Lobster pie Photos: Jeff Marini

A world, if not that many miles, away from the thrum of the West Loop stands Ryan McCaskey’s consistently excellent haute dining den. McCaskey is an unabashed proponent of tweezer food, creating dishes with focused flavors and sculptural visual appeal. He’ll start with, say, a simple scallop, building from it as if he’s stacking blocks on a Jenga tower, adding a Spanish cheese raviolo, then layering on morels, ramps, and delicate citrus. Desserts, like the feathery vanilla chiffon cake beneath painstakingly positioned shards of meringue, evince the same graceful touch. But if you’d rather stuff your face than savor your meal, sit at the bar—in addition to proferring a two-Michelin-star tasting menu, McCaskey makes one mean burger.

Elysian lamb
Alaskan halibut