Flyover Friday - Flyover the river and through the woods

Hey, welcome back to Flyover Friday! In case you're just tuning in, this is a weekly roundup of the Midwest's restaurant criticism as it appears in print -- no web-only reviews. And if you've been a reader for a while, you know that "weekly" is maybe a little generous. I've been off for a few weeks now, dealing with a personal schedule that didn't allow for the time it takes to read all these reviews. But I'm back now, and let's arbitrarily say that I'm just in time for the holidays. Bundle up for this week's Flyover Friday.

Mike Sula’s review of the Kitchen Chicago for Chicago’s Reader

Sure does look pretty in there, but Sula’s totally unmoved by the menu. Since last we convened, the Reader has started publishing reviews earlier in the week – a welcome change if you ask me.



Lacey Muszynski’s review of Buena Vista Restaurant and Bar for Milwaukee’s Shepherd Express

Somehow I had missed that Muszynski was writing for the Express, like all the way back to June. Her writing is much more confident, composed, than most of the writers featured for this paper in Flyover Friday.



Charles Ferruzza’s review of Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar for the Kansas City Pitch

Already the second Colorado-based operation featured in this week’s Flyover Friday. And I’ve missed reading Ferruzza’s reviews during this hiatus. Good stuff.



Lindsay Christians’ review of Wah Kee Wonton Noodle for the Capital Times

30 years old! Damn. Wah Kee is still getting it done. So is Christians, who takes an admirably deep dive into the extensive Wah Kee menu.



Polly Campbell’s review of Szechuan Garden Bistro for the Cincinnati Enquirer

Speaking of deep dives, Campbell goes all-in for this review. If you recall my experience at Sujeo recently, you know how alluring the siren song of JUST ORDER EVERYTHING really is at a place like this. Good to rack up a few Chinese reviews in time for Christmas.



Ian Froeb’s review of Grapeseed for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Maybe it was to subtly highlight Froeb’s description of Grapeseed as following the “contemporary American bistro model,” but it confused the hell out of me for a second or two that both cited food source farms are in Missouri cities named after other states. This is review 1 of 2 for Grapeseed this week.



Rick Nelson’s review of Public Kitchen + Bar for the Minneapolis StarTribune

Nelson goes for “pillowy gnocchi,” as do we all, and makes “toothsome” an even less self-evident adjective by shortening it to “toothy” – all in one graf! I’m also a little confused by what appears to be inconsistent pricing for identical items between bar and lounge.



Douglas Trattner’s brunch takedown roundup review for the Cleveland Scene

I don’t know if this is meant to be the review for this week, but it occupies the slot, and anyway I couldn’t let this kind of anti-brunch poopiness go uncommented-on. Reads awfully old and dorky, tbqh.



Adam Powell’s review of New Seoul for Madison’s Isthmus

Another “welcome to Flyover Friday” is extended to Powell, who’s been on the “places you love that recently moved” review beat for a couple months now. Seems unlikely that he’ll read this, but Adam: I liked this review. It was nice. Okay?



Sylvia Rector’s review of Selden Standard for the Detroit Free Press

Rector doesn’t do much restaurant reviewing these days, sticking mostly to listicles. And this is a bit of a cheat, falling well within the four-week rule. With the four-star rating, though, it’s obvious why the Freep rushed this to print.



Jane Slaughter’s review of 7 Greens Detroit Salad Co. for the Detroit Metro Times

That’s a lot of review to discuss salads. I feel like it would have been a good idea to talk a little more about the soups and baked goods than Slaughter does, lest the review read as tedious as she finds chewing kale to be.



Molly Abraham’s review of El Rey de las Arepas for the Detroit News

Another sub-four-week cheat from another veteran Detroit critic. This one makes less sense, given the restaurant’s homely, neighborhoody nature. But whatevs. If the readership is there, it’s hard to keep it waiting.



Anonymous’ review of Sebastiano’s Italiano for the Toledo Blade

Not so great. A stronger editorial hand is needed; some of those sentences are really long and convoluted. And can a restaurant boast a humble décor?



Cheryl Baehr’s review of Grapeseed for St. Louis’ Riverfront Times

I prefer the detail and historical perspective that the P-D review gives to Grapeseed, but Baehr points out a real puzzler of a dish: what’s a place like this doing serving a boneless skinless chicken breast in a non-sandwich presentation? As far as recommendations go, Grapeseed sounds like a walk-don’t-run situation.



G.A. Benton’s review of Black Point for the Columbus Dispatch

I’d been wondering if we’d see Jon Christensen reviewing restaurants for the Dispatch ever again, and a search on the website indicates he’s been moved to the wine critic gig. Benton’s a more enjoyable read anyway, though the Dispatch editorial style is still a bit recitational.



Carol Deptolla’s review of Engine Company No. 3 for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Deptolla’s still catching up from a late summer/early fall that was largely taken off from reviews – only 2 of 8 weeks, if I recall correctly. But getting to Engine Company a little later has only confirmed what the Shepherd Express put forward in mid-October: that it’s a quality joint that has found its niche.



Samara Kalk Derby’s review of Mirch Masala for Madison’s Wisconsin State Journal

I spend so little time on State Street, I’d completely forgotten that Redamte closed at the end of May. Mirch Masala has taken its space, and Derby likes it quite a bit – even if the question about “where’s the Nepali food” makes my skin crawl in second-hand embarrassment.



Sarah Baker Hansen’s Black Friday roundup review for the Omaha World-Herald

A cute idea for a review on a shopping day that definitely leaves dining by the wayside. I like that, rather than writing up what turned out to be the best, Hansen wrote up her pick, good or bad. But I would have liked a more solid recommendation at the end of each section for those places that were disappointments. Black Friday is enough of a crapshoot.