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Citrine and evolving Oak Park scene

Citrine and evolving Oak Park scene
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  • Post #811 - November 7th, 2021, 12:33 pm
    Post #811 - November 7th, 2021, 12:33 pm Post #811 - November 7th, 2021, 12:33 pm
    Victory Italian was decent last night but not great. Clams had no discerning flavor other than an over abundance of lemon. The mixed grill however more than made up for it.

    Chicken Cacciatore was bland and for some reason used a pounded boneless, skinless breast. Linguine with clams in white wine sauce and lamb chops were both every good.

    The Neapolitan bomb was a very nice end to the meal.

    Overall a B, maybe a B+.
  • Post #812 - November 7th, 2021, 4:20 pm
    Post #812 - November 7th, 2021, 4:20 pm Post #812 - November 7th, 2021, 4:20 pm
    zoid wrote:Victory Italian was decent last night but not great.


    Interesting! Couldn't get a reservation there so wound up at Citrine. Which was great. Our whole party wasn't feeling too hungry, but all the dishes were hits. I had the eggplant gateau which had a really tasty tomato sauce and ricotta on the side. Other items - cheeseburger, salmon, squash raviolis - delivered as well.

    No complaints at all.
  • Post #813 - December 17th, 2021, 7:43 pm
    Post #813 - December 17th, 2021, 7:43 pm Post #813 - December 17th, 2021, 7:43 pm
    Ok, so, my prejudice got the best of me again.

    Gringo and Blondie's.

    I thought you guys were pimping the tallest little person. Major strikes against it in my mind:
    1. Proximity to Alpine
    2. Proximity to Johnnies
    3. It's too close to the Peoples' Republic of O.P.

    I got invited to a lunch today with an old buddy, and he also said this place was pretty good. I figured what the heck. Thoroughly impressed. I assumed these would be 5 dollar Chipotle level joke tacos, but honestly, this is some REALLY good eats here. 12.99 lunch special of 3 tacos, rice/beans AND a drink was a borderline bargain. The steak was real, the chicken was actually good, and the fish tacos were a damn fine rendition. Nothing was overseasoned or over cooked. Their salsa game was on the weaker side, but that's almost trivial because the tacos were so good. I imagine they have to keep it tame for the customer base. The verde was barely passable - more just like a limey/tangy flavor, and the roja had a touch of roastiness, and a little bit of a chile bite, so it was better. Wish I'd tried this place out long ago. Asada and fish were the stars for me, but the chicken was fine, too. The fish tacos are included in the lunch special offering. That would make a pretty tough lunchtime decision for me. Heresy, I bet, but I'd rank the fish tacos a notch above a Johnnie's beef. They almost break into Johnnie's Combo territory - but, I really like a good fish taco. I know a lot of folks think Alpine is too skimpy with their sammich fillings, but that's another place that's right next door, that I absolutely LOVE. Tough choices in those few blocks, I guess.

    Gringo & Blondie's is no joke.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #814 - December 18th, 2021, 9:56 am
    Post #814 - December 18th, 2021, 9:56 am Post #814 - December 18th, 2021, 9:56 am
    I'm new to the People's Republic so when a friend and neighbor recommended Gringo and Blondie's as a lunch choice for me and my Mexican friends who were helping me blow up my garden, I was, uh, skeptical. The name is bold but I'd respond better to the provocation if it was in Little Village instead of Oak Park. But damn if these weren't some solid tacos. Not destination but I'm glad they're nearby. As seabee mentions the green sauce was lacking, the red sauce better. But I generally take my tacos with onions and cilantro alone and both the asada and the fish were quite good. Definitely a cut above.
  • Post #815 - December 18th, 2021, 2:45 pm
    Post #815 - December 18th, 2021, 2:45 pm Post #815 - December 18th, 2021, 2:45 pm
    If good, reasonably priced tacos are on your radar, all one needs to do is head west on Lake Street into Melrose Park. Los Camales and Don Alfredo will quickly and authentically satisfy your taco desires. Then scurry back to O.P. without anyone knowing you are gone—other than onions and cilantro on your breath. (Less noticeable today with a mask). Enjoy!
  • Post #816 - December 20th, 2021, 12:32 pm
    Post #816 - December 20th, 2021, 12:32 pm Post #816 - December 20th, 2021, 12:32 pm
    Speaking of tacos: Taco El Tio #4 is open in the old Five Guys and seems a nice add to the neighborhood. The vibe is perhaps more Melrose Park than Oak Park, with a big menu including huaraches, pambazos and sopes in addition to the usual tacos and tortas. Soups on the weekend, including birria de res and menudo. I had the birria de res and loved it, lightly spicy and salty, with tons of meat that filled a couple of huge hand-made tortillas. I also had a cabeza taco which had great texture but was maybe just a little bland. The red and green salsas helped but were also fairly tame. The rest of the family was happy with al pastor and steak tacos. I'll go back, especially for the soup.
  • Post #817 - December 20th, 2021, 12:41 pm
    Post #817 - December 20th, 2021, 12:41 pm Post #817 - December 20th, 2021, 12:41 pm
    tazerowe wrote:Speaking of tacos: Taco El Tio #4 is open in the old Five Guys and seems a nice add to the neighborhood. The vibe is perhaps more Melrose Park than Oak Park, with a big menu including huaraches, pambazos and sopes in addition to the usual tacos and tortas. Soups on the weekend, including birria de res and menudo. I had the birria de res and loved it, lightly spicy and salty, with tons of meat that filled a couple of huge hand-made tortillas. I also had a cabeza taco which had great texture but was maybe just a little bland. The red and green salsas helped but were also fairly tame. The rest of the family was happy with al pastor and steak tacos. I'll go back, especially for the soup.


