A while back we were discussing the state of resturant reviews in our blustery town. It was mentioned that we do not have an equivilant cheap eats maven writing in Chicago like Leff, Gold, Asimov or Seittsma. Instead, we get the Tribune's weekly cheap eats column.
What actually made me think of this, this morning, was how good the William Rice review was compared to how bad the reviews typically are. The general thrust of a trib cheap eats review seems to be one of critisism. Instead of celebrating an ethic find or a hole-in-the-wall making it on effort, the reviews tend to zero in on faults. Compare, for instance, the Monica Eng Lao Sze Chuan review to our own experiences there. Mostly, though, the cheap eats write-ups fail to capture the specialiness of a place.
A good case in point was the review of Massa a few weeks ago. The raison d'etre for Massa is its homemade italian style ice cream. Actual gelato that is hard to duplicate elsewhere in our metro area. Yet, the ice cream was rather glossed over in a review that seemed only to find fault. As it was pointed out to me by another chowhound, if the trib reviewed the penguin, they would write extensivly on the state of their pizza.
At least today's review captured some sense of a chow find. William Rice, forced, by the header driven format of the review, had to find something to "take a pass", to his credit he refused to follow the spirit.