Five Questions for Joe Bastianich

Among his many business and media pursuits, Bastianich partners with Mario Batali and others on New York’s massive Italian market Eataly.

Dish: Is Eataly coming to Chicago?
Joe Bastianich: We’re actively scouting. Very exciting. We [Bastianich and Eataly CFO Adam Saper] were there last week. We think we have seen a few good options, but nothing confirmed yet.

D: What would be your ideal location?
JB: Somewhere off Michigan Avenue. Not on, but close.

D: What’s the square footage of Eataly in New York?
JB: 50,000. [The Chicago French Market covers 15,000 square feet.] Maybe Chicago will be a little smaller, but not that much.

D: Do you think markets are the wave of the future rather than just a fad?
JB: Definitely. Eataly has proven that [markets are] going to change the way people shop and eat for sure.

D: Once you pin down a Chicago site, how long until an Eataly would open?
JB: ASAP. Probably early next year.



“Poultry is for the cook what canvas is for the painter.” —Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755–1826), French lawyer and politician who gained fame as an epicure and gastronome


Lady of Spain

A native of Bilbao, Spain, Paola Pérez opened the wine bar and shop Paola’s Vinum (328 S. Jefferson Blvd., Ste. 120; 312-775-9311) nearly a month ago in the West Loop to share her passion for wines, especially those of Spain. About 12 wines by the glass, along with maybe 80 in the store, are available for purchase, each with its own story. “I work with wineries that have something special,” Pérez says. “They continue traditional methods. They pick the grapes by hand. Each wine has something special that makes [it] very different.” Pérez’s favorite, for example, is Anastasio from Heredad Ugarte, a 100 percent tempranillo with a smoky flavor, made from high-altitude, poor-soil grapes, which grow small but full flavored. A Spanish omelet, some cheeses and charcuterie, and a few pintxos constitute the wine bar’s menu. Pérez says she spends most of her time in the lounge, telling customers about the wines. Like story time for adults.


Korea Opportunities

Swift Taylor Street development continues with the renovation of an apartment space into a counter-service Korean restaurant, tentatively called Dosirak (1514 W. Taylor St.; no phone yet), after the Korean word for lunchbox. The husband-and-wife team Jian Zhong and Jennifer Fong hope to open the 20-seat lunch and dinner spot in March, offering a new option for the neighborhood residents and college students. Authentic Korean dishes include bibim bap in a clay pot, the tofu and seafood soup called sundubu jjigae, and the dumplings called mandoo. Fusion dishes also feature on the menu, such as a galbi burger, in which hamburger steeps in the marinade used for Korean short-rib galbi, and something we don’t quite understand called kimchi pasta. “I don’t how to describe these things,” Zhong says. “Let’s just say it’s yummy.”


Giving It the Old Ecology Try

Green refers to more than the lettuce at Sandwich Me In (3037 N. Clark St.;, a sustainable sandwich shop scheduled to open in April in Lake View. “I’ve been very passionate about the environment and [reducing] the amount of waste that is made on a day-to-day basis in the fast-food industry,” says Justin Vrany, the owner. With choices including pork loin with sauerkraut and apples and country-fried steak with sautéed onions and blue cheese, sandwich meals (which will be served with a choice of salad, chips, or soup) will run $7 to $9 and use ingredients from local sustainable suppliers such as Gunthorp Farms. Even the renovation of the space reused as much material as possible from the medical spa that previously occupied it. There are about 20 seats for those who want to eat their Sandwich Me In sandwich in, but if you’re getting takeout, don’t leave your car running out front.


How Many in a Brazilian?

For most restaurantgoers thinking about Brazilian food, the meat fests at all-you-can-eat churrascarias spring to mind first. At Brazilian Bowl (3204 N. Broadway; 773-857-2002), a counter-service place planned for a March opening in the former Paradise Empanadas space, the owners aim to showcase a more diverse aspect of the country’s cuisine. “It’s very multicultured. Most people don’t know that,” says Billy Voukides, a partner. “Japanese, Lebanese, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese. That’s one of the reasons we came up with ‘Bowl.’ Like America’s melting pot.” The bowl in the name also represents an actual bowl, which will be filled with rice, beans, and a main ingredient like thin-cut, rolled beef or marinated pork. Diners choose other fixings to add, such as vegetables, hot sauce, or Brazilian sausage. Available drinks will include coconut water, açaí juice, and passion fruit juice; desserts will include the crème brûlée–like pudim and a multilayered chocolate cake called prestigio cake. Now if they could just put that cake on a saber.


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Things to Do

1. Hit the birthday party circuit on Friday. Frontier (1072 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-772-4322) will celebrate one year with $1 oysters and tacos, $4 Green Line drafts, and $5 select cocktails beginning at 7 p.m. Small Bar Fullerton (1415 W. Fullerton Ave.; 773-525-2727) will blow out two candles while sudsing up partygoers with a dozen limited-release sour and wild ales (such as New Holland Blue Sunday Sour), starting at 6 p.m. The first 30 attendees to buy a New Belgium Brewing beer may also purchase a $6 ticket to a sour-blending demonstration by the brewery’s Eric Salazar.

2. Shake your reluctance to cook French with Wini Moranville’s The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day, a collection of 250 recipes and nifty how-tos such as “Crêpes on Call: An easy recipe to freeze and serve any night of the week.” Moranville, a food and wine writer for The Des Moines Register, Better Homes and Gardens, and Country Home, will be at The Book Stall (811 Elm St., Winnetka; 847-446-8880) Saturday at 2 p.m.

3. Walk the red carpet to Rockit Bar & Grill (22 W. Hubbard St.; 312-645-6000), where the scenester Billy Dec and the movie connoisseur Richard Roeper will supply commentary at an interactive Oscars soiree. Attractions include a prediction contest with prizes, Oscar-themed tipples, and passed appetizers such as miniature Black Angus burgers and Parmesan-truffle popcorn. Festivities kick off at 5 p.m., and tickets cost $50.


Dot Dot Dot . . .

Congrats to Chicago’s semifinalists for the 2012 James Beard Foundation restaurant and chef awards. The list includes Paul Kahan (Blackbird), Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia), and Carrie Nahabedian (Naha) for outstanding chef, and Tru for outstanding restaurant. Finalists will be revealed on March 19, and victors will be crowned May 7. . . . Brendan Sodikoff’s much-anticipated greasy spoon Au Cheval opened today in the West Loop. . . . OMango, an Indian restaurant serving food that diners can customize with traditional spice options (masala, hariyali, mango-coconut, and vindaloo), opened Monday in Aurora. . . . The health-conscious local chain Protein Bar launches its fifth store Saturday, expanding its robust lunchtime presence. The new location, at 10 West Lake Street, will open at 7 a.m. on weekdays to supply commuters with Counter Culture coffee. . . . Phoebe’s Cupcakes in Lake View plans to relocate and rebrand as Phoebe’s Bakery (3351 N. Broadway; 773-868-4000) in the next month or so, a change that entails an expanded menu of espresso drinks, the addition of grilled sandwiches and soups to the menu, and outdoor seating. . . . The owners of the seven-year-old Los Nopales plan to spin off the more casual Mas Allá del Sol (5848 N. Broadway; no phone yet) sometime before August. . . . Takashi Yagihashi (Takashi, Slurping Turtle) is ready for his close-up on tonight’s episode of Top Chef: Texas (watch the preview here). Takashi will appear alongside Sarah Grueneberg (Spiaggia), who will continue her quest to bring home the bacon.