In this week's Food & Drink
Mike Sula reviews Frog N Snail
, erstwhile Top Chef
contestant Dale Levitski's new Lakeview successor and "little sister" to Sprout
, the Lincoln Park fine-dining restaurant he and his team pruned back into life. Here he's launched a casual, eclectic "midwestern bistro" that doubles as a coffeehouse during the day and a seasonally driven dining room at lunch and dinner, where you'll find creative takes on standards like brandade (here served fried in the form of "stix"), ratatouille (made with poussin and a basil-scented bread crumb that transforms it into Mediterranean chicken and stuffing), and grilled "carpaccio" with Lolla Rosa lettuce leaves, asparagus, and truffled egg yolk on toast. "Brightly colored and lovely" though dishes such as the Ossau-Iraty salad (pictured) may be, they're not, in Sula's estimate, "going to change the world, or even put much of a dent in the restaurant scene the way Sprout did." But, he concedes, that's a pretty high standard to set, particularly for a stretch of Lakeview where the competition's Flub a Dub Chub
("Come in hungry, leave with a chubby").
In Key Ingredient, Wit pastry chef Toni Roberts (Roof, State and Lake), challenged with sheep's milk, makes a push pop with vanilla-rosemary sheep's-milk ice cream, pineapple sorbet sparked with star anise, and pineapple sherbet combined with sheep-milk yogurt—"together it's a Creamsicle," she said. Next up is Dave Ford of the Bluebird, working with strawberries and rhubarb. "If I know Dave Ford," Roberts warned, "he's probably going to add pork to the mix."