    Very much agreed, and also their flan in the refrigerator case is a knockout.
  • Post #818 - January 26th, 2022, 9:04 am
    Post #818 - January 26th, 2022, 9:04 am Post #818 - January 26th, 2022, 9:04 am
    Just to put in my 2 cents for Taco El Tio #4, I have been there four times and on the whole I have found it extremely delicious. So far I have tried tacos of various types, including the steak, tripe, brisket, al pastor, "steamed head" ie cabeza, chicken and tongue, as well as nachos, quesadilla, guacaomole and menudo.

    The tripe taco has been particularly good, and trying it "crispy" was nice as well. On 2 of the 4 trips the steak taco was excellent, easily on par with Don Alfredo in my opinion, although on the other days it was rather dry. I would skip the chicken taco and the quesadilla, and the tacos al pastor and menudo were fine but I wouldn't get them again, but all the other tacos were very tasty, especially if you add one of the two salsas (a green avocado based one that is pretty mild and a slightly spicier red one).

    Overall I am very happy to have this rather authentic Mexican place in Oak Park, so that I finally can eat some good Mexican very close to home. I have found going on Taco Tuesday might be the best time, since they tend to have a heavy take out going and everything seems to be fresh on that night. That being said, the deal for Taco Tuesday is 5 taco al pastors for $12.99, and unfortunately that is one of my least favorite tacos they make, so we just go and get the regular menu items.

    Just to juxtapose this new place to the new Mexican on Madison (Taco '76), I have gone once there for lunch and found it much more "Americanized". The food was fine, but I wouldn't go back anytime soon.
    "My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people."

    -Orson Welles-
  • Post #819 - April 14th, 2022, 3:22 pm
    Post #819 - April 14th, 2022, 3:22 pm Post #819 - April 14th, 2022, 3:22 pm
    Any news on Kyuramen? I think it was slated to open in early summer, but of course, that did not happen (as far as I know) and I haven't seen any fresh updates.


    I went on the second opening day (last week, early April 2022) and it was actually very, very good. The tonkotsu shouyu broth was some of the best I have had in Chicago, and the chashu pork melted in your mouth. Good wavy noodles as well.

    We spoke with one of the owners and he said they cook the tonkotsu pork bones for 4 days, so I just hope they keep up with that.

    We also tried the popcorn chicken (came with the order when you pick a combination meal) which had good flavor but was a bit overly salted.

    The Sapporo Miso ramen was good but not on the same level as the Tokyo tonkotsu. We also got the matcha pudding with red bean (a bit too much gelatin and the red bean seemed to actually take away from the pudding) and the Japanese cherry blossom jelly, which was refreshing and delicious.

    The space itself is very well done and inviting, and the staff were great although slightly overwhelmed as expected on the second day of opening. We plan on possibly going again tonight depending on how long the lines are. They have other ramen (straight shouyu, shio, thai tom yam, curry and even chicken with a chicken broth) but it will be hard not to order that tonkotsu broth again.

    So great to finally have a very good ramen place in the area!!!!!
    "My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people."

