Nick Kokonas (Alinea, Next) turns up on Dolinsky and Bayless’s The Feed, talking about Alinea’s road show in Madrid and Miami, trying to sell Bayless on using Tock at Frontera Grill, and giving a hint or two about what the long-awaited Roister will be like. He says it will have three experiences—a la carte, tasting menu and “the whole beast,” i.e., a meal that uses a whole animal approach. But the real revelation is when Dolinsky presses him for more and he describes the kitchen as being in the middle of the room, surrounded by seats watching the cooks cook. So now we know: The Roister is going to be The Catbird Seat in Nashville. (The Feed)


Phil Vettel sounds like he hasn’t met too many steakhouses he hasn’t liked, in his review of Swift & Sons, but he really likes this one, one dish in particular: “The restaurant’s savory, pastry and service elements come together in one superb dish, and that’s the beef Wellington. Sized for two, this classic wraps 12 ounces of medium-rare tenderloin in foie gras, mushroom duxelles and spinach, all encased in a magnificent, golden pastry shell. Served on a thick cutting board, sliced and served tableside, this is the kind of presentation and ritual that makes guests at nearby tables rethink their choices. I’ve never had a better version of this dish.” (Tribune)


Michael Nagrant finds love in one dish, too, at Mortar & Pestle, from some Table 52 vets—the patty melt: “[Chef Stephen] Ross calls it an ode to his childhood. I concur. A bite of this sandwich transported me to the 8-year-old version of myself… The medium-rare juicy patty, made from local beef (a heart-stopping mix of 70 percent meat to 30 percent fat), drips with funky, nutty gruyere. The beef is weighted down on the grill with a diner-style press and develops a lacy, crispy edge. The rye toast used to complete this masterpiece is golden, crackling and dripping in butter, while a topping of caramelized onions is jammy and has a hint of brown sugar. All this richness is foiled by a slightly acidic bright mayo- and ketchup-based ‘special sauce.’” (Redeye)


Is Restaurant Week a deal or a con? Displaying way more patience for giving a damn about some of these restaurants than I ever could, Anthony Todd crunches the numbers on 200 restaurants to see where you come out ahead and where you don’t getting a prix fixe dinner for $44. Helpfully, the better deals are color-coded. (Chicagoist)


Graham Meyer says the inevitable comparisons to Eataly don’t really apply to Latinicity, because it’s about dining not shopping, and the key is being a smart shopper about your dining: “Savvy thinking can steer diners clear of most of the misses. A little thought can tip you off that the tortilla soup ($6), the broth stewing all day and accompaniments assembled to order, will turn to gold, and yuca ($4), scooped from beneath a heat lamp, will turn to cotton balls.” (Crain’s) Meanwhile, he also tries Pata Negra, the sit-down restaurant within Latinicity, and finds that “the experience befits a semicasual colleague lunch, but it won’t wow clients… When dishes deviate from the norm, they succeed best… Eggplant roasted in meaty wedges sings when accompanied by whipped goat cheese, nuts, fava beans, pea shoots and raisin escabeche. Asparagus in hollandaise with a coddled egg, truffles and a chip made from mahon cheese finds an earthy note the vegetable doesn’t always display.” (Crain’s)


“When was the last time you ate something that made you think?” asks Lisa Shames, the answer for her being at GreenRiver, praising the food of Aaron Lirette, “a local guy who’s proud of the relationships he has established over the years with the Midwest purveyors he uses and whose products inspire the food he creates,” as well as Julia Momose’s cocktails, as seen in “the multipage cocktail menu—more of a novelette, really—divided into eight sections by the raw materials used for distilling spirits (rye, corn, barley, etc.). Inspiration for the 32 cocktails comes from Chicago’s Irish-American history, and each is accompanied by a short write-up on the drink’s namesake. Some will find the lengthy offerings a bit exhausting; others, like me, will revel. (CS)


Mike Sula reviews another Cantina, hopefully with less destruction in his wake this time: dos Urban Cantina, from Brian and Jennifer Enyart. They came from Topolobampo, but he finds something closer to Elizabeth (or Noma) there: “There are no molten blankets of cheese, no searing chile burns, no baseline foundations of acidity. Instead Enyart goes deep, exploring bitter, thick moles and intense flavors while harnessing the fulsome power of nuts, legumes, and fungi… With these dishes Enyart brings Mexican food to the dark side.” (Reader)


Once ubiquitous in the media, sometimes harder to actually find behind a stove, Brandon Baltzley returns to Chicago for a weekend of dinners with Sauced Market and Locallective; more info here.