Flyover Friday - Atypical

You may notice, as you read through this week's column, that there's no Isthmus review. That happens from time to time, but this issue has something different: a roundup of cheap, campus-area mini-reviews from all the usual Isthmus food writers. I cover the banh mi dog at O.S.S., and I recommend you check it out -- after this week's Flyover Friday, of course.

Emily Patti's review of Tres Hermanos Restaurant for Milwaukee's Shepherd Express

So what if the restaurant pre-dates Breaking Bad? Try to not think fried chicken when you read the name. Patti doesn't put a lot of criticism in this review, which turns out to be mostly an accounting of the menu.

Lindsay Christians' review of Sujeo for Madison's Capital Times

Here's the full product, the review built on the live-tweet deal that I participated in last week. Of course I find Christians' mention of Mission Chinese to be apt. Not explicitly noted: how terrible Lindsay and I are at proper rock-paper-scissors, and how we gave up after matching each other three straight throws.

Jolene Ketzenberger's review of HopCat for Indianapolis' NUVO

Coincidentally, the next review up this week starts out with a 140-character summation of the total effort. It's a beer-centric review from a non-beer-centric reviewer, which is a valuable perspective for many, but a touch unexamined for the next-level-up beer drinker.

Rick Nelson's review of Libertine for the Minneapolis StarTribune

This is a family tree story that I know enough about to be dangerous, but there's deep roots to the whole thing that my Mpls-expert buddy will have to tutor me on. Suffice it to say that I'm slightly surprised Nelson didn't mention Parasole Restaurant Holdings' controversial positioning on employee compensation issues at all. Maybe it's old news in the Cities.

Emily Weiss' review of the Third Bird for Minneapolis' Citypages

This is just a weird review. There's too much focus on what Third Bird used to be, an awful lot of business prospect discussion, and that nut comment is tonally bizarre.

C. Acevedo's review of Chips Restaurant for the Des Moines Register

Easily the most negative review from Acevedo that I can recall reading. Of course, he only went once, so it's hard to put a lot of stock into the overall impression of the Chips operation.

Garin Pirnia's review of Fireside Pizza for the Cincinnati CityBeat

Where's the review in this review? Pizza doesn't get discussed until a couple of paragraphs before the end. We need a leeeetle more than that in a review of a pizza joint.

Aaron Egan's review of River's Edge Brewing Co. for the Detroit Metro Times

It's not easy to write a full review of a taproom menu, especially when the menu is as compact as the one at River's Edge appears to be. Egan does a respectable job; a little more detail on the beer, if not the food, would've been appreciated.

Cheryl Baehr's review of Vinnie's Italian Beef and Gyros for St. Louis' Riverfront Times

Impressive: opening a Chicago-centric restaurant in another NL Central town. More impressive: insisting on provolone in the city of Provel. Least impressive: Baehr's use of "au jus" as a noun. I mean, she even uses "jus" correctly at an earlier point!

Beth Segal's review of Grove Hill for the Cleveland Plain Dealer

The construction of this review had me waiting for some interesting tie-in at the end. As it is, I have to admit I don't see the point.

Polly Campbell's review of Blinker's Tavern for the Cincinnati Enquirer

An odd little throwaway line at the end about solving problems makes me wonder what the subtext is that Campbell's hinting at. Joint sounds cozy though.

Samara Kalk Derby's review of Manna Cafe for Madison's Wisconsin State Journal

 A weirdly paced review with a really weird turn of phrase near the end, talking about raspberries and "raspberries." You'll see it. And Derby really needs a fat intervention; brisket is supposed to have some fat. Otherwise its -- wait for it -- dry!

Michael Nagrant's review of Dove's Luncheonette for Chicago's RedEye

I kept expecting a reference to M. Wells Dinette, the short-lived but much praised restaurant in New York. Dove's certainly has the pedigree to earn that kind of comparison. I also would have expected a longer review for a place with Paul Kahan involved.

G.A. Benton's review of Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant for the Columbus Dispatch

Ugh. Eating with one's hands and "playing with your food" are not one in the same. I don't dig the museum-exhibit tone that Benton's applying to the food at Lalibela. Columbus has nearly a million residents; African cuisine shouldn't need to be treated like this in that market.

Ian Froeb's review of Pizzeria Mia for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A pizzeria that doesn't fully commit to Neapolitan style just sounds kind of limp and sad. I was just at one of Madison's versions a couple nights ago, and the crust was a pleasure. I feel the fatigue of the critic reading this review.

Anonymous' review of Bar 145 for the Toledo Blade

How lazy is it to quote the restaurant's menu and website multiple times in a review? Well, the writing there is, in this case, terrible, so deciding that it's better than what you could say in your own words is both very lazy, and also a little sad.

Niz Proskocil's review of Thai Orchids for the Omaha World-Herald

Unlike the Columbus Dispatch review this week, Proskocil's Thai Orchids review gently chides the restaurant for going too easy on Midwestern palates, offering too much familiar junk rather than a more honed, composed menu. The bit about the owner being explicitly leery of too much attention from a review isn't something you read every day.

Aimee Levitt's review of Bar Takito for Chicago's Reader

You read that right, Aimee Levitt. Mike Sula's apparently got the week off. I was worried, when the review started with mentions of costumed critics and Ratatouille, that this was going to be an exhaustively twee piece of food journalism. But it's good, duly highlighting some truly odd service quirks.