The Other Critics

Ruby Finds Comfort in New L2O; Sula Loves ‘Semitraditional’ La Taberna

L2O gets a new fan.
L2O gets a new fan. Photo: courtesy of Facebook

• Jeff Ruby thinks the new L2O “may not be perfect, but it’s finally human.” He was always more “exhausted than exhilarated,” with former chef Laurent Gras. Now with new chef Francis Brennan, there is “finally found the needed counterbalance of approachability.” His favorite dishes are “the uncomplicated ones,” like the “hand-cut tagliolini with a mild uni emulsion and dollops of osetra caviar.” While he worried that things might have gotten too “minimalist,” he agrees with chef Brennan’s statement that “people are having fun dining here.” [Chicago Mag]

• Mike Sula believes that besides Avec and Mercat a la Planxa, La Taberna “is the most solid, semitraditional tapas joint in town.” At first the design and menu looked like “insufferable cliches,” but the food delivers, especially when “the chefs aren’t jerking around with western hemispheric flourishes.” In fact, his favorite dishes were “the simple, straightforwardly classic Spanish plates,” like the house paella, which is “an ideal amalgamation of pork, chicken, chorizo, mussels, calamari, and shrimp.” [Chicago Reader]

• Though Phil Vettel wonders whether it is possible to “find a less-appealing location,” he finds much of the food at Uptown’s Ceres’ Table to be worth the hike. The aracini are “a revelation,” and pasta dishes are “good choices,” since head chef, Giuseppe Scurato, “makes them by hand.” Unfortunately, the gnocchi was “tasteless and gummy,” both times he tried it. But that was made it by the desserts, which are “a real bargain.” [Trib]

Time Out visits Rick Bayless’s Tortas Frontera at O’Hare, and finds it to be a worthy addition to his Mexican empire. “Bayless has outdone himself, proving that even in a high-volume restaurant in a frenetic airport, you don’t have to sacrifice the quality of food or the ethics behind its production.” [TOC]

Ruby Finds Comfort in New L2O; Sula Loves ‘Semitraditional’ La Taberna