In Other Critics: Overcoming Adversity at Market; New Chefs in New Kitchens

• Even though his drink took forever to arrive, and the hour-long wait for his burger was the result of the kitchen “losing” his ticket, Pat Bruno finds a lot to love about Market. Sure, the presentations are at times cloyingly cutesy — fish is served in a mini-rowboat, chicken comes with a plastic chicken next to it on the plate — but Bruno raves about everything, from buffalo wings down through a skillet-sized chocolate chip cookie. Even the burger, late as it was. [Sun-Times]

• Bruno also hits up District Bar, where the asymmetrical appetizer/entree offerings (about 5 to 1, by Bruno’s measure) speaks to the bar-slash-restaurant’s focus on the first half of its identity. Still, Bruno braves an order of shrimp de Jonghe (seriously, who orders that in a bar?) and comes away impressed. Ditto for “pork wings” and a pizza of the day, but the “Chicago cheesteak” (think an Italian beef with provolone) doesn’t fare so well, overwhelmed by its bread. [Sun-Times]

• Anne Spiselman swings by Sepia to see how the kitchen’s faring at the helm of new chef Andrew Zimmerman, and comes away duly impressed. The new menu puts a Southern spin on dishes like pork porterhouse, pan-fried rainbow trout, and a rabbit-and-biscuits dish that riffs on the chicken classic. Cornmeal and cherries pop up in desserts, carrying through the down-home theme with aplomb. What’s lacking? The wines by the glass aren’t plentiful, and the room is crazy loud. [Reader, first item]

• It’s a less than perfect experience for Mike Sula at the revamped Goose Island Clybourn, with a good chunk of the menu unavailable thanks to supply problems. What did come out varied from cold to oversalted to over-breaded to over-baconed. Still, the menu shows good direction — if the kitchen’s not quite living up to its potential. Sula hopes chef John Manion will get the message, and his execution will get better with time. [Reader, second item]

• In an oddly purple review of Evanston’s Quince, Kate Schmidt juxtaposes the “dingier than ever” gray carpet with chef Pete Balodimas’s confidently unexpected flavor pairings and platings. It all works: Guinea hen wrapped in La Quercia speck, a cheese-pistachio-asparagus baguette type thing, fried soft-shell crab with multicolored beets and a horseradish foam. Schmidt left too full to even try the desserts, but says they sounded good. [Reader, third item]

[Pictured: the bar at Goose Island Clybourn]


In Other Critics: Overcoming Adversity at Market; New Chefs in New Kitchens