42 Grams Rises From the Underground

The new set-price supper club is a storefront version of the Sous Rising dinner series.

Matsutake mushroom with Italian pine resin, crispy enoki, Périgord truffle, and wild spinach   Photo: Galdones Photography

Already in Chicago, several restaurants have emerged from underground-dining series, among them Elizabeth, Fat Rice, and the bygone Bonsoirée, like a coming-out party to introduce them to the dining public at large. The newest debutante, which opened last week, is 42 Grams (4662 N. Broadway, Uptown, no phone), an 18-seat storefront that grows out of the Sous Rising series. 

The married couple Jake Bickelhaupt and Alexa Welsh hosted Sous Rising’s 12-or-so-course dinners at their apartment, at first once a week, and eventually twice or three times a week as demand increased. Jake, the chef, notched experience with Charlie Trotter’s, Alinea, and Schwa. Alexa, who works in advertising, serves and hosts.

Now in a restaurant space, the couple hopes to operate five nights a week but retain the hominess of their dinner parties at home. “What made it so special was the approachability, the warmth, the authenticity of the experience,” Welsh says. “It’s very difficult to try and replicate in a retail space.”

The tasting menu changes based on seasonality and availability, and will run $203.67, including tax and service fees, payable in full in advance after making a reservation on their website. It’s BYO.

The name of the restaurant arises from an old pseudoscientific belief that the soul weighs 21 grams, the same factoid motivating the title of the Alejandro González Iñárritu movie 21 Grams. 42 Grams’ 42 comes from combining Bickelhaupt and Welsh. If they ever change the name of the restaurant to 63 Grams, bring a baby blanket as a host gift.

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