The Other Critics

‘Pricey’ Roka Akor Still Works for Sula; Vettel Revists Next

Inside Roka Akor
Inside Roka Akor Photo: courtesy of Roka Akor

Mike Sula has been a tough critic of the recent izakaya openings, but he thinks the “loud and swankily designed” Roka Akor is “not an ordinary meat-on-a-stick joint.” First off, it’s “pricey,” and “mined with opportunities to make it pricier.” Luckily, the sushi program “commits so few of the foolish crimes against raw fish prevalent these days.” In fact, the “beautifully composed” sashimi is “as close to a minimal, traditional approach to fish as you’re going to find among the recent crop of neo-Japanese fun houses.” [Chicago Reader]

Phil Vettel gives Next’s Tour of Thailand three stars out of four. He admits that the current menu “takes more risks than its predecessor,” but he wonders “how sustainable ‘Tour of Thailand’ would be over time,” especially due to the “how-much-is-ethnic-food-worth debate.” But he was impressed nonetheless. He wants “all my tom yum this way from now on,” and calls the panang curry a “revelation.” [Trib]

Daniel Zeman’s believes bopNgrill in Evanston has “established itself among the top tier of burgerias in the Chicago area.” Each burger starts with a “quarter-pound ball of freshly ground beef that is pressed down onto the hot griddle,” which is then “doused in a short rib demi-glace.” Of the speciality burgers he tried, the Kimchi Burger was the best. He especially loved the gochujang aioli, which “comes across as a peppery version of a really good Thousand Island dressing.” Even the frozen fries can’t sink the kimchi fries, which are a “pungent, salty, fatty, meaty pile of awesome.” [Serious Eats]

‘Pricey’ Roka Akor Still Works for Sula; Vettel Revists Next