15. Rustic House

Since the fall of 2001, when Paskewitz hit town from New York as executive chef of Wave in the W Hotel, he has wowed us (JP Chicago), disappointed us (Sangria), and charmed us (Gemini Bistro). But when Rustic House opened last June, Paskewitz confused us. Inside the inviting neighborhood hideaway, about the only thing you could count on was the constantly rotating rotisserie built into the back wall. Service and preps were inconsistent at best. But lately it has all come together, and from the wood-grilled octopus with charred greens to the spit-roasted half duck (more sweet, crispy orange chips with that, please!) to the goopy blondie brownie dessert, Paskewitz never bores us.

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Price symbols indicate the typical cost of a meal (without tax, tip, or alcohol) per person.
¢ … under $20 | $ … $20 to $29 | $$ … $30 to $39 | $$$ … $40 to $49 | $$$$ … $50-plus