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Somerset

There are only a handful of ingredients in this exceptional French toast. But Somerset’s take elevates each one to its greatest potential, from the thick slices of day-old housemade brioche that spends more than half an hour soaking up egg custard to the seasonal fruit that adorns it. The end result is a brunch delight: … Read more

Tempesta Market

Turkey sandwiches are so often edible asceticism, a way of atoning for past gustatory sins. But not this one: The B. Franklin takes the oft-dry deli meat and turns it into a vessel for vibrant toppings like pickled Fresno chiles and sprouts, plus a sofrito-flavored aioli and avocado for extra lusciousness. All pleasure, no pain.

Vivere

The handcrafted pastas at the Italian Village’s newly rejuvenated spot rotate constantly, but chef Emily Phillips’s playful deftness with subtle flavors remains a constant. Witness the ingredients in her rigatoni dish: At first glance you can’t tell the sautéed figs from the morels, but the former accentuates the braised pulled duck meat with sweetness, and … Read more

Oriole

Chicagoans like their steak to err on the side of excess (for proof, see the big ol’ rib eye on page 83). But this dish is proof that there’s beauty in restraint, too: Noah Sandoval presents a two-bite slice (three, if you’re feeling particularly dainty) of exquisitely marbled Japanese beef more or less alone on … Read more

Yugen

Nothing is as it seems on Yugen’s ultraluxe tasting menu. Instead of presenting the standard umami-heavy Japanese egg custard, chef Mari Katsumura offers an uni-infused fantasia that serves as a base for a velvety Hudson Valley foie gras ganache, Santa Barbara uni tongues, fried kombu, and apple chips. Smoked foie gras fat — yes, that … Read more

Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits

Since this shop’s 2012 debut, it’s been the buttermilk biscuits, not the pies, that have stolen the show. Owner Michael Ciapciak embraced the mania, extending the name to give them shared billing, and now he offers almost as many composed biscuit creations (half a dozen) as sweet pie varieties. You will not find a fluffier, … Read more

Beatrix

Humble pie this ain’t. Beatrix’s signature dessert is baked slow and low for three hours and allowed to set overnight so that the caramel custard achieves a dreamy consistency, which lands somewhere between pudding and fudge. Put that in a twice-baked shortbread cookie shell and top it with vanillabean- flecked whipped cream, and it’s no … Read more

Jeong

Jeong opened with a bang in April, with much of the noise emanating from diners applauding the tasting menu’s salmon course. Chef Dave Park’s brilliant play on hwe (basically Korean sashimi) turns the fish into a gorgeous tartare, which he layers with tiny bubu arare (toasted rice orbs) and thick kisses of crème fraîche. There’s … Read more

JP Graziano

There’s a meticulous system to making Jim Graziano’s carnivorous delight. Meats and cheeses are sliced and stacked in a precise order — provolone, prosciutto, salami, and soppressata — before being loaded with pickled artichokes, dollops of truffle mayo, and a slathering of the brine from hot giardiniera (but on only one half of the French … Read more

Cellar Door Provisions

Cellar Door has become a critical darling for the way it deftly highlights seasonal and fermented produce. But it’s the beige-as-it-gets quiche — a bland visual tableau with nary a veggie in sight — that ends up stealing the show. Layer upon layer of pastry crackles under your fork and cradles a wedge of rich, … Read more