Less kooky than Elizabeth and less affordable than EL Ideas—and more polished than both—42 Grams acquits itself well as Chicago’s latest upscale dinner party restaurant. You and seven others sit at a deep stainless steel countertop abutting the open kitchen or at a blocky table for 10 and work your way through Jake Bickelhaupt’s modern creations: gelées encompassing Hendrick’s gin, beet macaroons, duck tongues, and pecorino crisps; playful takes on tom yum soup; and overt allusions to Charlie Trotter.
An underground dining hero and veteran of Alinea and Schwa, Bickelhaupt ensures that his tiny crew keeps things moving but never overwhelms. At the end of 15 courses, you’ll walk out (after sharing a high-five with the chef) feeling energized. Now that’s interactive. FYI: Online tickets only.
Perfect for: Those with ludicrously high dinner party standards