Friday, January 4, 2008

What the critics are saying . . .

Relax partner David Lehtman (left) and two of his rock-star bartenders.
(Photo: Relax)

. . . about:

The Boundary (1932 W. Division St., 773-278-1919). "The common denominator drawing the crowds—generally, a 20- through 40-something mix of good-looking folks from greater West Town—is the beer list, heavy on craft brews such as Breckenridge Avalanche Ale ($4 a bottle) and Dogfish Head Midas Touch Golden Elixir ($6 a bottle). There's also a full bar menu of standard American fare. On our visit, music seemed to function mostly as background noise, but service was swift, and our waitress, Jackie, was never far."—Sarah Preston (Chicago Magazine)

Demera (4801 N. Broadway, 773-334-8787). "The doro alicha wat (lemon-marinated, slightly sweet chicken legs) had been stewed long enough that it needed only the lightest pinch with injera to come off the bone; the kitfo (Ethiopian steak tartare) was cool and pure in flavor, and offset by the spicy chile powder sprinkled over it. The lega tibs (lamb stir-fried with garlic, peppers, etc) weren’t bad either—but their flavor didn’t seem to warrant the jaw-numbing gnawing required to get the meat off the bone."—David Tamarkin (Time Out Chicago)

Kiki's Bistro (900 N. Franklin St., 312-335-5454). "Rich but not overwhelming, sautéed duck breast with leg confit ($23) is as good as this dish gets. The breast meat is cooked to order, and the leg meat falls off the bone. Both are well-suited to the green peppercorn sauce and sides of sweet-sour red cabbage and buttery wild rice."—Laura Bianchi (Crain's Chicago Business)

Relax Lounge (1450 W. Chicago Ave., 312-666-6006). "The kitchen, such as it is, serves baskets of burgers and fries, and burgers and fries only. But they’re pretty good: a third-pound beef patty or veggie burger on a toasty bun, your choice of cheese, and a side of hot, crisp, salty hand-cut sticks of starch. And compared to the other 'rock ’n’ roll' bar on the block, the blisteringly loud Five Star, this place is an oasis of class."—Martha Bayne (Chicago Reader)

South Coast (1700 S. Michigan Ave., 312-662-1700). "Vintage embellishments on the building's facade contrast with a contemporary interior. The foyer boasts marble accents and printed wallpaper, the rest of the dining room following suit with grained zebra wood, graphic wall treatments and carved wood vases. The sushi bar cranks out fresh, innovative maki with unexpected ingredients like mint and geoduck, but other items, like citrus-spiked corn and tuna salad, are popular, too."—Fred Schlatter (Chicago CitySearch)

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