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For the most part we were impressed. Me, I think the casual amiability of Trattoria Pizzeria I Monelli and the superfresh Pho Xua (where I had the meat-filled betel leaves pictured) balanced the bad karma dumped on the universe by the wretched Paddy O'Splaine's and the checkered past of Chicago's Home of Chicken and Waffles. Hammond's arduous journey to Park 52 was rewarded by greatness at Mixteco Grill and exceeded expectations at Wrigleyville's Purgatory Pizza. Martha Bayne declared Great Lake another great pizzeria, and OK'd the south in her mouth at Big Jones. Irma Nuñez handed in the most informed review of Shochu ever, and Anne Spiselman sussed out some promising Middle Eastern items at Devon Avenue's Habibi.
See also Chocolate Grape, Couture Crepe Cafe, Shinobu, Skewerz, and Trattoria Isabella.
And coming soon: new reviews for Avenues with Curtis Duffy at the helm, Zed 451, and Jack Rabbit.