Taking us to the outer reaches of our computer keyboards to render its name, Sink | Swim (3213 W. Armitage Ave., 773-486-7465) opened this week on the border of Logan Square and Humboldt Park. It’s the third project from the ownership group behind Chicago’s February 2013 honoree for best bar in the city, Scofflaw, and its the first that positions itself as primarily a restaurant.
Appropriately for a food-first philosophy, Scofflaw Group found a promising chef to lead the 90-seat project: Matt Danko, 32, who garnered attention as the executive chef at Cleveland’s Trentina. “I’ve been here since February, and I’ve done everything from painting to moving furniture in and out to crafting the menu,” Danko says.
Danko’s menu could be described as sea-plus—virtually every dish has an oceanic inflection. “We’re trying to think of every aspect of the ocean and how we can get those flavors inside every dish,” he says. For example, the oil-confited potatoes are reheated with seaweed butter, and the steak tartare eschews capers in favor of chopped oysters. Other dishes Danko highlights include Sink | Swim’s take on cacio e pepe, which adds dashi and clams, and the Norwegian cheese custard gjetost, served with ground hazelnuts, caramel, and crushed Whoppers.
In addition to activating our dusted-over backslash key, Sink | Swim’s name reminds us of the fish-eat-fish restaurant industry, where places sink or swim daily.