Next Terroir gets four stars from Phil Vettel—well, they practically always do, but Vettel’s review makes a case for Next having pulled off the difficult task of saying something new about how wine goes with food. For example: “To evoke the winds of the Rhone Valley, one dish arrived under a cloche containing rosemary-scented smoke… pear and blue cheese, surely one of the greatest pairings in the world, commingle as pear cider within a cheese-infused white-chocolate shell, presented on a forest-floor bed of moss over dry ice (the white smoke representing the coastal layer).” (Tribune)


What’s Schwa vet Noah Sandoval going to do after Senza, you asked. And waited and wondered. Well, the answer was finally revealed Friday morning to a group of food media types—and it also turns out to be the answer to Whatever happened to Boka pastry chef Genie Kwon? They (and Sandoval’s wife Cara) are opening Oriole, a tasting menu-only restaurant with 28 seats, to be located somewhere in the West Randolph area. They hope to be open before the year ends.


Japonais has been easing toward a closing this month, but details came out today indicating that it wasn’t so graceful a sayonara—the restaurant hasn’t been paying its rent and agreed to shutter to settle a nearly half-million tab, so the landlord could finally let someone else have it. Eater looks at the court filings.


Mike Sula finds a lot of cognitive dissonance at Bernie’s Lunch & Supper, a Detroit import that combines folksy service that evokes Ed Debevic’s for him with antique shop decor—and, as it turns out, some promising middle-eastern food, like “a dish confusingly called “lamb hashwi.” Normally hashwi is a rice dish, but here it’s a smooth spread of hummus embedded with pine nuts, pomegranate seeds, and a mince of za’atar-spiced lamb so fine it could be a sauce. It doesn’t matter. It’s devastating—an eruption of sweet, sour, and savory that’s perfect dredged up with scraps of thick, puffy flatbread sheened with olive oil, a confounding but delicious cross between pita and Navajo fry bread.” (Reader)


Mike Sula has a charming story about the folksy “meat hut” full of cured meats that’s hauled into the church at Gorale (Polish Highlander) weddings. When it becomes a hipster thing, remember who started it! (Reader)


Heather Schoering’s Redeye review of Lowcountry finally explains how we got two New Orleans-style seafood, corn and bib joints this year (the other being Angry Crab). Blokes & Birds wasn’t selling craft cocktails in beery Wrigleyville, so a new owner took it over to sell seafood—and craft cocktails along the way. “The juxtaposition of my craft cocktail next to a metal tray of finger food in a bag was delightful. The craft cocktail concept wasn’t enough for Blokes & Birds to hinge on in the neighborhood, but the cocktail selection certainly has not been watered down with the new concept. Hompluem found Raymond Chester, who runs Lowcountry’s bar program, at The Aviary.”


Hey, we might as well start with the poop jokes now– they’re a steady stream when The Pizzle investigates internet reports that Burger King’s weird all-black hamburger bun (which by the way is faked in most of the photos—note the pure-black and white sesame seeds) makes green come out your other end.


Remember a place called Soul Kitchen? Maybe the first place to make Wicker Park hip in the 90s, right on the corner of North and Damen? Terry Alexander (of One Off Hospitality) owned it… and the most interesting thing about Francesca’s Forno closing there is learning that Alexander has had a 30-year-lease on that primo space all this time, and he’s still got time for at least one more concept there. (Oh, and by the way, we remember what it was before Soul Kitchen. Hey Terry, maybe the world’s been waiting for Jimo’s II…) (Eater)


And a farewell to Pierogi Street, the restaurant of food truck Pierogi Wagon, who did nice stuff in a quirky Humboldt Park storefront; and to artisanal sandwich shop Birchwood Kitchen.