Friday, May 23, 2008

What the critics are saying . . .

. . . about:

Cinners: "When it comes to the three-, four- and five-ways, where chili is the star of the show, everything falls flat. Owner Tony Plum claims he’s using the same recipe that launched Cincinnati’s legendary Empress Chili, but this stuff is way too dry to be deemed the real deal. Whereas true Cincy chili is more of a spicy meat sauce, this chili sits on top of the traditional spaghetti noodles like crumbled hamburger. And it wasn’t just the consistency that disappointed; the chili doesn’t have Cincinnati’s complex spiciness."—David Tamarkin (Time Out Chicago) Read it all here.

Mercat a la Planxa: "Ordering the kitchen’s much-talked-about whole roasted suckling pig (cochinillo asado) is a bit like adopting a child, requiring a group of four, two days’ advance notice, a faxed form, and a $75 deposit. Chef de cuisine Michael Fiorello escorts the little guy to your table and carves him up there, separating the delectable crispy skin and the fatty cheek tissue from the rest of meat, and, at our request, going so far as to remove the tiny, creamy gray matter from the skull, grill it, and plate it with a rich sherry reduction. Given enough notice they’ll brine the pig for up to three days, though ours was plenty juicy and flavorful. It includes sides of cal├žots, roasted fingerling potatoes, and two particularly fantastic dishes—sauteed spinach with raisins, pine nuts, and julienned apples, and a cassouletlike crock of white beans with bacon. Even with a recent price hike (to $45 per head), this might be the best value in the restaurant, and it’s well worth the effort. "—Mike Sula (Chicago Reader) Read it all here.

Twin Anchors: "Baby back ribs are the main attraction, served with extra sauce—zesty or mild. Choose baked potato, ridge-cut fries or onion rings on the side. Other entrees include broiled tiger shrimp, burgers, pulled pork and a half-chicken that's fried then quickly broiled and basted with barbecue sauce."—( Read it all here.