Pat Bruno has a monumentally boring review of Topaz Cafe in Burr Ridge. It’s a Contemporary American with a little flare! Everything’s delicious! And so forth.
But the Sun-Times’ relationship with Centerstage, rarely highlighted, saves the day; Mike Nagrant has a useful feature on where tourists should actually eat as opposed where they were planning to eat. Dozens of mediocre, overpriced meals might be avoided because of this!
Meanwhile, several new reviews from the Reader. First, Anne Spiselman reviews Jack Rabbit, a new southwestern restaurant in Lincoln Square with big portions of inconsistent quality. We’d never heard of it, because that location seems to get a new restaurant every few months; Spiselman’s not sure how long this one will stick around, either. But they have a website and serve brunch, so maybe there’s a chance yet.
Mike Sula revisits Avenues, now that Graham Elliot Bowles is off somewhere and Curtis Duffy (formerly of Alinea) has taken the reigns. Sula points out that Bowles is a tough act to follow, but finds that Duffy is doing an admirable job of keeping Avenues avant-garde and delicious. Note that this opinion runs contrary to Heather Shouse’s line, but maybe things have shaped up in the past two weeks? Both think that the restaurant is probably overpriced.
And then, the claws come out. Sula rips into ZED451, the all-you-can-meat suburbo-rama in River North. We’ve been a bit catty on the restaurant ourselves, and even Pat Bruno didn’t like it (David Tamarkin thought it was okay). But all this pales in comparison to Sula’s visceral loathing of the place, which certainly seems to fall into the substance-over-style trap. Much of the review is quotable, but perhaps this sums it up best:
This is the human counterpart to confined animal feeding operations, the industrial meat (and shit) factories that supply the sort of unexceptional product served here.
[Photo: a feedlot, via Socially Responsible Agriculture Project]