The Other Critics

Shouse Not Impressed by Chicago Q; Sula Comforted by Classic Henri

Chicago Q's Ribs
Chicago Q’s Ribs Photo: galdonesphotography.com

It’s not the elegant atmosphere that spoils the Gold Coast’s Chicago Q for Heather Shouse, it’s the “inconsistent and disappointing” barbecue. The kobe brisket was “dry to the point of crumbling on one visit and just vaguely tender on another.” The $35 competition ribs were so sturdy she “needed a knife to separate the bones.” Even the decent pulled pork and chicken “still failed to stand out.” [TOC]

Mike Sula calls Henri a “a smart kick in the dangling prairie oysters of gastropubbery.” A collection of classics, including steak au poivre and Dover sole meunière, “are simple and unsullied by pointless reinvention.” The more adventurous offerings still show “restraint and imagination.” Though the service is a little stuffy, it’s still “a pretty fun place to eat.” [Chicago Reader, first item]

Daniel Zemans finds “one of the best tavern cut pizzas in Chicagoland” at Villa Nova in nearby Stickney, IL. The crust has a “crisp lightness that truly adds to the overall pizza.” The sausage is “fresh, juicy, and very well seasoned” and alone is “worth the trip.” “I think I might have a new top choice in the area,” he claims at the end, stating that it might even best Vito and Nick’s. [Serious Eats]

Sula thinks that Chizakaya is “less like a comfortable, friendly bar than a small-plates restaurant with a remarkable sake list,” which is “in some ways hobbled by fine-dining touches.” The $3 yakitori are “exactly the sort of alcohol-abetting snacks that keep salarymen drinking and singing.” But the ramen is “so packed with noodles, in relatively little broth, that it requires Hoover-level strength to slurp up.” It’s also inconsistent: “If the kitchen could consistently execute every dish…nobody would care at all how authentic it was.” [Chicago Reader, second item]

Shouse Not Impressed by Chicago Q; Sula Comforted by Classic Henri