The Other Critics

‘Inconsistencies’ Trip Up Perennial Virant for Tamarkin; Ruby Intoxicated by Aviary

Perennial Virant
Perennial Virant Photo: Blake Royer

• David Tamarkin thinks that the Boka Restaurant Group has finally hit a snag with Perennial Virant, giving the Lincoln Park spot just three stars out of five. He is particularly hard on the service, calling it “awkwardly familiar and hoverish,” with some waiters making “odd, unfunny jokes.” Though the food is “mostly elegant and restrained,” the restaurant’s insistence on keeping the menu updated with seasonal dishes leads to some “inconsistencies,” and some dishes “arrive D.O.A.” Luckily, chef Paul Virant still has a “keen sense of flavor and restraint,” especially with the “ethereal” gnocchi. [TOC]

Aviary is “Chicago’s most exciting place to drink,” according to Jeff Ruby, who believes that its “intoxicating originality is bound to leave anyone a little giddy.” Though it can get expensive, the two hours he spent there “were more compelling than some vacations I’ve taken.” That is helped by the “serpentine layout,” which ensures that each group feels like its “attending a private party.” He concludes by writing, “Never has the act of making a cocktail come so close to art.” [Chicago Mag]

• Though Jay Cheshes admits that the “hot restaurant of the moment is Next,” those waiting for a seat “might consider heading just two doors down to iNG.” Comparing the experience to getting a “haircut at the beauty academy,” he finds the prices extremely low for the “rampant” experimentation. He also believes this is the “first restaurant in the country to mix Asian comfort food with the techniques of molecular gastronomy.” And though “some of these concepts come off as silly,” he still thinks that “it’s all in good fun.” [NYT]

‘Inconsistencies’ Trip Up Perennial Virant for Tamarkin; Ruby Intoxicated by