I have to acknowledge that this edition of Flyover Friday is woefully, unforgivably late. I was trying to do about three different things at once this week; similarly, there's a number of restaurants reviewed in this week's batch of reviews that appear to be trying to get a handle on being more than one kind of thing. Peruvian-Wisconsinite, almost-new, tavern-and-restaurant, or in the case of one review (cringetastically), repeatedly-misspelled and slightly-racist. You'll just have to see for yourselves. It's Flyover Friday -- er, Friday-Wednesday.
"Twisted Willow offers healthy, casual yet classy dining," by Amanda Sullivan for the Shepherd Express
"Farm-to-table" is a not-so-unfamiliar phrase in American dining, to the point that it's almost passé to highlight it on the part of either the restaurant or the reviewer. But hey, good for Twisted Willow for sticking to local. This sounds like a please-'em-all kind of joint; the ketchup, however, sounds legit tasty.
"Cucina Pazzo's 'crazy kitchen' puts out insanely good food," by Cheryl Baehr for the St. Louis Riverfront Times
I don't have first-hand experience with the Nutella soufflé, but Baehr's critique sounds spot-on; dial back on the candy-sweet there, Cucina Pazzo. But let's talk about the mortadella corn dog for a second because damn. And apricot cherry mostarda? Yes please.
"Crandall's on State shifts focus from American fish fry to Peruvian ceviche," by Lindsay Christians for 77 Square/the Capital Times
Good on the Crandall's owners for filling a void on State Street; I love that business has necessitated this shift in the menu. "Like fried rice, but blander" is a fine little piece of dry Christians wit that made me legit LOL.
"Bring it on, Bernie: Kosar's Wood-Fired Grill is a welcome addition to Northfield," by Douglas Trattner for the Cleveland Scene
I get that the menu has hits and misses, I get that the floor staff is great, and yes, I do know who Bernie Kosar is, but I still left this review totally confused. Aside from assuming that every reader's a football fan, Trattner doesn't exactly draw a clear line to the venue. Is it a casino or isn't it? Is there gaming or isn't there? Where exactly is the restaurant? I'd have to do a lot more googling to answer these questions.
"For saki-maki action, roll into Sakari," by Carlos Acevedo for the Des Moines Register
For the sake of wordplay, Acevedo and his editor miss the fact that he misspells "sake" throughout, to say nothing of the opening statement that sushi is all about raw fish. That's sashimi; sushi is all about the rice. Aaaand then there's the fact that he deploys the phrase "chink in the armor" in this review of an Asian establishment. Poorly done.
"Almost-new 128 Cafe serves up a welcome change," by Rick Nelson for the Minneapolis Star Tribune
Rick Nelson clears out the 2014 backlog with a review of a joint the Pioneer Press covered a month ago. It's a good review, though, with plenty of detail given to highlighting the transition from old 128 to new. Of some amusement to me: Nelson's adjectives and metaphors are reading to me like the back half of a Harry Potter title. Harry Potter and the Snips of Smoky Bacon, Harry Potter and the Hot-Blooded Blend of Fermented Chiles, etc.
"At Coup D'etat, you can have both: chic AND comforting," by Jess Fleming for the St. Paul Pioneer Press
Distractingly staccato, this review covers a lot of ground in a kind of artless way. Too many one-sentence paragraphs. And if the gnocchi are good -- as it would seem they are -- why does Fleming wish she didn't know about them?
"Over the rail at Bow & Stern Oyster Bar," by Mike Sula for the Chicago Reader
Dark! Two references to live animals screaming under human teeth, and a statement of less-than-humane treatment of the animals that went into the lesser dishes at Bow & Stern from Sula this week. Still, he brings a polish to his reviews that's enjoyably consistent.
"West Bend Tap + Tavern puts dining first," by Carol Deptolla for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Deptolla astutely highlights what makes West Bend Tap + Tavern distinctive, and it's not the atypical symbology -- an unused ampersand is remarkable, sure, but the house-made condiments and accompaniments are worth mentioning. It seems to me that the rest of the menu would be uninteresting without those crafted touches.
"Kringle kings: Lane's Bakery rules the Danish court," by Linda Falkenstein for Isthmus
It's odd that such a long-running shop, open at a new location since December, would seem so tentative with its roll-out, but that's what appears to be the case with this bakery. I never made it to the old location, but I'm intrigued by the no-frills approach, perhaps the northern European version of the French La Baguette on Madison's west side.
"Alegria's Seafood & Mexican Grill: Nontraditional menu contains a sea of possibilities," by Jon Christensen for the Columbus Dispatch
Maybe this dry delivery works for other readers, but it's just not cutting it for me. Christensen comes off as at a loss for interesting ways to talk about food. I appreciate that he discusses the region of Mexico from which this menu hails, but calling it "nontraditional" is a bit gringo.
"Detroit Institute of Bagels: The real thing," by Jane Slaughter for the Detroit Metro Times
Where you been hiding, Metro Times restaurant reviews? The "Restaurant Review" page hasn't been updated since mid-January, but lo and behold, the MT's been pumping out criticism weekly since then -- only on the "Eat" (or "Food") page. Guess I better update my bookmarks. Anyway: only in Detroit can a 40-year-vacant bar be turned into a slightly froofified bagel joint, successfully.