What is up, Chicago Tribune? How is the dining section today? Are you having a nice afternoon? Tell us about it, stud.
• Phil Vettel contorts his roundup of the restaurants at the Oak Brook Promenade to fit in with the Trib’s “walking issue” by suggesting an “appetizer tour” of the four sit-down dinner restaurants that occupy the area in the western suburbs. Go Roma is an order-at-the-counter pizza place with a decent smoked chicken salad. Fun fact: Vettel’s wife works near a Go Roma. There are eight Chicagoland locations, so commence stalking! Moving along to McCormick & Schmick, a seafood-oriented mega-chain that has an enticing happy-hour appetizer special. Next door is Kona Cafe, ostensibly Hawaiian themed, and also a chain — 20 national locations. The only non-chain place of the bunch is The Grotto, late of State Street, which we imagine is entirely summed up in Vettel’s description of the decor as “stone-look walls and textured carpeting.” Color us totally uninspired.
• Steve Dolinsky is probably rolling over in his grave right now (the guy is dead, right?), since Monica Eng is visiting Urban Belly just a scant two weeks after its opening. In her defense, it’s filed under Cheap Eats, but we’re still a little surprised to see major-paper coverage of the place so soon after it opens its doors. Despite some weak points (blah blue crab broth, overpriced kimchi), the review is overwhelmingly positive: thrilling dumplings, terrific service, and ramen that “rocks.” We’d expect nothing less from this do-no-wrong restaurant.
• Speaking of sandwiches on long bread, where should you go to get a Philly cheesesteak? Louis R. Carlozo has the answers. And the answers are, for the record, Philly’s Best on Belmont (if they didn’t make the list, they would have had to commit ritual suicide, given their name), D’Agostino’s Pizzeria on Addison, and — the dark horse — Relish, in the food court at 520 N. Michigan. Sidenote: we have decided that we really like this Louis R. Carlozo guy, because he says “yo” in his column, and we love that.
[Photo: Cheesesteak from Philly’s Best, oh my god we are ready to lick our monitor, via kim_scarborough’s Flickr]