I Once Was Lost
After searching for a space in Andersonville for a year and a half, Amy Morton (Mirador, Blue Room) found what will be Found (1631 Chicago Ave., Evanston, no phone yet) nearer to her home in Evanston. The space will sport decor inspired by the 1920s to 1950s, described in greater detail in this Q&A at chicagomag.com. The locally focused menu ranges from drink-and-a-bite options to once-a-week-type meals. The name also refers to Morton’s sense of purpose, which she plans to demonstrate by hiring for entry-level positions from “marginalized communities.” She plans to found Found in October.
Faster, Higher, Tastier
After giving up on a career path toward architecture, Erika Stone-Miller drafted several business plans that didn’t really inspire her: a tea company, a fresh baby food company, an American tapas restaurant. All the while, she made kooky ice cream, in flavors like garlic and tomato-basil, for her friends’ parties—but as a hobby. It didn’t click until someone told her she should do it for a living, and two years later, her food truck, Ice3 (that is, Ice Cubed), skated onto the streets July 19. (Follow it here.) Because Stone-Miller drives the truck, she needed to hire a chef. She used a three-step process. First, “I put an ad on Craigslist: ‘Slightly crazy ice cream chefs needed,’” she says. She got 70 responses, interviewed 25, and then invited ten to an ice-cream-off she called the Ice Cream Olympics. The gold medalist, Adam Harralson (The Gage, Henri), made rosemary ice cream with plum cake, plum butter, and walnuts. On the truck, most pops cost $3.50 or $5, but Harralson created a $9 layered ice pop called the Prix Fixe that takes buyers through a five-course meal—prosecco, arugula and beet salad, prosciutto, veal ragoût with tomato confit, and tiramisu. We’re not going to lie—we may be more excited about this win than Matt Grevers’s backstroke gold.
“Cheese—milk’s leap toward immortality.” —Clifton Fadiman (1904–1999), American intellectual, author, editor, and radio and television personality
Vincent (1475 W. Balmoral Ave., 773-334-7168) began life as a Dutch restaurant under the chef/owner Joncarl Lachman. When he left the business, the chef Chrissy Camba took over the kitchen amid conversion to a more general European bistro, and Camba’s old boss from Sage Grille in Highwood, Adam Grandt, was hired as her sous chef. Now Camba has left and Grandt takes top toque. “Vincent and I are a very good match,” Grandt says. “It will be home for a while.” New menu items include a pork belly BLT-style sandwich with tomato-bacon jam, frisée, red onion, Parmesan, and warm bacon vinaigrette on crostini. A few remnants of the Dutch past remain, including mussels (serendipitously, Grandt’s coconut-curry mussels from Sage Grille fit right in) and the pea soup snert. Vincent was named after Van Gogh, a paragon of Dutchness, but now that only a few Dutch elements remain, the conceptual link is mostly severed. So we guess Vincent the restaurant is to Van Gogh as Van Gogh was to his ear.
Stephanie Mazzone (Bistro Banlieue, Blue Water Grill, Osteria di Tramonto, Coco Pazzo) has been named the new pastry chef at MK (868 N. Franklin St., 312-482-9179). Here’s what she told us (condensed and edited) about the birth of a new dessert that went on the menu last Friday:
“I sat up straight in bed and knew that I wanted to make a Pop Tart. A banana chocolate Pop Tart on a Popsicle stick, with chocolate cake and a little bit of butterscotch ice cream folded in, and dipped in chocolate. The Pop Tart on the side has really flaky pastry and Valrhona chocolate inside. A little bit of banana icing on the top and some chocolate sprinkles.”
New Review: The Bristol
New restaurant reviews, updated to reflect critics’ recent visits, appear each month in Chicago magazine, in Dine, as well as on our website. Listed restaurants are rated from one to four stars, where one is good, two is very good, three is excellent, and four is superlative. The Bristol previously was not listed. The review appears in the August issue, on newsstands now.
The Bristol (2152 N. Damen Ave., 773-862-5555). American.
★½ (good to very good)
$$ ($30–$39 per person for a meal, without tax, tip, or alcohol)
Eating out would be a far happier experience if more kitchens showed the same attention to detail as this storefront. Expect quality ingredients, simple preps, and an evolving menu that swings from delicate fluke crudo to ultrarich porchetta di testa (pork head terrine with creamy tonnato sauce). The roast chicken features chewy spaetzle and intense bits of dark meat, scallops are elevated by an outstanding cauliflower hash, and the pappardelle are paper-thin. The dense Basque cake is a textural marvel. Wine lovers will appreciate the stemware as well as the fact that reds are served at cellar temperature and whites aren’t overchilled.
For the dishes we liked best, click here.
