restaurant “feels tamer, not so informal” but there’s also been a hike in the prices. The crispy pig’s ear, which now runs $16, mingles with kale, pickled cherry peppers, and fried egg in order to bring “together bold tastes and textures that all work together.” Another winner is the orecchiette with “strong Italian sausage and pleasantly bitter rapini.” Overall, “every dish blares in-your-face flavors, turning salt, sour and/or umami up to 11.” [Crain’s]

Chicago South Sider and YouTube personality Larry Legend weighs in on the Popeyes chicken sandwich. His first bite yields “pure joy” and he says that Chick-fil-A’s offering is “no match for the one at Popeyes.” The “simplicity of the sandwich wow[s] [him], because there [is] so much flavor,” and the extra addition of Sweet Heat dipping sauce takes it to “Zion.” At the end of the day, Legend “can honestly say that the Popeyes chicken sandwich is the best [he’s] had from any of the major fast food chains.” [Chicago]

The Purple Pig

500 North Michigan Avenue, , IL 60611 (312) 464-1744 Visit Website

Vajra

1329 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60642 (312) 929-4990 Visit Website

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