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Aug 25, 1998 02:26 AM

Chicago Report & New find: Crofton on Wells

  • j

Just got back from 2 days of Chicago dining (and
shopping. For our shopperhounds: I found great clothes,
shoes and housewares in Lincoln Park on W. Armitage
from N Halstead thru about 7 blocks heading west)

Lunched at Topolobampo and enjoyed the same Vera Cruz
menu Dave mentioned in his recent thread. I was
pleasantly surprized to find the desserts at Topo were
really special. They weren't at all the usual Mexican
flan, fried ice cream offerings. I had a fabulous
blueberry tart with a tender puff paste crust still
warm from oven and with a wonderfully fresh-butter
taste. Menu said it was served with peach slices but I
got mangoes. The tart was so good, and so was the
homemade vanilla ice cream with it, that I didn't mind
the unannouced substitute.

Had a dinner at Gilles in Highland Park (also mentioned
in the recent Chicago thread) and it was very good,
very authentic French staff, service and menu. The
dining room was empty on a Thurs night so I hope it

My new find:
Crofton on Wells (535 N. Wells St. 312-755-1790) Near

(surf the link below & use their "Search" feature to
find a full review, along with reviews for other new
Chicago restauarants/bars)

Female chef-owner Suzy Crofton. Fabulous meal.

Sauted fois gras appetizer (with sweet potato puree and
roasted mission figs all served layered like a torte)
with the glass of Saturnes the waitress suggested. It
was a dish like that scallop appetizer(?) at Daniel
Ruthie Reichel once described where
you didn't want to speak while eating it lest you miss
out on even one subtle flavor dimension.

Roasted halibut entree with fava beans and a white
truffle oil broth with julienne vegetables was also
phenom. The venison entree with wild huckleberries was
delicious too.

Our dessert was very good too but sadly I can't
remember what it was--a chocolate something. An even
better choc dessert in Indianapolis the following night
at a casual place called Snax wiped out all memory.



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  1. j
    Josh Mittleman

    >Sauted fois gras appetizer (with sweet potato puree
    >and roasted mission figs all served layered like a
    >torte) with the glass of Saturnes

    Ooooh. I might have held out for Muscat Beaumes de
    Venise, but the dish sounds wonderful.

    1. j
      jonathan gold

      I hate to dissent on this one, but I went
      to Crofton on Wells for lunch last week, and
      had some of the oddest food I've ever had
      in a restaurant. The ``crab cakes'' were
      at least 90% scrambled egg by weight, and
      a mango-vodka-chile-oyster shooter was just
      plain scary.

      A grilled octopus appetizer
      was seasoned in the manner of somebody
      randomly grabbing Korean seasonings off a
      shelf.Slices of capon in a salad had the
      texture of wet tissue, and the rice in
      an asparagus risotto was actually half-raw.

      I believe that you had a great dinner, but
      I fled from the place and had a much
      more satisfying lunch (grilled shrimp
      on sugar cane, seared scallops with a fresh-
      corn/crawfish ``succotash,'' the best
      black bean soup I've ever had and an
      astonishing '94 grand cru Pinot Gris from
      Zind-Humbrecht) just around the corner at
      Harvest on Huron.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jonathan gold

        Hi Jonathon,

        sorry to be picking up this thread a month later. Just
        now saw your followup report. I'm sincerely sorry to
        hear it was so ourageously bad.

        The only suspicious thing I noticed on my visit was the
        female chef (who I read was also the owner) was up at
        the hostess stand all night when we went there. I'm
        pretty sure that was her doing reservations because
        when we told our waitress at the end of the meal
        that we had a general cooking question (about truffle
        oil) for the chef, the waitress went up to this hostess
        and then came back with her answer. Led us to wonder
        who was cooking the great food we were eating?
        Obviously not that same one who was fixing your lunch.

        Thanks for posting. Scratch that place!