Review Revue: Reader @ Baccala, Boka, HB Home Bistro

The Reader does a triple dip today, offering up shortish reviews for these three restaurants whose names are dominated by the letter ‘B’.

First up is Baccala, whose opening we documented at the end of March (the blog looked a bit different back then; check it out!) They’ve been…recalcitrant…about sending us their menu, but we will have it soon enough. Patience is one of our chief virtues. Anyway, the review: Mike Sula swoons over Piedmontese menu, which is populated by rich and “deeply satisfying” dishes from the sophisticated rural region of Italy. Expect a lot of pork (fatty cuts of shank, butt and belly), but also the namesake baccala (dried cod), pastas, and braised lamb tongue (sweet!). Sula’s only complaint is the traditional Piedmont breadsticks are inadequate to the task of soaking up all the delicious sauces.

Next, Sula’s off to Boka, which picked up a new chef last month from Charlie Trotter’s. Giuseppe Tentori’s menu contains a host of unusual combinations (grilled Hamachi with broccoflower, kalamata olive, pickled garlic and shrimp dumpling) and preparations (ash baked eggplant white polenta, leek, laura chenel goat cheese), which speaks to his time with one of the most innovative and influential chefs in the country. Or a particular madness, either way. But the important part is, does the food taste good? Most of the time, Sula thinks. The virtuosic pairings sometimes overwhelm the kitchen, but the good more than made up for the bad.

Finally, Anne Spiselman checks out the changes at HB Home Bistro, where the “HB” no longer stands for Hearty Boys. Yup, they sold the joint to their chef, Joncarl Lachman, who has added his own twist on the hearty fare patrons have been lapping up for years. What’s not to like about roasted duck breast on champagne-braised cabbage with smoked sausage, duck leg confit and caraway crème fraiche ($19)? The regulars have adapted well to the shift, and are still loving the BYO policy. For further reading, check out our coverage of HB from earlier this month.

Slow Food Piedmont Style, a Radical Revamp at Boka, and a Home Bistro That’s Still Hearty [Reader]

Baccala, with pictures [G Wiv/LTHForum]

Boka [MenuPages]
Boka [Official Site]

HB Home Bistro [MenuPages]
HB Home Bistro [Official Site]

[Photo: Yo Chicago, Boka]


Review Revue: Reader @ Baccala, Boka, HB Home Bistro