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A Critic Slams Logan Square’s New Modern Indian Restaurant

Plus Xocome Antojeria has returned to its roots

The bar area features limewashed brick paneling, colorful artwork, hanging lights, and black barstools.
Superkhana International
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Superkhana International is a super depressing experience for Michael Nagrant. The new modern Indian restaurant does nearly everything wrong, from the “unfinished” aesthetic of the space to the lackluster food and beverages. It starts off with a G(reens) and Tonic cocktail that’s “flat and syrupy, tasting like a cucumber pickle where they forgot the vinegar.” Kochumbar salad is full of “insipid” tomatoes and puffed rice that “eat[s] like styrofoamy take-out Chinese Mongolian beef garnish.” Even worse, the Bombay sandwich is “overwrought, stuffed with crunchy Indian street snacks and mango powder and jalapenos,” and served with “gloppy side dip which eats like a combo of borscht and Panda Express sweet and sour sauce.”

Vindaloo, a classic staple, is reduced to “flimsy pork belly roulades growing soggy in a pool of what is supposed to be Champagne vinegar and guajillo chili, but tastes like an unsalted Bordelaise made with vegan demi-glace.” And the ballyhooed calzone is filled with butter chicken that “tastes like someone backed a dump truck of garam masala into some tomato sauce and forgot the salt.” Just about the only positive is the French Fry Manchurian, a “full on menage-a-carbs” spin on Gobi Manchurian. [Michael Nagrant]

Xocome Antojeria is back under its original ownership and all the love has also returned to the cooking according to Mike Sula. The Mexican spot in Archer Heights from Bertha Garcia and her son David Rodriguez has garnered praise for its home-style specialties like tlacoyos. The dish stars “flat, chewy” masa stuffed with refried beans and topped with proteins, veggies, cheese, and crema. That fresh masa is picked up every morning from suppliers and is the base for “extraordinary tortillas [that] have a ghostly, griddled crispiness yielding to an equally delicate, almost cakelike softness.” They’re filled with “simply seasoned” filet mignon, carnitas, chicken, cabeza, and more. Another favorite is the pambazo, a sandwich dipped and fried in guajillo sauce and loaded with an “ample payload” of chorizo and potatoes. More menu items, such as chorizo verde, may possibly be added in the future but Sula writes “that’s only one of many reasons to pay attention to what’s happening in this little storefront.” [Reader]

St. Clair Supper Club “paint[s] the golden glow of nostalgia onto a shiny new canvas,” writes Jeff Ruby. The Alinea Group’s new restaurant “trades heavily on no-nonsense heartland memories” and executes its brief menu with precision. The brandy old fashioned is “traditional in a very good way, sparked by a floater of Sprite, just like in Wisconsin,” while creamed corn, made with corn picked within the last 24 hours, is an “Americana-style Proustian ecstasy that’s as familiar as your childhood blanket, but better.” The main event – prime rib – doesn’t disappoint, either. The “standout” English cut offers “layers of pink and silky flesh that are every bit as decadent as the glorious cap of fat that rings them” and its “intensely brothy aftertaste is a whisper from the gods.” Prices may seem outrageous to some diners but in the end, “St. Clair Supper Club brings the same level of attention to a Caesar salad as Achatz does to Alinea’s iconic edible balloon.” [Chicago]

Phil Vettel heads to Glenview for Mexican plates with European influences at Mercado Cocina. Smoked octopus is glazed with a chiles-and-tomato blend, placed over a cannellini-bean and piquillo-pepper relish, and served with romesco sauce. Lamb barbacoa “takes inspiration from osso buco,” arriving in a rich sauce with pickled onions and pistachio pesto, and handmade tortillas on the side. The shared taco platters range from a “particularly good” beef barbacoa to shrimp with spicy curry and black rice.” Desserts are “fine, but skippable” and include a “well-executed” guava and rhubarb crème brulee. Despite its location and casual interior, Vettel says “there’s nothing run-of-the-mill about this place.” [Tribune]

Pizzeria Portofino is the Chicago River’s hottest dining destination and the food is heavy on crowd pleasers. Graham Meyer says the space goes “deep into painting the river as the Riviera” and pizzas serve as the “central pillar” of the menu. They sport a “very thin, crisp crust” and are “puffy and blistered, like Neapolitan pizzas.” Variants include the “angelic” burrata diavola, packing burrata dollops and prosciutto under arugula, and the “bitter-meets-meaty Pugliese” with fennel sausage, rapini, and chili flakes. Fried zucchini flowers sound less familiar but “stay safe, filled with melted cheese and served with a dipping sauce, like mozzarella sticks” while the profiteroles bianco dessert is a mélange of hazelnut, white chocolate, dark chocolate, and salt. [Crain’s]

The Purple Pig has a new home and with it, a new menu full of “vibrant seasonal dishes.” Jimmy Bannos Jr. “provides a love-at-first-bite experience, each dish proving a textural and flavorful marvel.” Potato ice cream + caviar is a “clever starter,” featuring “delicious little bite[s]” of gaufrette chips topped with sweet ice cream and bumps of caviar and trout roe. The king crab is another winner that “perfectly balances sweet and salty, resting in a pool of velvety strawberry gazpacho.” And for dessert, Kate Ahern thinks the “legendary” Sicilian Iris – deep-fried brioche with cannoli filling, chocolate chips, and powdered sugar – offers a “perfect excuse to pig out.” [Modern Luxury]

The Purple Pig

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

Superkhana International

3059 West Diversey Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 661-9028 Visit Website

Pizzeria Portofino

317 North Clark Street, , IL 60654 (312) 900-9018 Visit Website

Xocome Antojeria

5200 South Archer Avenue, , IL 60632 (773) 498-6679 Visit Website

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