Aside from being a little late, this week's Flyover Friday is all about timing, and money. Some of this is evident by those publications not represented here. The Chicago Tribune has Phil Vettel's reviews behind a paywall (money); the Cincinnati Enquirer got missed in the last post, and last week's review fell on a Friday, which means it'll be in next week's post (time). (The fact that the Indianpolis Star and NUVO, Indianapolis' alt-weekly, both basically reviewed Taste of Havana's Cuban sandwich doesn't fit thematically with their absence; it just didn't seem necessary to include 'em.) Add to that couple little guys going big-time, one thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, and the stabilizing influence of chain-restaurant money -- this is your slightly delayed Flyover Friday.
"Carson's a prime spot for steaks, chops," by Carol Deptolla for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
A chain review, of a sort, from the Journal-Sentinel. I'm always glad to see another voice taking down the "fall off the bone" terminology regarding ribs. After my most recent barbecue review, I can attest to the disappointment that comes from ribs not being given enough time to smoke.
"Firebirds wants to take your love from the other chains," by Charles Ferruzza for the Kansas City Pitch
Come for the gently sassy review of another chain restaurant, stay for the wonderful dessert paragraph. Excellent work from the Kansas City alt-weekly.
"Sonora Grill flourishes in Longfellow," by Emily Weiss for City Pages
Weiss bemoans the custardy interior of the churros at Sonora Grill, but it seems to me that's when churros are at their best. Sounds like this market stall-turned-restaurant is transitioning just fine, though.
"The Radler offers an upscale twist on German comfort food in Logan Square," by Mike Sula for the Chicago Reader
This week's Reader review highlights more cooking with beer, which is always a good thing. I found myself wondering with growing anticipation when Sula was going to discuss the restaurant's namesake beverage; spoiler alert, he gets there near the end.
"Distinctive Grille Midtown helps revive a historic site," by Molly Abraham for the Detroit News
Sorry, but the paragraph with the salads is some really terrible writing. And actually, Abraham offers little to no opinion on the taste or overall quality of the dishes. I know, that's turning into a Marilyn Hagertyism, mentioning everything but the food when the food is bad, but this is just not a great review.
"Cozy Cafe still has work to do," by Carlos Acevedo for the Des Moines Register
NOOOOOO DO NOT CALL JUS "AU JUS." Just don't. My opinion of this linguistic error is as low as Acevedo's opinion of Des Moines' Cozy Cafe local chain operation. Feels like his star rating is overly generous, considering the closing line in particular.
"Blue Jacket's ever-changing menu," by Susan Harpt Grimes for the Shepherd Express
I don't think you can transition so abruptly from a discussion of a restaurant's excellent monkfish and red snapper to a its deep commitment to local sourcing, but that's what's done here. Also, pretty sure there's no such thing as an "artesian plank."
"Katie's Pizza & Pasta: From Kickstarter to reality," by Cheryl Baehr for the St. Louis Riverfront Times
This review highlights a Kickstarter-funded restaurant that, like the aforementioned Sonora Grill, is turning a small success into a bigger one, more or less. The absence of sufficient bread -- to say nothing of no bread at all -- is an unpardonable sin when burrata is involved.
"At TownHall Urban Cafe in Ohio City, the vibe is lively and some of the 'swill' is swell," by Joe Crea for the Cleveland Plain Dealer
A fine review takes an unpleasant turn in the closing grafs. As to the substance, I'm not sure about a couple of this week's featured restaurants doing some kind of ground or patted "Kobe" beef dish. C'mon guys. You can't do wagyu like that. You should know better.
"Jerry's Galaxy Cafe: Wide range of dishes a plus," by Jon Christensen for the Columbus Dispatch
A dazzlingly pedestrian review, a characterless rote accounting of dishes, peppered with what seems like a mistrust of the menu. "Real-tasting mashed potatoes," chicken "said to have been marinated in an achiote sauce." Weird.
"Lake & Irving: At the intersection of young and hungry," by Rick Nelson for the Minneapolis StarTribune
Nelson's finally back on the review beat, though this feels like he's easing into 2014. His praises of Lake & Irving come off a little breathless rather than thought-out; the place sounds slapdash and not too far from Madison's own Bassett Street Brunch Club -- hardly a show-stopper. Imma give Rick some time to get back into his groove.