Chop Suey Fooey (or the usual friday rant)
- Vital Information
Pat Bruno takes on chinese food once again in today's sun times (link below). maybe this place, house of emperor, has great food. far be it for me to comment on a place that i have never been. still, the tone and content of the review and most of all its total lack of respect towards actual chinese food just drives me absolutely nuts, nuts!!
chicago may not be vancouver or new york or san francisco when it comes to chinese food, but our chinese resturants do possess deliciousness. delicousness if one knows where to go and what to eat.
one can find just in the realm of the underpopulated chinatown mall: wonderously spicy, real sichuan at Lao Sze Chuan, great values in classic cantonesse at happy chef, and unique yunnan style food at spring world. not to forget the oddly menued hon kee, the pan asian classics and techno-colored drinks at joy yee, the big bowls of noodles at seven treasures, and the dim sum available at several spots. post prandials can easily come from the aptly named ichiban munchee.
but do we see any of these places in the papers. no, no, no, no, no, no. does it matter how good a resturant is, when the review centers on crab rangoon, sweet and sour chicken, fried rice, vegetable sub gum and pot stickers. of course, bruno mentions tanks of live lobsters and live crabs and multi-generaltional tables of chinese families, but the review never mentions what the lobsters or crabs taste like. do we learn what those family's of chinese eat? it is like we take all the french inspired resturants (trotters, carlos, tru, zealous, le francaise, yoshi's les nomande, etc.) and rated them on how well they did coq au vin, steak diane, and simple terrines, and never cared what else they made.
the ability of our papers to educate, to identify, to inform so lacks. on the other hand, the tribune actually runs a review today...
God, I had responding to my own posts, but I just came across the antithesis of pat bruno, and I thought I should point it out.
Laura Levy Shatkin does resturants every so often in the Reader. I am not just plugging her because I have seen her before on chowhound. It's that she's a hell of a lot closer to chowhound in her reviews.
This week's issue gets us a review of an un-noticed Italian place that does not even appear to serve fried calamari! a Bosnian place and a yuppie place, nice mix.
I happened to follow the link to her previous review. Again, a nice mix. Her review of Silver Seafood was everything that Bruno's reviews are not. Compare:
"Skip the pot stickers and egg rolls on the English-language menu and ask for the Chinese menu instead, which has English translations and offerings like fried crab claws, braised cuttlefish, and boneless duck web."
to Bruno's garbage. He'd review Silver Seafood and comment ONLY on the pot stickers and egg rolls and enlish language menu.
re: Vital Information
I also enjoy Laura Levy Shatkins reviews in the Reader. Im not as thrilled with the endlessly recycled Zagat-style paragraphs that--other than ads--make up the bulk of the Readers restaurant section. I also enjoy reading Don Rose, who doesnt contribute to the Reader as often as Id like.
Have you seen the October issue of UR, another Chicago free weekly? Theres a 4 page article by Brad Cawn on 20 unique Chicago restaurants. Its not perfect but its so much more interesting than many similar articles. Sure, he mentions Aruns, Tru, and a few other obvious choices. But theres also Lems, Hot Dougs, Silver Seafood, and some other interesting places discussed knowledgeably. A good effort and well worth a look. In the same issue theres an article on Filberts root beer, some local food tours, and a bunch of local chefs choices.