Lincoln: Restaurant Guide 2014

3808 N Williams Ave., 288-6200,

[GO BIG OR STAY HOME] Sometimes, you get great introductions to lauded chefs through their more casual second joints—see Naomi Pomeroy's Expatriate or Cathy Whims' Oven and Shaker. Not so with Jenn Louis. Sunshine Tavern, Louis' burger-flippin', shuffleboard puck-tossin' faux dive bar on Southeast Division Street is a big letdown, and makes even less sense after you've dropped into the upscale Lincoln. Why doesn't Sunshine offer Lincoln's incredible cornmeal-crusted onion rings with smoked paprika aioli ($7)? They're an afterthought next to the grilled octopus here, but capable of making any bar an instant legend. Why not do a slightly downscale version of the spaccatelli ($18) with a sauce of salami and smoked tallow? Why not bring over the Mediterranean flatbread for a simple Sunshine gyro, instead of serving it with roasted lamb neck, onions and tzatziki and mint sauces? Why not make something like the show-stopping panzanella special, a bread salad with mustard and eggplant puree? The reason, I suppose, is that a special talent like Louis can't be two places at once. Until she's cloned, come to Lincoln. MARTIN CIZMAR.

Pro tip:

Listen carefully to the specials. All the best dishes we had were one-offs.

5:30-close Tuesday-Saturday. $$$.

WWeek 2015

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