Dirk | Chicago Reader

Recent Reviews

We hoped our second visit would be better. Our first time through, we found the food very good and the service poor. Not much changed the second time. The food was very good to excellent. The escargot were tender, but far too salty. My wife had the Saumon au Croute, topped with a nice cream sauce. I had the rack of lamb with Merguez Sausage, an excellent dish with tender lamb in a red wine reduction, and a dollop of stone ground mustard for the sausage. Unfortunately, the service didn't match the food. Our first course was delivered to the next table by mistake. We received an apology from the waiter. Our neighbors meanwhile received a round of drinks because the cook forgot to put blue cheese on a salad that was to be ours. There was never an offer for more beverages, wine or water, and the wait staff generally seemed confused as to where food was supposed to go. With so many excellent French restaurants in Chicago, there is no reason to return to Cafe Matou.

Posted by Dirk Matthews on 07/14/2006 at 9:53 PM

Re: “Oasis Cafe

Tucked in the back of Wabash Jewelers Mall is Oasis Cafe, an unassuming restaurant focusing on Middle Eastern food. Everything I have had here is delicious. The falafel is the best in the downtown area, and the Wednesday special Oasis Lamb is outstanding. It comes with hummus, fava beans, rice, and pita for less than $7. On one recent visit, though, it seemed that they used beef instead of the usually tender lamb. Tables are few, and it looks like you are in the back of a jeweler's mall, so don't count on an eye appealing experience. Just let the tastebuds do the work.

Posted by Dirk Matthews on 03/16/2005 at 6:58 PM

We've only been here for brunch, and have enjoyed our selections each visit. The standouts are the iron skillet green chile hash and the smoky tomato ancho chili chilaquiles. Both pack a nice heat to them, and the portions are ample (especially the hash, which is only for the hearty appetite).

The room itself borders on obnoxious retro futuristic kitsch, and seems to draw posers to the Jetsons-like decor. Still can be fun, as long as you aren't surrounded by trixies.

Posted by Dirk Matthews on 03/12/2005 at 1:59 AM

Re: “Local Option

This is a long time favorite of ours. Plentiful seafood with a Cajun twist. Our favorites are the grouper sandwich, fish tacos (especially the seared tuna), and the oyster po'boy sandwich. Most items are served with a Cajun mayo to add a little zest. Portions are ample, and the sides are tasty.

Service is becoming a problem here. Frequently, there is only one waitress for the front bar and back restaurant. We were there on a Friday night, and there were only two people serving a busy crowd. When asked, the waitress said that usually only one person serves. If this keeps up, this will become our favorite carry-out place, as the lack of concern by the owners to staff properly can ruin a meal.

Posted by Dirk Matthews on 03/12/2005 at 1:39 AM

Re: “Lalo's

Two of my coworkers raved about Lalo's today, and after visiting tonight, I'm not sure why. The room is large, colorful, and by far the best part of the restaurant. Beyond that, drink lots of margaritas. You will need them to cut through the lard. Chips left a coating in your mouth. Good, spicy salsa. But things go downhill from there. I had one of the house specialties, the Carne Asada a la Tampiqueña. The first bite left my tongue confused, as if I had shaken a bottle of beef tenderizer on it by mistake. Halfway through the carne asada, I wished we had a dog that we could feed the leftovers to. My wife had another recommendation, the Enchiladas de Espinach, which was forgettable, overstuffed with onions as filler. The sour cream was the best part of this dish.

As we commiserated over our meal, we thought of all our favorite Mexican restaurants; De Cero, Abril, Uncle Julios, and our memory banks lodged a few of our forgotten Arizona favorites. Thanks for the memories, Lalo's.

Posted by Dirk Matthews on 11/16/2004 at 10:17 PM

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