May 23, 2017
May 16, 2017
Want to stay in the know about the hottest new restaurant and bars in Chicago? Put these six destinations at the top of your must-taste list for spring.
The Chef: Arun Sampanthavivat
The Skinny: Long before Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain were preaching the gospel of global cuisine to a generation raised on Top Chef and The Food Network, chef Arun Sampanthavivat was transporting Chicago foodies to the heart of Bangkok with his meticulously crafted Thai fare. After slipping off the radar in past years, the restaurant closed in January for a refresh—and now it’s back with a reinvented space and reimagined fine Thai cuisine (and, of course, craft cocktails). The prix fixe-only menus are still steep at $100 and $125 for 10 and 12 courses, but trust us—this is not your corner joint’s pad Thai.
Where: 4156 N. Kedzie Ave., 773-539-1909
ETA: Now open
The Chef: Veteran San Francisco-based chef Michael Mina
The Skinny: The Michelin-starred chef makes his debut in Chicago a splashy one with this upscale French bar/lounge/dining room in the heart of the Gold Coast, and a Paris-inspired menu of classic dishes like fruits de mer, cassoulet, roast chicken, and steak frites.
Where: Waldorf Astoria, 11 E. Walton St., Third Fl.
ETA: Early May
The Team: Chef Kevin Hickey and mixologist Brandon Phillips
The Skinny: Hickey and Rockit Ranch Productions have gone two-for-two with their collaborations on Bottlefork and The Duck Inn, and they’re aiming for three with this Italian cocktail bar a stone’s throw from the Chicago Brown Line stop in the heart of River North. As for menu highlights, the burrata panini sounds beyond decadent.
Where: 311 W. Chicago Ave., 312-234-0884
ETA: April 30
The Chef: Zoe Schor
The Skinny: Schor came out of nowhere to earn raves at DMK Restaurants’ Ada Street; now she’s going it alone with this industrial West Town spot, whose menu will tempt with dishes like “Fajitas, Reimagined” (skirt steak, creamy masa, caramelized onions, roasted red pepper gelée, and pickled jalapeños); and “A Study of Eggs” with a 63-degree hen egg, uni cream, Osetra caviar, and toasted brioche.
Where: 2500 W. Chicago Ave.
The Team: The Fifty/50 Group (Roots, Steadfast, Homestead on the Roof)
The Skinny: Formerly Vertigo Sky Lounge, the Dana Hotel and Spa’s rooftop nightlife destination returns as Apogee, where a menu of group-friendly, shareable cocktails crafted by mixologist extraordinaire Benjamin Schiller will be showcased in custom-made glassware by local artisans.
Where: Dana Hotel and Spa, 26th Fl., 660 N. State St., 312-202-6000
ETA: May 5
The Owner: Chris Haisma of hip drinking destinations The Betty and Sparrow
The Skinny: The vegetable craze continues with this Wicker Park destination, where former Bom Bolla chef Matt Lair will whip up vegetarian Cuban sandwiches and sweet carrot dumplings, plus burgers, roast chicken, and oysters for the carnivores.
Where: 2015 W. Division St., 773-697-8711
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY LEIGH LOFTUS/WE ARE LOFTUS (APOGEE); COURTESY ARUN’S; COURTESY Rockit Ranch Productions (otto mezzo)