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Reviews

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Taste Cafe/Eat + Drink

The finger-friendly snacks offered at industrial-chic conversation nooks and in the cozier, fire-lit basement deliver the Taste flair familiar at brunch and dinner.

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Main Attraction: A Review of 10 West

Diners belly up to a gleaming custom-made community table crafted from bark-on slabs of poplar to devour 10-ounce Delmonicos and 14-ounce New York strips freshly cut at the nearby Cicero Market and Harbour Market.

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Dishes of the Year: Autumn Tartare at Bluebeard

The autumn tartare reminded me of why I love watching chefs like John and Abbi Adams evolve—they’ve created unique dishes that are completely their own.

The maxed-out 317 Cheeseburger at 317 Burger
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The Flip Side: A Review of 317 Burger

Customized DIY creations can be adorned with a la carte options that include seven types of bacon, 10 cheeses, and other add-ons as random as apple chutney and chicken gravy.

Eat + Drink, the new lounge next door to Taste Cafe, gets funky with small plates and cocktails.
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Nice Addition: A Review of Eat + Drink

Deep leather club chairs and tufted sofas? You won’t find any of those old cocktail-lounge frills here, Grampa. What surprises is how this snug, graffiti-chic space reimagines the concept of boozy swank.

Shoefly Public House
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Worth the Wait: A Review of Shoefly Public House

Craig Mariutto knew his customers weren’t just going to expect a shoofly pie; they were going to expect a good shoofly pie.

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Rook Report: Banh Mi in Fletcher Place

The Nighthawk is a modified version of the nam sausages from Northern Thailand, where the links ferment as they hang.

Bloomington-based Upland Brewing Company brings a twinkle-lit deck to the northern suburbs.
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Draft Party: A Review of Upland's Carmel Tap House

Whether or not you buy into the marketing, Upland’s award-winning ales, lagers, and sour beers have been around since 1998—part of the original surge of high-quality Indiana craft brews to wash over the enlightened guzzling public.

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Mas Appeal: A Review of Delicia

Prior to ordering, guests are served an amuse bouche of warm, salty sancocho—a slow-cooked beef-and-chicken broth that servers describe as a welcoming stew. The soup is surprisingly addictive, with an intense flavor like that of the stock cooked off of ham-and-bean soup.

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Second Story: Plum's Upper Room

Entrees demonstrated Clarks’ Chef’s Academy training best, and there was a contemporary nod among the desserts at this place with its heart in the past.

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Toast of the Town: A Review of Plat 99

Though the core list of spirits is limited at Plat 99, there is a sweet emphasis on boutique boozes and local hard liquors.

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Are You Game? A Review of Latitude 39

Latitude 39, a rambling family-entertainment center laid out in the gutted multiplex at Clearwater Crossing, contains not only a large dining room built around an open kitchen and a ceramic-tiled pizza hearth, but also a dine-in cinema, a dinner theater, and a sports theater with full food-and-beverage service. Not that you would notice any of these. The fact that you can eat here gets lost somewhere between the row of Skee-ball ramps and the 20-lane luxury bowling alley with disco balls and white leather sofas.

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The Art of the Meal: A Review of Cerulean

I glanced up from my butternut-and-acorn squash salad just as a group of business-dressed women in CityWay hard hats filed past Cerulean’s courtyard windows—on what looked like a guided tour of this $155 million mixed-use complex-in-the-making. When complete, the downtown site will house a boutique hotel, townhomes, shops, a park, a YMCA, and this gorgeous fishbowl of a restaurant where lunch arrives in westernized polished-walnut bento boxes. I wondered, as I plucked bites of balsamic-glazed pork loin, green beans spiked with vinaigrette, and spicy chorizo–crumbled potatoes from their individual compartments, if that tour group was as captivated by the soaring modern floorplan as I was by my lunch. It’s easy to get excited about this much new-urban design and sauce-painted dishware. But should we resist the temptation to fawn over all the pretty plates? Does the style have substance? Or have we fallen under the spell of a very impressive dog-and-pony show?

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Total Knockout: A Review of Punch Burger

With all due respect to the breaded tenderloin, burgers are getting a lot of attention right now. And this meat-patty crush has nothing to do with size or the fripperies of melted cheese and mayo. In the land of exalted greasy spoons and seasoned backyard grills, the virtue of a burger has everything to do with the quality, the flavor, and (at a time when dishes wear their farm-raised/locally sourced origins like designer labels) the provenance of the meat itself. Hence: the love fest that occurred when downtown’s quick-casual Punch Burger opened its doors in October.

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Nouveau Riche: A Review of Indigo Duck

On the other end of the phone line, the server stammered and asked if I could hold for a moment. And then, speaking loudly over the din of background noise … “We might be able to get you a table at 7:15, but it will probably be closer to 7:30 or 7:45.” Or, she said, I could eat at the bar—if I could find a place to sit.

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