    -Orson Welles-
  • Post #820 - April 18th, 2022, 10:44 am
    Post #820 - April 18th, 2022, 10:44 am Post #820 - April 18th, 2022, 10:44 am
    We tried Kyuramen this weekend and I was maybe a bit more disappointed. My wife and son each had the tonkotsu, one shio, one shoyu. I tried both broths and found them OK, but lacking in umami in a way that made them come off simply sweet/salty. Most notable, my ramen-obsessed son didn't finish his bowl. I had spicy tonkotsu and asked for it "spicy," the middle of 3 spice categories. It was decent, and rather hot. All-in, the ramen was OK but I prefer Wasabi, Ban Nai (admittedly a different style), and others. Katy's will remain my local Asian noodle soup fix, along with homemade from Ramen Lord's book.

    The pork buns, on the other hand, were very good, and a bit spicy from a dollop of yuzu kosho (labeled "sauerkraut" pepper, which seems to be the trendy translation for pickled vegetables in Asian restaurants). The bread itself was above average, quite large and very fluffy, and the pork tender and fatty.
  • Post #821 - April 23rd, 2022, 6:04 pm
    Post #821 - April 23rd, 2022, 6:04 pm Post #821 - April 23rd, 2022, 6:04 pm
    tazerowe wrote:OK, so one I didn't expect: per Downtown Oak Park, Marion Street is getting a Japanese ramen / omurice restaurant! Part of a Taiwanese chain, with a branch in Flushing, NY:

    Kyuramen
    https://www.kyuramen.com/

    I'd be perhaps even more excited if it was a Japanese chain, but I'm game and local ramen would be quite an add.

    Open. https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/ ... story.html
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #822 - April 23rd, 2022, 6:51 pm
    Post #822 - April 23rd, 2022, 6:51 pm Post #822 - April 23rd, 2022, 6:51 pm
    Dave148 wrote:
    tazerowe wrote:OK, so one I didn't expect: per Downtown Oak Park, Marion Street is getting a Japanese ramen / omurice restaurant! Part of a Taiwanese chain, with a branch in Flushing, NY:

    Kyuramen
    https://www.kyuramen.com/

    I'd be perhaps even more excited if it was a Japanese chain, but I'm game and local ramen would be quite an add.

    Open. https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/ ... story.html


    Not sure I'd trust that byline.
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #823 - May 31st, 2022, 10:23 am
    Post #823 - May 31st, 2022, 10:23 am Post #823 - May 31st, 2022, 10:23 am
    I'll toss out something. We recently ate at Little Gem Cafe and enjoyed it. Our Caesar salad and chopped salads were delicious. Would return there. Pleasant restaurant with a few out door tables. On Marion Street.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #824 - May 31st, 2022, 1:18 pm
    Post #824 - May 31st, 2022, 1:18 pm Post #824 - May 31st, 2022, 1:18 pm
    Another vote for Kyuramen! My twins who speak Japanese were helpful in that the Japanese text on the menu is a little more descriptive.
    Definitely going back!
  • Post #825 - July 12th, 2022, 7:04 pm
    Post #825 - July 12th, 2022, 7:04 pm Post #825 - July 12th, 2022, 7:04 pm
    We tried Kyuramen this weekend and I was maybe a bit more disappointed.


    Tazcrowe wrote the above after commenting on my initial perhaps overly exuberant review of Kyuramen, and after eating there several more times, I can agree that my excitement over a new good ramen place only a few blocks from my house might have clouded my judgement.

    I still contend that the restaurant overall is a very good one to go to, and the service has been excellent every time, but after having the shouyu broth several times I realize it is perhaps a little too sweet and lacking in some depth and umami. That being said, when I had the Korean Kimchi Ramen, the broth was perfectly tempered thanks to the kimchi and I found it an extremely satisfying bowl.

    Also, if you are hungry, definitely try the omurice. It is well prepared and resting over a bed of stir fried rice, and when they gently split it open and the lightly cooked egg oozes out, it's a thing of beauty. We had it with the tonkatsu (pretty unnecessary) and demi glace sauce, but next time would try the curry sauce to see if it adds a little more oomph.

    Again, all in all I would say it's a wonderful and much needed addition to the Oak Park dining scene and to try it out if you haven't yet.

    On another note, someone recently told me that The Onion Roll now makes bagels, and they said they were very very good. I am inclined to discount that comment, but they are originally from the east coast and swore they were the best in the area, so this weekend we will try it out. If anyone has any comments I would love to hear them.
    "My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people."

