In this week's Reader, Kristina Meyer is seduced by Maude's Liquor Bar, the Randolph Street restaurant from Brandon Sodikoff (Gilt Bar), where Alinea vet Jeff Pikus is offering charcuterie, classic French dishes like coq au vin and cassoulet, and majestic seafood towers, all in a luxe space anchored by a marble bar. Oddly, the last was behind her sole disappointment: the cocktail program, which is centered on too-sweet muddled "smashes."
Mike Sula reviews Salatino's, the reincarnation of the Taylor Street red-sauce joint Gennaro's, with daughter Mary Jo Gennaro herself in the kitchen overseeing the execution of her family’s old-school Italian recipes—including the legendary pork chops, thick-cut monsters piled with fried potatoes and sweet Italian peppers.
In Key Ingredient Jason McLeod—whose abrupt and so-far unexplained departure from Ria and Balsan was announced today—takes on asafetida, a pungent, foul-smelling spice commonly used in Indian food. McLeod mellowed its flavor by cooking it, and used it in both the braised potatoes and fennel-asafetida espuma he served with seared scallops. Next up is Chris Pandel of the Bristol, working with jujubes, aka Chinese dates—something McLeod admits he's never tried. "I went on the Internet and punched in 'unusual ingredient,' 'mystery ingredient,'" he said.
Morsels reports on the opening of two big French restaurants downtown: Bistronomic, Martial Noguier's new place in the former Eve space, and R.J. and Jerrod Melman’s Paris Club, a revamping of Brasserie Jo that opened last night.
Iin the listings are spots for French fare, among them Evanston's Bistro Bordeaux, where next week there will be dining by the light of hundreds of suspended candles; Henri, whose chef Dirk Flanigan cooked at NYC's James Beard House earlier this month; and Lincoln Square's LM Restaurant, which will be open for dinner on Sunday beginning this week.