The Other Critics

Sula Digs Mac & Mins Barbecue Shrimp; Ruby is Surprised by Cumin

The oyster po' boy.
The oyster po’ boy. Photo: Nick Kindelsperger

Mike Sula finds Mac & Min’s in the West Loop “a focused if swooning love letter to New Orleans.” Though the oyster po’ boy could have used “a harder fry,” it was still as “faithful a rendition of the classic sandwich as you’re likely to find outside of Louisiana.” The corn crab cakes are a dud, but the barbecue shrimp are “enrobed in a NOLA butter-garlic-Worcestershire sauce I’d be happy to lick off a shoe.” [Chicago Reader, first item]

Though Jeff Ruby worried that Cumin in Wicker Park would serve a “hipper-than-you take on Indian cuisine” he couldn’t have been “more wrong.” Led by the “least dynamic team ever to take Wicker Park by storm,” brothers Sanjeev and Rajesh Karmacharya have created food that is “exotic enough to please the image-conscious crowd and approachable enough to please those uninterested in appearances.” [Chicago Magazine]

Calling it the “Asian-themed version of The Purple Pig,” Mike Gebert of Sky Full of Bacon thinks that Chizakaya is less of a izakaya and more of a “present gastropub” with “its emphasis on oddball meats, salty fatty things that make drinking that much easier.” The beef cheek was “terrific, tender, soul-filling beefiness,” but too much was just okay. “Chizakaya is a better than average addition to the scene, but I’m still waiting for an izakaya in Chicago.” [Sky Full of Bacon]

Though “almost nothing tastes authentically Italian” at Mia Figlia, Anne Spiselman thinks the “cooking is competent, with some interesting twists.” The pizza is “bland,” and the service is a little “unevenly paced.” But “if everything were as good as the warm lentils, complemented by baby spinach, piquant black olives, tangy goat cheese, and a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette, I’d be back regularly.” [Chicago Reader, second item]

Sula Digs Mac & Mins Barbecue Shrimp; Ruby is Surprised by Cumin