Flyover Friday - Beer please

I saw this week's XKCD comic on Facebook earlier this week, about beer. It is titled "Beer." (Be sure to read the hover text, too.) It trumpets the perspective of the unexamined life, with cartoonist Randall Munroe assuming that because he doesn't like beer, therefore the reasons anyone says they like beer are put-on and delusional. What's probably happening -- and I don't know, so I'm acknowledging UNLIKE OTHER PEOPLE RANDALL that I could be wrong -- is that Munroe doesn't really know enough about beer to be discriminating. So instead he discriminates, against people who do care enough to know something about beer. It's like when a person in a movie walks up to the bar and orders "a beer" and then gets one. That's the level of beer knowledge Munroe seems to be working from. Anyway, I may have an axe to grind here. Have a Flyover Friday; doesn't matter which kind.

Mike Sula's review of C Chicago for Chicago's Reader

Sula executes a fabulous rug-pull at the end of the 6th graf (the one that starts with the defense of the pick-your-own fish feature). Like, "the FLOWERS are STILL STANDING"-good. In fact, it's just a really great review all around. A fine start to the week.

Heather Schroering's mini-review of Bom Bolla for Chicago's RedEye

Avoiding an Epcot feel, says the owner. I'll remind you about that statement when you get to the Des Moines Register review later. Here's the thing: the RedEye mini-reviews are so long (as I noted last week), and the text is so big, and the sections are so unparagraphed that it's just a chore to read them. Nothing against Schroering.

Jill Wendholt Silva's review of Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar for the Kansas City Star

For all the award attention the Star gets, it doesn't publish a whole lot of restaurant reviews, so it's nice to see one pop up. Quite high standards and praise for a chain seafood operation. The bookending in the review speaks to my stylistic preferences; that it's a s'mores-related bookend doesn't hurt.

Alisa Malavenda's review of Botanas II for Milwaukee's Shepherd Express

Malavenda's review is good, covering what you'd want to know about a AmeriMex-type establishment. But it's rote, without a lot of personality. A higher word count to work with might do this review some good, though I say that about Shepherd Express reviews often and even though they've gotten a little longer, they're still short. I'm picky on review length I guess.

Gavin Pirnia's review of Collective CAC for the Cincinnati CityBeat

Conversational, lacking in cohesion. Maybe that suits the subject, a cafe struggling to put together more than a fancy coffeeshop's presence.

C. Acevedo's review of Cowboy Jack's for the Des Moines Register

If we take Acevedo's word for it, Cowboy Jack's is better than the Six Flags attraction it looks like -- but boy (reminder from the RedEye review), does it look like a Six Flags attraction. I wouldn't expect an honest-to-Jeb "saloon" to have specialty cocktails (like Acevedo apparently does) but then I wouldn't expect a saloon to have a strawberry feta salad, so maybe an appletini isn't out of the question.

Aaron Egan's review of Republic Tavern for the Detroit Metro Times

I could spend a lot of time talking about bone marrow fritters because that sounds amazing, but whoa, that's a buried lede there. After all that praise, almost unqualified in nature, Egan drops the bombshell (to a reader unfamiliar with the Detroit restaurant scene, anyway) that the chef who kicked off all this excellence has left the Republic Tavern kitchen. Can't help but feel like that undercuts the review a bit. Otherwise, it's a solid one.

Molly Abraham's review of Due Venti for the Detroit News

Another quick review that almost feels like it could hit a longer stride, and then after the photo of the storefront -- it just stops. I'm going to assume that the four question mark rating is meant to be stars.

Mecca Bos' review of Mon Petit Cheri Bakery for the Minneapolis City Pages

The City Pages aren't a regular guest here at Flyover Friday, and this is the first appearance for Bos. She's got an odd tone, a little classist, but props for bringing her own voice to the review.

Cheryl Baehr's review of United Provisions Café for St. Louis' Riverfront Times

I get a distinct Mitsuwa vibe from UPC, and that's after the conceptual rejiggering that Baehr describes. Very food court. But I do dig the offering of an explicitly wedding cake-style cake on the dessert menu.

G.A. Benton's review of Barley's Brewing Co. for the Columbus Dispatch

It's a brewery restaurant. That means big loud flavors, rich food, and puns. Benton's review covers the bases but feels a little uninspired in doing so. "For this, try this. For that, try that" is a construction that repeats a few times.

My review of Fast Biryani for Madison's Isthmus

Curry wraps are going to be the downfall of a lot of eastsiders' spring/summer diets, I think. The staff here (the owners, basically) are really friendly and I wish I liked more of the more composed main courses more, but the wraps are brilliant.

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

If Derby thinks Five Guys burgers are easy to get out of your head, she's obviously never seen the Daym Drops Five Guys review. But I digress. I'd never heard of this operation before it showed up in town, and I think the Five Guys/Culvers comparison sounds apt. (I'd add Shake Shack, especially with the house sauce.) The prices sound reasonable to me, too, and on the whole I think this is a fine review for only including one visit.

Carol Deptolla's review of Crafty Cow for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

I was all prepared to note how a burger joint review used a shot of a hot dog for its header image, but apparently the Journal Sentinel noticed the disharmony and changed it. I would have liked a mention or two of the beers Crafty Cow is pouring -- I mean, multiple mentions of it with no detail! -- but I enjoyed the review all the same.

Sarah Baker Hansen's review of Thirst-Tea Cafe for the Omaha World-Herald

I spent most of this review expecting to marvel slightly at bubbles and jellies being the only chewable part of the menu, but Hansen -- rightly, given the main thrust of the restaurant -- brings in the food menu discussion at the very end. Bubble tea is some weird business, man, but Thirst-Tea sounds like it's nailing it.

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

I can only assume this is the review Froeb described on Twitter as "the longest review I've written," and it'd be long even without the lily-gilding biographical middle section (not unnecessary, but non-essential, I'd say?). Froeb implicitly defends the length of the review with his praise, with is not unqualified, but is couched smartly in a solid understanding of the St. Louis dining scene. This review may have jumped Público to the Beersball shortlist all on its own.

Blade staff's review of Greg's Grill for the Toledo Blade

Someone's got to come next in the list of Flyover Friday reviews after that Público magnum opus, and unfortunately for the little Toledo Blade, they're it. Tonally these two reviews couldn't be more different. Effusive praise can sound earnest, or it can sound like Chamber of Commerce tourism board copy -- like, I'm sorry to say, it does here.

Polly Campbell's review of Taft's Ale House for the Cincinnati Enquirer

Another beer-centric review, but this one delivers on beer description where others come up short. And I feel a kinship with Campbell's somewhat nitpicky but not-inappropriate taking to task of the restaurant's portrayal of its namesake. Calling out small but meaningful flaws is kind of what I do here.

Joe Crea's review of Aces Grille for the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Crea's amused appreciation for Aces comes through in this breezy bar-and-grille review. He closes the review with a beer -- but of course, doesn't specify what kind.