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Tao Chicago Opens for Revelers in River North and More Dining News

Plus: Giant gets wrapped up in an advertising scandal, and the Silver Palm announces its forthcoming closure.

Giant fortune cookie at TAO Chicago   Photo: Courtesy of Tao group

Openings

Walton Street Kitchen + Bar (912 N. State Street, Gold Coast) is now open for business. Its first floor houses a gorgeous scotch lounge, which I previously covered, and the full restaurant, helmed by chef Jon Keeley, is now open. Expect dishes like hamachi crudo with green apple, fried green tomato with whipped feta, and roasted king crab with citrus conserva.

Possibly the most epic restaurant opening of the year has come. Tao Chicago (632 N. Dearborn Street, River North) welcomed its first guests last weekend with an insane opening party, and if the lines around the block then indicate anything, Chicago is chomping at the bit for this celebrity magnet, Asian-inspired spot. The design is astonishingly beautiful, and the space — a combination of a large nightclub and an even larger dining atrium — is guaranteed to take your breath away when you walk in.

Morsels

If you don’t obsessively follow food Twitter, you might have missed last week’s somewhat hilarious pseudo-scandal. Glad (yup, the plastic wrap brand) did a guerrilla takeover of Giant (3209 W. Armitage Ave., Logan Square) and served three-day-old food preserved with plastic wrap to a bunch of influencers and food media people — without notifying them in advance. Was it a fabulous advertising ploy? Dishonest exploitation of the innocents? I can’t say from personal experience because I wasn’t an invitee, but Mike Gebert at Fooditor has a good summary of the hilarity.

There will soon be one less train car in Chicago that’s made for dining. The Silver Palm (768 N. Milwaukee Ave, River West), the twin restaurant to the Matchbox bar, announced that it’s closing at the end of the month. The diner featured a sandwich that Anthony Bourdain proclaimed America’s greatest and a super charming interior. If you haven’t been yet, try to crowd in now.

Yet another new omakase is coming to Chicago, which means this is now officially a trend. These Japanese tasting menu spots tend to be very expensive and very small, so it remains to be seen if they can all survive. Mako (731 W. Lake St., West Loop) comes with a strong pedigree, thanks to chef B.K. Park (Juno, Arami). It will open in November.

It’s almost Michelin season, so if you’re interested in that sort of thing, follow your food writers and bookmark your favorite food websites. The recipients of Bib Gourmands (Michelin’s awards for more affordable restaurants) get announced today, with the awarding of actual stars to follow next week. A ton of starred places have closed since last year, so either we’re going to see a lot of new places on the list, or Chicago’s just going to have fewer stars than before.

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