Flyover Friday - The 14 days of Christmas

Mike Sula's review of Bar Marta for Chicago's Reader

Whew, that lead image caption is a syllable-dense beginning to this week's reviews. The rest of the review is amusingly, pervasively shot through with the language of secrecy and spycraft.

Lindsay Christians' review of Cafe Hollander for Madison's Capital Times

There are some things about Hollander that sounds appealing -- the bitterballen, the butter burger, other things that start with B probably -- but nothing about the rest of the place really makes me want to risk it.

K.L. Lorenz's review of Cream & Crepe Cafe for Milwaukee's Shepherd Express

Does anyone actually read "entree" and assume it means "a dish that includes a side"? I never have, but it appears that Lorenz does. Just curious, is all.

Karla Walsh's review of RoCA for the Des Moines Register

Hy-Vee mention? Check. Maytag blue mention? Check! Confirmed: it's the new Des Moines restaurant critic! Hard to really evaluate on one review, just like reviewing a restaurant on one visit -- but she's got that part right at least, with multiple trips for her first review.

Serena Maria Daniels' review of Vertical Detroit for the Detroit Metro Times

There's a feature vibe to this review, inspired in no small part by how long it takes Daniels to get to the food. She also appears to call out a menu typo, which feels picayune after discussing at length all the hard work done to create the restaurant but hey, no excuse for bad spelling. ("Mascarpone" is misspelled at the end of the review.)

Cheryl Baehr's review of Reeds American Table for St. Louis' Riverfront Times

You'll encounter another review of Reeds -- clearly a Big Deal of 2015 -- in this double-issue of Flyover Friday. But Baehr's review should provide all the inspiration you'll need to want to eat there immediately.

G.A. Benton's review of Claudiana Italian Restaurant for the Columbus Dispatch

Contrast that with this review, which certainly makes some of the food sound appetizing, but doesn't paint a picture of a restaurant I'm eager to spend (too much) money at.

Molly Abraham's review of The Huron Room for the Detroit News

Well hey, at least one dish is described from a first-hand perspective. That's something. I like the storefront of the restaurant.

Yours truly's review of Julep for Madison's Isthmus

After my second visit, during which my crew and I dined from the Snacks and Little Plates menu, our slightly goofy server expressed a desire for us to come back and have a "real dinner." It was a weirdly self-deprecatory statement from a restaurant I enjoyed quite a bit.

Samara Kalk Derby's review of SoHo Gourmet Cuisines for Madison's Wisconsin State Journal

It's disappointing to learn that dumplings are being deemphasized at the SoHo cart in relation to the SoHo brick-and-mortar. Why make both places the same?

Ian Froeb's review of Union Loafers Cafe and Bread Bakery for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Freebie's right; anyone who's paying attention is starting to see lineages form in the St. Louis dining scene, and that's pretty cool.

Blade staff's review of Maumee Bay Brew Pub for the Toledo Blade

Mmm, blurry and over-flashed crappy photography. Really, does no one in Toledo see this?

Michael Nagrant's "mini"-review of Bar Marta for Chicago's RedEye

The "Orange Wines" section of the drink menu is amusing. I don't get the whole "float" thing at the top, especially when there is a bar definition of the word, which Nagrant doesn't appear to employ.

Carol Deptolla's review of Bistro Z for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

I'm trying to figure out if the food at Bistro Z doesn't sound as appealing to me as the food Cheryl Baehr described at Reeds in St. Louis, or if Deptolla just doesn't have the same knack for evocative writing that Baehr does. You tell me.

Sarah Baker Hansen's review of Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles for the Omaha World-Herald

A very gentle takedown, in which the restaurant's own staff is somewhat complicit.

Joe Crea's review of Das Schnitzel Haus for the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Seeing a lot of old-school German popping up lately. this one sounds pretty good.

Karla Walsh's review of Waveland Cafe for the Des Moines Register

A native Iowan complaining about American cheese on hash browns is trying too hard to appear culinarily literate, unless she's literally never been to a supper club or diner.

Alisa Malavenda's review of Twisted Cork for Milwaukee's Shepherd Express

Oooft. This menu reads like a trendy catering lineup. Maybe it's better than it sounds, but: oooft.

Jane Slaughter's review of Mabel Gray Kitchen for the Detroit Metro Times

I have never heard of Eddie Merlot's, which is apparently a steakhouse chain in the eastern Midwest and Great Lakes area. I guess it's the anti-Mabel Gray. I dunno.

Cheryl Baehr's review of Milque Toast Bar for St. Louis' Riverfront Times

[Author's note: Safari bailed on me suddenly, losing the rest of this post from here down. So if I seem terse, let's blame it on that.] Baehr nailed two reviews in a row in this Flyover Friday. My thoughts (concerns?) about a toast joint were addressed in the opening grafs.

G.A. Benton's review of Salt & Pine for the Columbus Dispatch

I'm not sure that I'd call a too-pricey burger and slow wine service "not firing on all cylinders," but that's me. Basically every dish Benton describes sounds like it was well-received.

Molly Abraham's review of Vertical for the Detroit News

Another Flyover Friday, another Abraham review that issues stars despite not describing a single dish in any qualitative or experiential fashion.

Sarah Baker Hansen's review of Le Voltaire for the Omaha World-Herald

I like revisit reviews. In this particular case, it gives you a sense of where a city's scene has gone since it was a one-horse town, which you sort of feel like Omaha might have been (or at least much closer to) with Le Voltaire circa 2007.

Ian Froeb's review of Reeds American Table for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Okay, so maybe Reeds isn't a 100% sure thing knockout. Froeb and Baehr cross over a little with their menu choices, and the beef cheek appears to be the real deal. I guess the lesson is order thoughtfully, but that's always the lesson, isn't it.

Blade staff's review of Shawarmaholic for the Toledo Blade

"On our visits, Muslims comprised 70 percent of those dining in or carrying out." -- the anonymous Blade reviewer, shooting for the meant-well "they eat here" white critic commentary we've all been guilty of using at least once but juuuust missing the landing. I mean, didja take a poll?