The Other Critics

Nagrant Finds Sushi Heaven at Arami; Kramer and Pang Both Take on Chizakaya

Inside Arami...
Inside Arami… Photo: courtesy of Facebook

Michael Nagrant usually dosn’t dish out star reviews for Newcity, but Arami is so good he makes an exception: “Arami, and its master sushi chef undoubtedly score four stars, chopsticks, soy sauce packets or whatever you prefer.” Chef Byung Kyu Park serves up some of his favorite sushi in the city, and all the courses are “as balanced and smart as a tasting menu from Thomas Keller.” Even the ramen, which features, “pliant noodles, a baseball-sized poached egg, house pickles, crispy organic pork belly with a tinge of back-end skunky-weed-like funk…and a beefy tea-like broth, is some of the best in Chicago.” [Newcity Resto]

Julia Kramer’s first visit to Chizakaya made her feel like she’d “eaten the salt and fat content of a supersized Extra Value Meal.” The Japanese bar had “pushed over the pleasure precipice too soon, too aggressively and too ignorantly of balance.” But a second visit was more successful. Skip the “troubled” desserts, and go for the housemade tofu, which has a “texture closer to a feather-light ricotta, refreshingly cool and light.” [TOC]

Kevin Pang finds Chizakaya “serving dishes that toe the authentic line with occasional bursts of creative sass.” The crispy pig ears look like “they have been jolted in an electrical socket, each a freakout of puffed pig that disintegrates in a burst of porcine dust in the mouth.” Some dishes need more salt, but the restaurant is mostly “what’s needed in our city’s anemic casual Japanese landscape.” [Trib]

Coco Pazzo may have been open since 1992, but Daniel Zemans thinks the pizzas from their wood burning oven need some recognition. “Everything” about the spicy Diavola pizza was “excellent, if simple. Great tomatoes, good cheese, and excellent sausage all on a perfectly cooked crust made for a great pizza that was made even better by the strong but not overpowering heat from the chili oil.” [Serious Eats]

Nagrant Finds Sushi Heaven at Arami; Kramer and Pang Both Take on Chizakaya