Friday, December 21, 2007

What the critics are saying . . .

. . . about:

Bluprint (222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, 312-410-9800): “The rock crab starter ($8) is a beauty: a loose disc of lightly dressed crab crowned with avocado and accented with a pool of red pepper coulis. A nice kick comes from the Kalamata olive purée dotting the plate. Crispy, hot short-rib potstickers ($7), packed with tender, slow-cooked meat, were killer on one occasion, but lacked depth of flavor on another. Order them anyway (ignore the bland Asian slaw) and hope for a good day.”—Alison Neumer Lara (Crain’s Chicago Business)

Cafe Mediterra (728 S. Dearborn St., 312-427-2610): "The combo kebab platter—beef, chicken and kefta, or ground lamb—was enough for two people, if not three, when you factor in a generous serving of rice of the day. The cubed meats were nicely charred around the edges, and the vegetables had a roasty, smoky flavor. We also loved the sausage and tomato flatbread, a pizza-style item that would work for an appetizer for two people or a light supper for one. Its Roma tomatoes, ground lamb and Mediterranean spices won't leave you mistaking it for Italian, that's for sure."—Robin Mather Jenkins (Chicago Tribune)

Macarena (618 S. State Rte. 59, Naperville, 630-420-8995): “The duo (of John Borras and Jose Marcial) successfully executes mango 'caviar'—a classic (Ferran) Adrià prep—with juice congealed to yield balls of fruit essence served in small circular tins. Adrià-esque skinless 'ravioli' pop open in the mouth with intense flavors of peach, chocolate or squid ink. Similarly, the crispy shells of 'liquid empanadas' encase warm vegetable broth; a splash of piquillo pepper sauce finishes the dish.”—David Hammond (Time Out Chicago)

Mythos (2030 W Montrose St., 773-334-2000): “Loukaniko ($9) pork sausage arrived hot, juicy and char-grilled crisp, fragrant with anise and orange rind. Potato and zucchini keftedes ($9) reminded us of savory vegetable doughnuts served with a mild skordalia. Creamy tzatziki ($6) was rich and full of garlic and cucumber flavor, tender chicken souvlaki was served with OK rice and, despite their faded color, sweet peas. The big broad beans called gigandes ($6), however were served in a humdrum tomato sauce and arrived just warm.”—Monica Eng (Chicago Tribune)

Pepitone’s (5437 N. Broadway, 773-293-3730): “Smothered chicken breast really hit the spot: topped with plenty of mushrooms in a goat-cheese sauce and served with garlic mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus that helped counteract its richness. . . . Portions are generous, and weeknight food and drink specials offer some real bargains—don’t skip the portobello mushroom caps with melted goat cheese, which you’ll vacuum up in no time.”—Rob Christopher (Chicago Reader)

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