“It’s upscale dining with an Italian twist,” says Bobby Arifi of Bobby’s Deerfield (695 Deerfield Rd., Deerfield, no phone yet), the successor to Townhouse’s short-lived suburban location. Augie Arifi, Bobby’s brother, will serve as the executive chef both for Bobby’s Deerfield and the brothers’ other restaurant, Café Lucci in Glenview. Two items from the farm-to-table menu:
- Augie’s Cackler: a marinated, char-grilled eight-ounce chicken breast on a whole-grain bagel bun with sundried tomato–black olive tapenade and French feta, $12
- Salmon Pastrami: house-made salmon pastrami layered with herbed cream cheese and potato pancakes, $9
The Arifis hope to open October 1. With the restaurant named after Bobby and the chicken sandwich named after Augie, we’re guessing Bobby won the coin toss.
The Kitchen Fable
It’s the classic story: Guy meets gal, guy and gal dream together, guy and gal open Thai/sushi restaurant in the north suburbs. With a name meaning “take a look” or “look at me” in Thai, Dowize (1107 Central Ave., Wilmette, 847-920-5317), open a month or so, plays the part of the restaurant, a 30- to 40-seater specializing in duck noodle soup, spicy basil chicken, and sweet chili fish. The gal is the chef Tanya Amekhum, a Bangkok native. The guy is Andy Weeraprajuk, from Chiang Mai, Thailand. And in what we assume to be the classic Thai version of the story, Weeraprajuk says, “She didn’t want my last name. It’s too long.”
- “Spiffy” shrimp fits right in at Friendship Chinese.
- Pollack has no beef with the pork chop from Briciola.
- The espresso granita from Piccolo Sogno Due hits Pollack’s sweet spot.
Things to Do
1. Shoot on over to His Airness’s Mag Mile spot, Michael Jordan’s Steak House (InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, 505 N. Michigan Ave., 312-321-8823), which turns one this month. To commemorate the milestone, a six-ounce Italian-beef-style hanger steak accompanied with fries, onion jus, and spicy giardiniera costs $10, from today through—of course—the 23rd.
2. Set your watch to island time at Kitsch’n (2005 W. Roscoe St., 773-248-7372), where a pop-up tiki lounge takes over Thursday night from 6 to 11 p.m. Tropical decor and tunes will accompany a three-course prix fixe menu that features Kona-coffee-glazed pulled pork sliders, coconut shrimp, and pineapple upside-down cake. À la carte cocktails include the beachy Ginger’s Island ($7), a mix of pear vodka, blue curaçao, house-made ginger syrup, lemon-zest bitters, and soda. Call the restaurant to reserve a cabana.
3. Stretch your lunch money at Bin 36 (339 N. Dearborn St., 312-755-9463), which offers a weekly rotating $5 lunch deal Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This week’s pick: A half-pound wood-grilled sirloin burger with fries, a cookie, and a bottle of water.
- J. Parker (Hotel Lincoln, 1816 N. Clark St., 312-254-4747), a rooftop bar featuring cocktails from Perennial Virant’s beverage director, Erin Hayes, and edibles by Boka Restaurant Group, is open.
- RM (116 N. Green St., 312-243-1199), a Champagne salon and sister spot to Nellcôte, will pop the cork very soon—as early as tomorrow, but definitely by Monday. Keep an eye on Twitter for updates.
- Alain’s (1355 S. Michigan Ave., 312-922-1186), an African restaurant co-owned by the Bears defensive lineman Israel Idonije, kicks off service on Friday. The restaurant will be reservation-only until its grand opening on a later date.
- Crosby’s Kitchen (3455 N. Southport Ave., 773-883-2525), an American eatery from the Dunlays crew, opens August 13.
- Phoebe’s Bakery & Espresso Bar (3351 N. Broadway, 773-868-4000), an expansion—with added breakfast, lunch, and dinner items and a full line of espresso drinks—of the former Phoebe’s Cupcakes (which was located one-half block south), hosts its grand opening on Saturday. Doors open at 7 a.m., and the first 1,000 guests score a free small coffee.
Dot Dot Dot . . .
After a tumultuous few months, Michelle and Vinny Garcia announced via Facebook that they’re closing both the Lake View and Elmhurst locations of Bleeding Heart Bakery on August 5. . . . Eater spilled the beans that Intelligentsia will open a Logan Square café later this year. . . . Bountiful Eatery, a gluten-free fast-casual 30-seater, opened in July in Lake View. The menu includes an Indiana bison burger, a tofu kebab, and smoothies. . . . It’s been a big week on the food truck front. Learn more from Eater. . . . The Toronto-based fast-casual spot Big Smoke Burger, with its menu of locally ground beef and fresh-cut fries, plans to open in Chicago early next year, although it doesn’t have a space yet. Like good Canadians, they also serve poutine. . . . Open only since July 5, Grass Fed has switched chefs. Cody Butler is out, and Sirul Shamsid-Deen is in. The steak house with a spartan menu also launched brunch this past weekend and plans weekday lunch within a month and a half. . . . Evanston’s Central St. Café landed Dave Najman (Glenn’s Diner) as its new executive chef.