The Hot Woks Cool Sushi owners are behind Asian Outpost, a spot for rustic-modern Asian fusion inspired by family recipes. That means dishes like garlic-ginger fried chicken and Grandma Lee's “famous steak,” sliced, Hong Kong-style New York strip with garlic and oyster sauce. Asian Outpost, 1315 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60605, 312-662-1100.
Azzurra comes courtesy of Marty Fosse (Anteprima, Acre, Bar Ombra), who knows his way around Italian fare. Here, it plays out simply, in an unpretentious setting in Wicker Park. A shareable spirit pervades, so expect the likes of crostini, stuffed farro arancini and pork loin wrapped in pancetta. Azzurra, 1467 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60622, 773-278-5959.
Matthias Merges’ Italian/French A10 offers up the likes of roasted garlic soup inflected with poppy seeds and green onions; wood-fired snails with rosemary oil; and a smoked Berkshire pork chop with Honeycrisp caponata and sage. Finish with a chocolate beignet, accented by toasted meringue and hazelnuts. A10, 1462 E. 53rd St., Chicago, IL 60615, 773-288-1010.
Gaston Acurio has fashioned one impressive Peruvian spot in Tanta, though it’s no surprise given he runs over 30 in 12 countries, including Astrid y Gaston in Lima, Peru. Here, though, the vibe is casual, with a lineup of ceviches (get a tasting), anticuchos (skewers) and Chinese-inspired Del Chifa dishes. Then there’s the signature pollo a la brasa, brined, crisp-skinned chicken with stewy white beans and arroz con choclo, rice stippled with big kernels of Peruvian corn. Finales include mazamorra crumble, a fruit crumble with almond crust. Tanta, 118 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60654, 312- 222-9700.
Built in 1892 by John Dusek as a public hall, Thalia Hall has been re-established as Dusek’s, where Jared Wentworth (Longman & Eagle) joins Bruce Finkelman and Craig Golden in offering a spot where American, Southern and Asian flavors shine. Expect dishes like fresh-shucked oysters; luxurious, butter-poached Maine lobster with smoked carrot purée, a trio of beans and black trumpet mushrooms in ramen broth, with Wittekerke; or a deviled pigtail rillette, plated with sweet, carrot-cucumber relish, fried potatoes and a paprika-cured egg yolk, then finished with celery foam. Be sure to get the seasonal ice cream sundae for dessert. If it’s caramelized honey ice cream with confit quince, warm quince syrup, lemon cream, maple praline walnuts and a shower of pomegranate seeds, you’re in luck. Dusek’s, 1227 W. 18th St., Chicago, IL 60608, 312-526-3851.
Dan Rosenthal (Trattoria No. 10) is behind Venetian newcomer Cicchetti, where veteran chef Michael Sheerin (Blackbird, Trenchermen) is in the kitchen, creating buzz-worthy Italian/Mediterranean plates. Not to be overlooked in this dream team is Phil Rubino (Acadia and Spiaggia) as sous chef and Sarah Jordan (Blackbird, Boka), who is whipping up desserts. The focus is on Venetian tapas, and that means Fontina-topped flatbreads with portobellos and crispy garlic; duck liver bruschetta with cocoa nibs; and ravioli filled with braised short ribs. Cicchetti, 671 N. Saint Clair St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-642-1800.
Paul Kahan has opened a rustic, seafood-centric Italian spot, Nico Osteria, in the Thompson Chicago. Good luck finding a table. If you do, however, you’ll be rewarded with Erling Wu-Bower’s Maine mussels in almond butter broth, whole-roasted fish and quail al'tonnato (quail in creamy tuna sauce), followed by pastry chef Amanda Rockman’s grapefruit meringata, rosewater-infused grapefruit with meringue and white chocolate Chantilly. Nico Osteria, Thompson Chicago, 1015 N. Rush St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-994-7100.
Summer House Santa Monica is a culinary collaboration from chef/partner Jeff Mahin (Stella Barra Pizzeria and M Street Kitchen in Southern California, Do-Rite Donuts & Coffee in Chicago), Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises and chef/partner Francis Brennan (formerly of L2O). The menu offers California-inspired fare such as fish tacos with guacamole, fennel slaw and salsa verde. Summer House Santa Monica, 1954 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60614, 773-634-4100.
Jack Weiss, the owner of Coco Pazzo and Coco Pazzo Cafe, has opened Tre Soldi in Streeterville. The restaurant’s name, which means “three coins,” was inspired by Rome’s famous Trevi Fountain. Signature dishes include thin-crust Roman-style pizza, fettuccine alla carbonara, and roasted sea bream scented with fennel. The chef is Brandon Wolff, an alum of the Signature Room at the 95th, One Sixty Blue and La Madia. Tre Soldi, 212 E. Ohio St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-664-0212.
