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1466 N. Ashland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

Critic’s Notes

This singular, haute BYO (fee is $2.50 per person) may be named for a neutral vowel, but there’s nothing neutral about the food. Schwa’s distinctive style stems from deft sweet touches in savory courses—such as cardamom marshmallow in an antelope-carrot dish—and mad-scientist combinations that spring to life, such as carbonated pear with caviar, white chocolate, malt, and basil. Ingenious tasting menus make $110 seem like a bargain. The seriousness of the food belies the casual-to-flippant (and obnoxiously loud) atmosphere, where chefs serve adequately as waiters and negligently as reservationists. You can only book a table by calling. And calling. And calling. But keep trying. Weekday afternoons offer the best chances of getting through.

Dishes We Liked

(All dishes are part of a tasting menu.) Sardines with brioche, black garlic, and white asparagus; quail egg raviolo; tagliatelle with rabbit, foie gras, gooseberries, and Taleggio; carbonated pear, olive oil powder, osetra caviar, basil, malt, and white chocolate; candied pork belly with strawberries, fava beans, and beer; antelope with carrots, gingerbread, and cardamom marshmallow; honey, yuzu, and chamomile dessert

Additional Information:

Price: $50-plus
Cuisine: Contemporary
Neighborhood: Bucktown/Wicker Park
Noteworthy: BYO (up to $5 corkage)
High noise level
Telephone reservations
Hours: D Tue-Sat.
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