Noah Sandoval and Genie Kwon quietly launched a restaurant accessed through a loading-dock alley and somehow immediately began providing one of Chicago’s best dining experiences. The spellbinding meal—a 15-course, $175 rhythmic procession that showcases the chefs at the peak of their creativity—surprises without ever venturing into Preciousville. Sandoval’s open kitchen specializes in little gems with big flavors, such as Icelandic steelhead trout topped with smoked roe that you’re meant to dip in an amped-up artichoke-marjoram broth. And Kwon’s showstopping desserts, such as a creamy gianduja palette with caramelized goat yogurt and caramelized banana chips, more than keep pace. Brilliant and counterintuitive wine pairings by Aaron McManus take things to a higher level, as do little hospitalities such as homemade breath mints in the bathrooms. The unpretentious servers seem to love their jobs, each other, and their customers. With that kind of enthusiasm, and potential as high as its exposed timber ceiling, Oriole has established itself as Chicago’s next great restaurant.
Dishes We Liked
(All dishes are part of a $175 tasting menu.)Jamón Ibérico de bellota, black walnut, egg yolk, and Campo de Montalban; Alaska king crab, Cara Cara, spring onion, and herbs; lamb belly, pickled celery, anise hyssop, and heirloom carrots; sourdough bread, cultured butter, and local grain; Brunet, Mt Tam, and Dorset cheese plate; chicory custard, whiskey, cinnamon, and Tahitian vanilla