Bucktown’s Chinese-American Hotspot Disappoints a Critic – Eater Chicago

Chef’s Special is a chef-driven take on American-Chinese cuisine in Bucktown that fails to live up to Michael Nagrant’s standards. The new restaurant and cocktail bar from the group behind Giant looks “Salvation Army-chic” and worse yet, struggles at improving classic staples. The huge egg rolls contain gigantic shrimp but aside from that, “you wouldn’t be able to pick this egg roll, or frankly, even the Chef’s Special crab rangoon out of a line-up of ten pu pu platters selected at random from all Chicago Chinese takeout joints.” The walnut shrimp is “barely sweet, tossed with bitter radicchio like some kind of cruise ship side salad, and you have to go full on Dora the Explorer to locate any of the tiny nut clusters.”

Beef chow fun is similarly bland and eats “like a tangle of microwaved Annie Chun’s,” while dry chili chicken “has the furor of a dollop of Sweet Baby Rays, and the whole thing woefully yearns for salt.” A few dishes do excel, such as the
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