Kari Skaflen

Gilt Bar (230 W. Kinzie St., 312-464-9544). Contemporary American.

  ½ (very good to excellent)

$$$ ($40–$49 per person for a meal, without tax, tip, or alcohol)

Judging from the perpetual crowds at this small-plate lounge, Brendan Sodikoff’s debut project continues to cook.

Decor is a mix of gilded and dark, but crackerjack servers keep things light, steering you through the menu of notched-up comfort food. Spreads, seasonal salads, and veggie-focused sides are worth sampling, but splurge on unapologetically hearty meat dishes, such as a deliciously seasoned 20- to 26-ounce slab of rib eye, or a Gunthorp Farms half chicken breast—the most succulent bird you’ll ever eat.

Cocktails are intriguing, but don’t overlook the impeccably curated beer list. Desserts, such as a plate of fudgy brownies, are simple yet satisfying.

Dishes We Liked: burrata with smashed peas, mint, and pickled ramps ($14); fava bean salad with farro, feta, almonds, and Champagne vinaigrette ($10); Gunthorp Farms chicken with oregano and roasted garlic ($19); 20- to 26-ounce coal-fired rib eye with béarnaise and Maldon steak salt ($43.75 to $46.25); raspberry sorbet ($4)


New restaurant reviews, updated to reflect critics’ recent visits, appear each month in Chicago magazine, in Dine, as well as on our website. Listed restaurants are rated from one to four stars, where one is good, two is very good, three is excellent, and four is superlative. Gemini Bistro’s rating increased from two stars to two and a half; Gilt Bar’s rating increased from one and a half stars to two and a half. The updated reviews appear in the April issue, on newsstands now.