Winter Prix-fixe Menu at Roy's
Roy's is offering a winter prix-fixe menu that will be available through March 23, 2014. Start with lobster bisque followed by pork osso buco. Butterscotch and miso budino provides a sweet ending. The cost is $36.95 per person (tax and gratuity not included). Roy's, One Superior Place, 720 N. State St., Chicago, IL 60610, 312-787-7599.
What’s Next at Next
Chef Grant Achatz has announced the upcoming menus for Next Restaurant. The early 2014 menu is themed around "Chicago Steak" with high-quality dry-aged beef. A modern Chinese menu will be created in May, followed by "Trio 2004" in September that revisits a menu chef Achatz served in January 2004 that helped lead to the creation of Alinea. Next Restaurant, 953 W. Fulton St., Chicago, IL 60607, http://www.nextrestaurant.com.
The Southern’s chef Cary Taylor has moved to Paul Kahan’s Big Star, where he took over for Justin Large. Taylor previously worked with Kahan at Blackbird. Big Star, 1531 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, IL 60622, 773-235-4039.
Lee Wolen is now the executive chef at Boka, replacing Giuseppe Tentori (GT Fish & Oyster). Boka, 1729 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60614, 312-337-6070.
Sarah Grueneberg has stepped down from her executive chef position at Tony Mantuano's Spiaggia. Chris Marchino has taken over. Spiaggia, One Magnificent Mile, 2nd Floor, 980 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-280-2750.
Ryan Poli left his positions at Mercadito Hospitality spots Tavernita and Little Market Brasserie. Guillermo Tellez, a Mexico native and Charlie Trotter alum, has assumed the roles. Poli remains a partner. Tavernita, 151 W. Erie St., Chicago, IL 60654, 312-274-1111.
Patrick Fahy left Sixteen and has re-emerged at Thomas Keller's The French Laundry. Aya Fukai has replaced him at Sixteen. Sixteen, Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, 401 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-588-8030.
Chris Curren is no longer running the Fifty/50 Group’s restaurants (Homestead, The Berkshire Room, West Town Bakery and Diner). Chris Davies (Acadia and Henri) is taking over at Homestead and The Berkshire Room. He will also oversee West Town Bakery and Diner with pastry chef Chris Teixeira. Davies previously worked with Curren at Blue 13. The Berkshire Room, ACME Hotel Company, 15 E. Ohio St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-894-0800.
Jellyfish has a new chef: Jason Im, who worked at Bar Charlie in Las Vegas as well as the defunct A Mano. The pan-Asian spot now serves the likes of buttermilk-marinated, battered Buffalo frogs' legs and Brunkow cheese curds with bacon and kimchi. Jellyfish, 1009 N. Rush St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-660-3111.
Chef Graham Elliot's eponymous restaurant graham elliot has shuttered. graham elliot, 217 W. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60654, no phone.
Storefront Company in Wicker Park has shuttered. Storefront Company, Flat Iron Building, 1941 W. North Ave., Chicago, IL 60622, no phone.
Lincoln Square's Italian restaurant La Bocca della Verita closed in January 2014. La Bocca della Verita, 4618 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60625, no phone.
Courtright's, which was named one of GAYOT's Top 10 Romantic Restaurants in the U.S. in 2012, has closed after nearly 20 years in business. Courtright's, 8989 Archer Ave., Willow Springs, IL 60480, no phone.
View archived news: January 2014 | December 2013 | November 2013 | October 2013 | September 2013 | August 2013 | July 2013 | June 2013 | May 2013 | April 2013 | March 2013 | February 2013 | January 2013 | December 2012 | November 2012 | October 2012 | September 2012 | August 2012 | July 2012 | June 2012 | May 2012 | April 2012 | March 2012 | February 2012 | January 2012 | December 2011 | November 2011 | October 2011 | September 2011 | August 2011 | July 2011 | June 2011 | May 2011 | April 2011 | March 2011 | February 2011 | January 2011 | December 2010 | November 2010 | October 2010 | September 2010 | August 2010 | July 2010 | June 2010 | May 2010 | April 2010 | March 2010 | February 2010 | January 2010 | December 2009 | November 2009 | October 2009 | September 2009 | August 2009 | July 2009 | June 2009 | May 2009 | April 2009 | March 2009 | February 2009 | January 2009 | December 2008 | November 2008 | October 2008 | September 2008 | August 2008 | July 2008 | June 2008 | May 2008 | April 2008 | March 2008