We sort of feel brain dead after doing that Gebert/Nagrant round up. Which just might be the perfect state in which to read the Sun-Times’ dining reviews. Zing! Badum-chhhh! Heyo!
• Hold up! Stop the presses! Pat Bruno dislikes a restaurant! The perhaps lone institution in all of Chicagoland to earn his ire is 200 East Supper Club, the 20-month-old faux gentlemen’s club on the Gold Coast. Bruno finds it baffling: an overlong menu that’s short on originality and seriously short on quality. About the only plaudits he can bestow are on the “Melrose Peppers” (our brain keeps trying to see the “Melrose Place” pun in there, even though it is just the name of the variety) and the caesar salad — neither dishes feathers in most chef’s toques. The bad, on the other hand, seems nearly endless: flavorless minestrone, overflavored brick-cooked chicken, factory-processed chocolate cake, and a linguine with clam sauce that Bruno declares “one of the worst I’ve ever had. The pasta was overcooked to the point of gummy. There was enough garlic to make the singer over in the corner start singing “Witchcraft.” The clams (a few cherrystones in the shell and some chopped among the pasta) were insipid. The broth/sauce had no real flavor.” Cringe.
• In his other filing this week, Bruno gives us kind of a head-scratcher. He starts out with this:
I have said it before, and I will say it again – Star of Siam serves some of the best Thai food in Chicago and easily makes my Top 5 Thai restaurants in the city.
So right away we find ourself wondering two things: (1) Does the Sun-Times web editor know that it is easy to make an em-dash in html, and (2) Is this really a review, in the newspaper-restaurant-critic sense of the word? Don’t get us wrong: we love hearing about critics’ favorite places to eat, especially given how frequently they’re eating for work rather than pleasure. But we have a hard time taking as a serious piece of journalism what is essentially a gush for his favorite neighborhood Thai joint, one which he presumably visits regularly without necessarily levying a critical eye towards the service, consistency, or preparations. Still, Bruno paints a tantalizing picture, and we don’t doubt that Star of Siam’s food is as good as he says it is.
[Photo: Star of Siam’s pad thai, at Taste of Chicago, via Zesmerelda’s Flickr]