If this week's review hadn't been as late as it was, I might've thought the Tribune took a week off. But Phil Vettel's review of the Beacon Tavern just posted late. Michael Nagrant chimes in with another "mini"-review for the RedEye, of the brutally-/amusingly-named Income Tax. What size is "Smurf-sized," exactly? And how does a review of a place named after a cocktail not provide commentary on whether that place even serves that cocktail, nevermind if it's good or not? Anyway, over at the Reader, Mike Sula catches up with the other two papers and reviews Elske. It tugs at my heartstrings a bit to see a restaurant from a husband/wife pair with One Off Hospitality roots, now that Madison knows more or less when it's losing Tim and Elizabeth Dahl's Nostrano.
The thing is, Journal Gazette critic Ryan Duvall is doing the legwork. He's trying a lot of dishes, over multiple visits. He's eatingHis editor, however, is not doing him any favors with the heavily deconstructed style and letting things like "just OK" get into the final copy. Duvall's review of New Hong Kong is, well, just OK.
Still no Datebook Diner, still no reviews from the Register.
Jane Slaughter takes quite a hike, reviewing the Ann Arbor location of Avalon for the Detroit Metro Times. But I suppose I reviewed the Showboat Saloon for Isthmus, so all right. I'LL LET IT SLIDE. In actual Detroit news, the Detroit News' Molly Abraham went to a sushi restaurant and had some soup. She also mentioned how amusing the name of the restaurant is, but never actually stated said name. It's Super Happy Sushi at Cafe 78.
Mecca Bos holds down the Cities this week, making an excellent parallel between tchotchke-strewn walls and an overcrowded menu. She reviews Handsome Hog for the City Pages. Her work has been peppered with a lot of chef commentary lately, which is certainly a way to go, but it can feel a little promotional at times.
Kansas Citaayyy! What's happening? Two weeks in a row? This time it's the boss lady, Jill Wendholt Silva, reviewing Cacao Restaurante (called "Cacao's," horribly, in the page title) for the Star. I hope zucchini blossoms aren't as foreign to KC as this review makes it seem. Ian Froeb gets philosophical and historical with his review of Eat Sandwiches for the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and I just get more of a hankerin' for this place the more I read about it. Cheryl Baehr paints a similarly pleasant picture reviewing VietNam Style for the Riverfront Times. I'm in the early stages of planning a weekend in St. Louis this spring, and the Google map is already filling out.
No new review from Sarah Baker Hansen and the Omaha World-Herald this week.
Even Ohio's taking it easy this week, with nothing out of Cincy or the Cleveland Scene. The Cleveland Plain Dealer published a slender, family-focused review (but not one of its actual "family restaurant reviews," I don't think) of Pizza Fire, penned by Laura DeMarco. G.A. Benton enthusiastically reviews the oddly-misspelled Los Guachos Taqueria for the Columbus Dispatch. And the anonymous Toledo Blade critic pairs a review of the Adams Street Cafe with some of the best art the Blade's put to print (and a lot of dining companion commentary).
Poor Mr. Torta's. When I reviewed it, I noted that the subs were overstuffed with very wet meat. Samara Kalk Derby reviewed it for the State Journal and found them too modestly filled. She also doesn't like nacho cheese apparently, which is maybe the greatest sin I can place on her shoulders. Carol Deptolla praises The Farmer's Wife for the Milwaukee State Journal. And dueling Cap Times and Isthmus reviews round out the week. Both Lindsay Christians and Allison Geyer (respectively) reviewed Morris Ramen, which is turning out some Instagram-friendly dishes.