The Other Critics

Meyer Falls for Maude’s; Sula Explores Italian-American Stereotypes at Salatino’s

Upstairs at Maude's Liquor Bar.
Upstairs at Maude’s Liquor Bar. Photo: Huge Galdones/Galdones Photography

Kristina Meyer found Maude’s Liquor Bar to be “fresh and smart.” There is “no filler on this menu — no throwaway dishes meant to satisfy a restricted diet, no pandering to the squeamish.” That includes the traditional cassoulet, which contains “creamy yet toothsome beans and bits of savory meat spooned into a shallow casserole, topped with fresh bread crumbs, and broiled until the top is golden and craggy.” Even the salads are “fresh and seasonal but gilded with cheese and pork.” [Chicago Reader]

Though Jimmy Bannos and Scott Harris are “capable of creating truly groundbreaking restaurants,” Mike Sula admits that Salatino’s, “just ain’t it.” The “obscenely huge portions of red-gravy-drenched pastas and meats…underscore Italian-American stereotypes just as pervasively as anything perpetrated by The Sopranos or The Godfather.” The “big bowl of plump mussels in a thin marinara sauce,” are good, and the pork chops are, “indeed fantastic, though it should take the average eater at least two sittings to finish them.” [Chicago Reader]

Heather Shouse knows that Pete Crowley is “a great brewer,” but admits that “a great brewer isn’t the same as a great bar owner.” For her, Haymarket Pub & Brewery looks “generic, with no decor details to pull off an identity, and the Any-Bar-&-Grill-USA feel isn’t helped by the staff.” The beers are “solid,” but “the same can’t be said about the food.” [TOC]

Meyer Falls for Maude’s; Sula Explores Italian-American Stereotypes at