The gauntlet, dudes, is thrown down. When we heralded the opening of Yats (955 W Randolph St, 312 829 7930), we had no idea it would come to this. Mike Nagrant at NewCity has visited, and we are basically speechless in the face of this review:
I was so appalled by the experience and the food at YATS Cajun-Creole Cuisine, a new Chicago location of a popular quick-service Indianapolis-based restaurant, I’m having a hard time avoiding a hyperbolic damning diatribe. Eating there last week was the worst dining experience—and that includes trips to the now-shuttered Bennigans—of my career as a food writer.
Mike goes on, using words like “pukey” to describe the atmosphere, and describing the staff as the kind of people “who in a pre-Netflix world would more likely be manning the local Blockbuster video counter.” (At this juncture we would like to note that we know some very intelligent current and former video store employees, but we think he is talking about a slightly different breed of professional audiovisual salesperson.)
Nagrant goes into excruciating detail about the food, but we’re going to hold off on the temptation to just blockquote the entire review wholesale, and encourage you to go read it yourself. All in all, this is the most gleeful evisceration we’ve read since Anthony Lane reviewed The Phantom of the Opera. We feel a little bad for Yats — as commenter Marc Fishman pointed out, the storefront in Indianapolis is known to be pretty good, and there’s a chance that the Chicago outlet is still just finding its footing. But for a review this bad? The footing must be pretty off the mark of found — not something we’re inclined to generously forgive, considering Yats has four other storefronts in their mini-empire, and should know what they’re doing by now.
Nagrant does note that the joint is BYO, so if you do visit, and it is this unpleasant, at least you can drown your sorrows in a brown paper bag. Small blessings, we suppose.