The Other Critics

Vettel Hearts Hearty; Kramer Admires Ruxbin

Frozen Chocolate Shake
Frozen Chocolate Shake Photo: courtesy of Hearty

Phil Vettel hands the Hearty Boys three stars with their restaurant Hearty in Lakeview.
While he admits that, “some restaurants sell food,” this new restaurant from the former Food Network hosts, “sells memories.” He loves the creativity of the “postmodern tuna-noodle casserole,” along with the frozen chocolate shake and the “rabbit dog,” which is a “corn dog made with rabbit sausage.” [Trib]

“Part church pew, part leather jacket” is Julia Kramer’s description for part of the decor, thankfully, not an entree at Ruxbin in Noble Square. The design takes pride of place in her review, including “the city’s most surreal bathroom,” but she also finds Chef Edward Kim’s fusion-tinged bistro food “easy to like,” saying she’ll go back for more of tofu “marinated in miso, fried in a panko breading, served with quinoa dyed scarlet with red beets.” [TOC]

Though the “prices don’t hurt,” Heather Shouse can’t find much else to recommend about the city’s latest barbecue joint, Smokey Bears BBQ House. The brisket was “underseasoned,” the ribs were “pasty” and “rubbery.” Better was the pulled pork, which had a “discernible smokiness and the faint tang of a cidery brine.” [TOC]

Pat Bruno finally gets to The Southern, which he seems to not quite enjoy completely. He likes the fried chicken, but finds the experience of ordering ahead of time a bit “complicated.” The hush puppies “were quite good,” but the restaurant served them with smoked trout, instead of Bruno’s preferred pairing of fried catfish. That had him, “arching an eyebrow or two.” Bruno also apparently gets his first taste of poutine, which he doubts, “will ever catch on around Chicago.” Apparently he didn’t read the Tribune story about the dish taking over the city two years ago. Oh well. [Sun Times]

Vettel Hearts Hearty; Kramer Admires Ruxbin