Grilled ribeye tacos from Antique Taco
Budget: Antique Taco
This corner storefront’s happy vibe feels so natural it’s no wonder that Wicker Parkers like to linger over milk-bottle pitchers of rosemary-infused margaritas and baskets of chips. Order at the counter and you’ll get an old wooden spool with a number on it so a server can find you when your meal is ready. The spools—and some vintage kitchen tools for sale—help explain the “Antique” in the name. But there’s nothing old about the Mexican market food, which sparkles with fresh flavors.
Start with bold guacamole with pickled peppers ($6) or the crunchy Corn Off the Cob Salad ($7). Then it’s taco time: They come two to an order, their soft corn tortillas heaped with smartly sourced ingredients. The pork carnitas version ($7) holds tamarind-glazed meat, bacon, spinach, onion, avocado, and queso fresco; grilled rib eye ($8) is another winner, with heirloom tomato salsa, cilantro, onion, and queso Enchilado. Unexpected but equally fun is the masa biscuit with lobster gravy ($11), which surprises with its deeply flavorful sauce studded with shellfish and mushrooms. Finish with Abuelita’s Pop Tart ($5), stuffed with marshmallow and Mexican chocolate, or a lovely horchata milk shake ($4). 1360 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-687-8697.
Coming Soon: Baume & Brix
In 2005, Thomas Elliott Bowman went to Napa Valley to study enology. He lived down the street from the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone and ended up with a degree in baking and pastry from what he calls “arguably the best culinary school in the country.” Bowman also happens to be a savory chef who, for three years, worked both sides of the aisle with the Moto group (Moto, Otom, Ing). Now he’s teamed up with Steve Tavoso (Epic) and Jeff Krogh for Baume & Brix, where, as the executive chef and pastry chef, he will put focaccia with foie gras and Valrhona Nyangbo chocolate on the menu. Must be an appetizer—or a dessert. 351 W. Hubbard St.
Coming Soon: Jellyfish
“A mysterious gem that’s part New York and part Miami with Chicago hospitality” is how Jellyfish partner Josh Carl describes the atrium restaurant about to open above fashion retailers Ted Baker and Scoop NYC. “Tranquil, minimalist, and hip,” adds co-owner Joe De Vito (Moto). That’s a tall order for Rush Street, which is anything but. These guys promise, however, that once you enter their second-floor world of lounging (with wines, sakes, and inventive cocktails), sushi sharing (classic and signature rolls), and high-end dining (wagyu rib eye with uni Sriracha hollandaise), the experience will be golden—just like the neighborhood. 1009 N. Rush St., 312-660-3111.
Photograph: Anna KnottDining & Drinking