Flyover Friday - Forgiveness

The title says it all. I need it (last week's slate of reviews was a BIG one post-Independence Day and I was busy this week anyway), some of the reviews demand it (odd decisions that don't serve the review or the reader) and at least one newspaper's website is granting it. A double-barreled Flyover Friday starts below.

Mike Sula's review of Bom Bolla for Chicago's Reader

Anthony Bourdain's 2008 No Reservations trip to Spain fired the food-travel lust of many an eater in the United States (ahem). This review should do the same for inspiring the same crowd to travel to Chicago if Spain's too dear. Everything about this place sounds lovely, and Sula's review expresses the love fully.

Carlos Acevedo's review of Hickory Park for the Des Moines Register

A member of Team Beersball is moving to Iowa soon; barbecue aroma and line-worthy meats are right up his (and my, obvious truth be told) alley. Acevedo touches on something I witnessed in St. Louis this summer: the casual and not-so-casual diner's unfamiliarity with persistent pinking in properly cooked bone-in chicken meat. We all cringed when a fellow customer sent back what was probably perfectly fine fried chicken at Old Standard for its pinkness.

Jill Wendholt Silva's review of Char Bar Smoked Meats and Amusements for the Kansas City Star

Three reviews in and this week's Flyover Friday is trying to kill me. I love smoked meats, and amusements! Oddly, Silva makes it about 40% into the review before mentioning any specific meat dish. In fact, she barely mentions traditional barbecue items for more than one paragraph.

K.L. Lorenz's review of North Star American Bistro for Milwaukee's Shepherd Express

I don't know, I think the motto "Real. Good. Food." is fairly pretentious indeed. This review betrays a familiarity on the part of the critic that isn't entirely evident to the reader. Lorenz describes new dishes -- new compared to what? A revised menu? Specials? A new chef? I think Lorenz is a fan, not just an approving critic, but needs to sell me better on the Why.

Douglas Trattner's review of Batuqui for the Cleveland Scene

If Trattner says that a Brazilian joint fits into an antique shop and Victorian architecture area of Cleveland, I guess he's the expert. Sounds weird to me. And delivering an incomplete dish and then the rest of it on a separate plate is a worse foul than he seems willing to call. If the food's good, though, right?

Joe Crea's review of Bomba Tacos and Rum for the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Bomba continues the alliterative B restaurants in this week's column so far, with more nearly-unqualified praise, and for a second south-of-the-border spot in a row. Critics in a good mood post-Fourth. It must be summer. Cachaca and rum for everyone!

G.A. Benton's review of Little Eater for the Columbus Dispatch

Meatless dining has been covered pretty well this week, too. "Mostly plant-based" doesn't really paint the proper picture; this is a vegetarian restaurant. Am I alone in being a little put off at the repeated use of the term "scoop" for the side salad portions? A bit lunchroom.

Jane Slaughter's review of Taste of China for the Detroit Metro Times

All right! Meat! And not just meat, but weird meat! Let's get into this. *rubs hands together* Hm. Beef, chicken, duck, shrimp. Mention of less conventionally American-friendly dishes is relegated to the tease up top, and a dismissive reference at the end. Boo, Ms. Slaughter. Try something unusual! There's no excuse for clickbaiting your readers with that opening graf; they've already clicked.

Molly Abraham's review of Mesa Tacos and Tequila for the Detroit News

I'm used to Abraham's eensy weensy, decor-focused reviews, but this one takes the taco. She barely scratches the surface of the restaurant's full menu.

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

I wouldn't have said that you could call a sandwich foolproof and then describe its flaws. For two paragraphs. But I guess you can.

Mecca Bos' review of Big River Pizza for Minneapolis' City Pages

"Not unshort" is just the kind of rule-flouting neologism I like. Continue. A pizza sex scene? I approve! Aaaaand..."finagle"! Old timey slang -- the trifecta. A fun review.

Cheryl Baehr's review of Público for St. Louis' Riverfront Times

The other St. Louis critic, Ian Froeb, dug Público a lot. Guess what? Baehr does too. Kicking myself a bit for not getting to this pan-Latin Mexicish spot during Beersball, but I'll make it work.

Blade staff's review of Chubby's American Grill for the Toledo Blade

This is a restaurant from Idiocracy, right? The Blade treats this review with far too much seriousness.

Mike Sula (again) reviewing Barcocina for Chicago's Reader

The subhed should probably tell you all you need to know about the tone of this review, and Sula's level of appreciation for Barcocina's product. But you've got to get all the way to the end for the sucker punch he delivers to the people in Barcocina's neighborhood, who defy all good sense (as Sula sees it) and continue to make Barcocina a well-attended spot.

Your truly's review of Waypoint Public House for Madison's Isthmus

If you thought I had too narrowly dialed in on my Madison food criticism colleagues' timing of their Waypoint reviews, now you know why I had that four-week mark so pinned down. It's a more enjoyable place than maybe my review's tone implies, but even moderate-to-high culinary expectations might be over-asking. It's good, not great.

Carol Deptolla's review of Zesti for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Welcome back, Journal Sentinel! This is Deptolla's first starred review since April, and only her second article billed as a review since Memorial Day. The off-hand reference to anonymity at the end is maybe a little unnecessary, but amusing in light of the critic reveals we've witnessed recently.

Sarah Baker Hansen's review of Agave Azteca for the Omaha World-Herald

I'm not crazy about the infobox/long-story-short section being above the review. Sure it gives people the essential gist, but why have a critic if you're going to undermine (overmine?) her analysis? 

ODD BONUS: Kevin Pang's review of Cindy's for the Chicago Tribune and Phil Vettel's review of Cherry Circle Room also for the Chicago Tribune

Longtime readers know that I haven't included reviews from the largest paper in the coverage area not out of spite, but because of the paywall that blocks access to the restaurant reviews. I was updating my bookmarks, though, and thought I'd peek in. There were two reviews, so I ended up googling something to clarify the proper URL to save, and lo and behold, I could view the review pages from direct Google search result clicks, but not from bookmarks or from the main Trib Dining page. So if you can't see these two, Google 'em. Apparently, that gives you the necessary grace to read these reviews.