Last week, ludicrously proficient writer-about-town Mike Nagrant gave us a first look at The Bristol, and — in the midst of top-notch service and disappointing cocktails — he noted somewhat quizzically that the quail-egg raviolo on the menu bore an eerie similarity to the dish that Schwa is known for.
Well he’s back with his full review, and it’s not very pretty: Nagrant essentially accuses the team behind The Bristol of delivering the bastard child of the aforementioned Schwa and organ-meat frontliner Mado — a commingling of genes that could turn out gorgeous, but to Nagrant just feels overwhelmingly derivative.
Of course, if you can make it through eight paragraphs of (largely unfavorable) compare/contrast with other Chicago restuarants, you’re rewarded with the revelation of two saving graces: Impeccable service, and an off-menu concoction of liver, heart, and kidney that ranked as one of Nagrant’s best dishes of the year.
But if we were one of the Bristol team, our vision would have clouded over (tears? red haze? both?) by, say, paragraph five — you know, the one that contains the sentence “The pork belly at the Bristol features a chewy rind and dry meat girded by a greasy country-fried pork loin and a limp spaghetti squash cake.” Here’s hoping they fought through to the light at the end of the review-tunnel.