While chef Rodelio Aglibot (Sunda, Earth + Ocean) was working on his upcoming dim sum place Yum Cha in Lakeshore East, he was also dreaming up Reverie (414 N. Orleans Ave., River North, no phone yet), a two-floor, 170-seat concept scheduled to open in early spring.
Aglibot says they’re calling the food regional American with Asian touches, as with an ahi tuna poke “tostada,” which is in quotes because the poke rests on crispy nori instead of tortillas, or a house-cured salmon and Asian-pear spring roll. Small plates will cover sushi, salads, and crudos, and main courses, sandwiches, and burgers will constitute their own categories. Aglibot says the menu resembles Earth + Ocean’s, only smaller. The target cost for two small plates and a cocktail is $40 to $45.
Upstairs, a sushi bar serves small plates from the dining-room menu, as well as a new Aglibot creation: maki with crusts torched on top, a sort of sushi brûlée. The five types of crusts include foie gras–miso and jalapeño-citrus.
Downstairs, more-prominent TVs let diners keep up on sporting events, an outgrowth of the experience of some of Aglibot’s partners: Adam Cisek and Jesse Boyle of Red Ivy, and the on-air sports personalities Kip Lewis and Ryan Baker. Later in the evening, the TVs switch to graphic displays. The kitchen will be open late.
The name Reverie refers to the daydream of getting the fine-dining chef together with the sports-bar guys. “Everyone sort of fell in love with [the name,]” Aglibot says. “Everyone will call it The Rev for sure.” Hm. We had our hearts set on The ’Rie.