Review: Pearl Tavern

Pearl Tavern

With its oyster bar, Loop restaurant Pearl Tavern has a seafood focus. Although possibly one of the better options in the Loop, I think it still relies heavily on its location in Chicago’s financial district and proximity to the theatre district. The food is tasty and nicely plated, but for the price, there are better restaurants in the city.

Tuna Poke - Asian pear, shio koji ginger dressing, taro root chips

Tuna Poke – Asian Pear, Shio Koji Ginger Dressing, Taro Root Chips ($16)

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15 Favorite Dishes of 2015

I love good food almost as much as I love good theatre. Well, perhaps that’s a bit of hyperbole, but delicious food can certainly put a smile on my face. Luckily, Chicago is a terrific city for both food and theatre, which is a significant portion of the reason why I love living here.

In no particular order, these are my favorite 15 dishes of 2015:

Fried Chicken Sandwich – Frontier

Fried Chicken Sandwich - Fried Chicken Thigh, Hook's Maple Jack Cheese, Molasses Mustard, Pickled Banana Peppers, Brioche Bun ($13)

Fried Chicken Sandwich – Fried Chicken Thigh, Hook’s Maple Jack Cheese, Molasses Mustard, Pickled Banana Peppers, Brioche Bun, served with rosemary fries ($13)

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Chicago Restaurant Week 2015: TETE Charcuterie

Tete Charcuterie

This year, my approach with Restaurant Week was to mostly visit restaurants I know and enjoy, along with one restaurant I’ve been wanting to visit for ages (NoMi) and two new restaurants. This Randolph Street restaurant is one of the latter. The service seemed pleasant, albeit a little absent-minded and a bit slow, and the courses were attractively plated, but the food didn’t live up to my expectations.

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Chicago Restaurant Week 2015: Bistronomic


I first went to Bistronomic a few years ago, before going to an American Chamber Opera performance, so I took note when I saw Phil Vettel’s review of their Restaurant Week offerings. Because the James Beard Awards are being hosted in Chicago for the first time this year, Bistronomic has taken their inspiration for their Restaurant Week menu from The Essential James Beard Cookbook. I visited for their three-course lunch, offered for $22.   Continue reading

Review: Sunda


In terms of positive attributes, Sunda is a fairly large, trendy restaurant in a prime location with a wide variety menu items. On the other hand, I’m not impressed by the food I ordered, and the prices certainly reflect its River North location. Whether you want to visit the restaurant will likely depend on whether you’re footing the bill yourself and whether you care about food more than location or decor (if the answer to either is “yes,” I’d skip Sunda).

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Review: Black Sheep Pizza

Black Sheep Pizza

While I was home in the Twin Cities for the holidays, I stopped by Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza and had one of the most enjoyable restaurant meals I’ve had in a while. It reminded me how good simple pizza can be.

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Review: Afternoon Tea at The Allis

The Allis

My first meal of 2015 was an afternoon tea that I prepared for a friend; my first restaurant meal of the new year was afternoon tea at The Allis. I am, if you can’t tell, a big fan of afternoon tea. Prior to January 2nd, however, I had only had afternoon tea in Chicago at The Lobby at The Peninsula, which is an elegant and luxurious experience. At $55 each, however, afternoon tea at The Lobby is an expensive treat. In comparison, the $18 price tag at The Allis is a veritable bargain. Unfortunately, in this case, significantly lower quality accompanies the much lower price.

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea

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Review: Arami



The few pieces of sushi that I ate at Arami were the best sushi I’ve had. While the sushi is certainly more expensive than many places in Chicago, the quality is worth the high price tag. Arami focuses on pristine fish and carefully chosen flavor combinations instead of the overstuffed messes of rolls that some sushi restaurants offer.

Zuke sake nigiri - Norwegian salmon, soy marinated

Zuke sake nigiri – Norwegian salmon, soy marinated

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