The Other Critics

Nagrant Craves Choices at Butcher & The Burger; Sula Piles On BLT

Your choices at Butcher & The Burger
Your choices at Butcher & The Burger Photo: Courtesy Butcher & The Burger

Michael Nagrant is overwhelmed by choice at Butcher & The Burger— just the fact that he has one: “When’s the last time you ordered a Whopper, medium-rare? Despite what Burger King says, there are some things you can’t have your way… With this in mind, when the woman behind the counter at Butcher & The Burger asks me how I’d like my burger cooked, I stare at her for about 10 seconds? When I regain my senses, even though I really want medium-rare, some conditioned reflex has me stammering ‘medium.’” As exotic as some of the choices seem, he has high praise for inventions like the pork burger with curry, coconut and honey spice topped with wasabi mayo: “Though it sounds like a bad 1980s fusion dish — the kind of thing for which Don Johnson would have rolled up his linen sleeves before eating on an episode of “Miami Vice” — I take [owner Josh] Woodward’s advice. The slightly gamey funk of the meat tempered by the sweet and hot notes of the curry and honey, makes this the best burger at B&B; yet.” [Sun-Times]

We imagine BLT American Brasserie sitting in front of a floor-length mirror, rocking itself back and forth and muttering “Vettel liked us! He gave us two stars!” The cause for this psychic meltdown is the one-two punch of, first, David Tamarkin’s blistering review and, now, Mike Sula’s even more withering one. He explains its something for everyone menu that ranges from pizza to sushi to burgers: “BLT is for the ditherers, inflexible eaters whose best expressions of compromise amount to social tyranny. You know, those killjoys everyone must accommodate on group dinners, whose dietary pickiness is such that they’ll only be satisfied at the one place that makes everyone else miserable? Them.” He spies a few decent items, “some of which might be acceptable—at significant price reductions—in isolated corn-belt exurbs with far fewer options for feeding their inhabitants.” But on the whole he says, “There’s a remarkable consistency at work here: almost everything is consistently galling.” [Chicago Reader]

David Tamarkin tries Hota, the rebranded Jacky’s on Prairie in Evanston, and finds that for most of it, “the more common feeling I had here was one of boredom.” But there is one exception that is worth the trek north: Sunday night’s chicken dinner, which “is part of a three-course meal that is shockingly inexpensive ($19) for the amount of food thrown at you. My table, which ordered the meal for two (the minimum allowed), received a giant bowl of salad greens tossed pleasantly with beets; two full-size casserole dishes, one with that chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans, the other with beef enchiladas; and a long platter of bread pudding topped with three scoops of vanilla ice cream… the darkly fried chicken has a thick, well-spiced crust and impossibly juicy flesh. The coating comes off the chicken easily and gets on your clothes, but that’s about the only bad thing you can say about it.” [TOC]

Nagrant Craves Choices at Butcher & The Burger; Sula Piles On BLT