    -Orson Welles-
  • Post #826 - July 15th, 2022, 7:59 am
    Post #826 - July 15th, 2022, 7:59 am Post #826 - July 15th, 2022, 7:59 am
    The new Onion Roll bagels are indeed great, and it's nice to have another option besides Daly Bagels (who I actually prefer). The ramen place, too, I like having here, even if I am as unlikely to go back as I am to Q BBQ. I've already heard good things about Betty's Pizza, the New York-style (supposedly) pizza place run by the Kettlestrings crew. I'm intrigued, if only because no place in the Chicago area has ever really mastered (and few even offered) a NYC pie, though I'm not sure why I would go that route when there are so many incredible Neapolitan options.

    Also, in just across the border news, I heard the amazing Chubby's Char Shack (which is currently closed but if I heard correctly moving to either Forest or Oak Park) has at least in the meantime rebranded as Big Shrimpin', for your fried seafood (and frog leg) needs. And Big Guys is transitioning to ... actually, I'm not sure what their strategy is; a lot of their menu looks the same. But having raised a ton of money from fans they're supposedly pivoting to something simpler.
  • Post #827 - July 15th, 2022, 8:14 am
    Post #827 - July 15th, 2022, 8:14 am Post #827 - July 15th, 2022, 8:14 am
    That’s good to hear about The Onion Roll. I really like The Daily Bagel for the most part so it will be good to compare. I’m also hoping the Onion Roll’s whitefish salad is up to par but my hopes are low.

    As for Betty’s Pizza and Pasta, we went last weekend and had the vodka pizza. While the taste was pretty good and interesting with a vodka sauce, I personally was quite disappointed with the crust. Although not bad by any means it was definitely too firm and crisp to really call it a New York style pizza. Not even sure I would go back.

    By the way I admit Q BBQ doesn’t have much I want to go back for - except their smoked wings. Maybe not that smoky, but something about the sweet and savory dry rub has me wanting to order them again every few months, along with a heaping pile of hush puppies.
    "My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people."

    -Orson Welles-
  • Post #828 - July 15th, 2022, 11:46 am
    Post #828 - July 15th, 2022, 11:46 am Post #828 - July 15th, 2022, 11:46 am
    As I believe I've said upthread, Q is OK if you go at lunch and the stuff is closer to being out of the cookers.

    Was surprised how mediocre I found the ramen place. I'm not a reflective anti-chain guy. I'm happy with Sweet Green, Currito, Chipotle, and Nando's all on Lake, but the ramen place tasted very, well, overly commercial, like canned ramen stock or something.

    I have not tried Betty's, but I'm quite annoyed with all the people on Take Out 25, the "I've lived here for 15 years and finally Oak Park has real pizza" people, so maybe on principle I'll wait.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #829 - July 31st, 2022, 4:18 pm
    Post #829 - July 31st, 2022, 4:18 pm Post #829 - July 31st, 2022, 4:18 pm
    I have eaten at Fiore pizzeria and bakery a couple of times and have really enjoyed it. Some of the standouts for us have been the margarita pizza, beet salad and rigatoni. It is a fun and colorful place. A couple of friends and I stopped by for lunch and had a great time.

    Fiore pizzeria and bakery
    7407 Madison St, Forest Park, IL 60130
    708.771.3063
    https://www.fiorebakes.com/
  • Post #830 - August 1st, 2022, 7:42 am
    Post #830 - August 1st, 2022, 7:42 am Post #830 - August 1st, 2022, 7:42 am
    I really like Fiore but I've discovered it's far better on-site than delivered. That's probably "duh" when it comes to any pizza but Fiore's product is a delicate, thin little flower and it gets cool quickly, even if the delivery is prompt.
  • Post #831 - August 1st, 2022, 9:24 am
    Post #831 - August 1st, 2022, 9:24 am Post #831 - August 1st, 2022, 9:24 am
    I am also a fan of Fiore. Really enjoyed their mushroom pizza and their sweet corn pizza. I'd also to put a plug in for the bakery/market side of the operation. It has only recently opened. I think they are still working through some kinks, but I really appreciate what they are trying to do. It is not Gaetano's Market, but does check some of the same boxes with fresh pasta, pre-made sauce, pastries, sandwiches, wine, and even some produce. In particular, I want to call out the caprese sandwich which very cleverly and effectively used their pizza crust as the "bread." It was a very good sandwich.

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