Quick. Name the only chef east of Michigan Avenue who rates more than three stars and isn’t named Tramonto. We’ll give you a clue: He’s at Les Nomades (222 E. Ontario St.; 312-649-9010). Still don’t know? It’s Chris Nugent, 35, who has been quietly cooking up a French storm for nearly five years at the hallowed Streeterville spot and doesn’t care if you don’t know his name. He’s more interested in pleasing his dedicated clientele. “We have regular customers that come twice or even three times a week, and we make a different five-course menu for them every time,” says Nugent, a native of upstate New York. “That’s our secret.” As for Nugent, he can’t remain a secret much longer.
Photograph: Anna Knott