Friday, November 9, 2007

What the critics are saying . . .

. . . about:

The Bluebird (1749 N. Damen Ave., 773-486-2473): "Want some bacon with your porchetta? On the menu at the Bluebird, a late-night lounge/wine bar/gastropub from the owners of Webster’s Wine Bar, it’s hard to find anything not spiked with smoked pig."--Martha Bayne, Chicago Reader

Brasserie Ruhlmann (500 W. Superior St., 312-494-1900): "The steak au poivre was impossibly tender, and the flavors—the bite of the pepper crust, the richness of the sauce—expertly balanced. And while there is no lamb chop on the menu per se, there’s a luscious lamb stew, the morsels of lamb almost as soft as the cheese soufflĂ© we had greedily ordered to eat alongside it."--David Tamarkin, Time Out Chicago

Brunch: "Ruby here. The other day, a friend asked what my favorite weekend brunch spot was, and I realized: I hate brunch. The whole tradition that we follow like robots: rising early on Sunday, packing into a crowded entryway, vestibule, or sidewalk, to wait for a table where an overextended server will bring me an omelet I could’ve made myself? This isn’t dining. It’s compulsory eating, and I want my time and calories back. What is the allure here? Is it the ritual? The camaraderie? The hangover? Nothing against restaurants that provide brunch—nor those that do their best to add a little flair to it, like Orange, M. Henry, and Toast—but I’ll sleep in. And I’ll make my own French toast, thanks." --Jeff Ruby, Chicago Magazine

Old Town Brasserie (1209 N. Wells St., 312-943-3000): "Finesse? I'll say. (Roland) Liccioni knows how to fashion sauces the way Armani does clothes. Sauce merguez. Sauce Perigueux, sauce champignon ... this attention to the food-sauce connection takes years to hone, and Liccioni has never been sharper. If you never got to try his food at Les Nomades or Le Francais, this is your chance, and at easy-to-digest prices." -- Pat Bruno, Chicago Sun-Times

Paramount Room (415 N. Milwaukee Ave., 312-829-6300): "Congratulate yourself for being a member of the cognoscenti for finding this hidden boite on Milwaukee Avenue in the shadow of the Blommer Chocolate Co. factory. Chef/co-owner Stephen Dunne (Roscoe Village's Volo) and partner Jon Young (Kitsch'n) have successfully created a solid destination for upscale bar snacking, late-night dining and any-hour grazing that's not too far from the Loop." --Alison Neumer Lara, Crain's Chicago Business

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