Top Chef's Dale Levitski on Sprout

Top Chef Season 3 almost-winner Dale Levitski is opening his new restaurant, Sprout, tomorrow (November 13) in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Well, reopening it, since it’s a month-old place that already lost its original chef. “On a whim, I took over a week-and-a-half ago,” says Levitski. “It’s like a real-life version of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.” Sprout is not the place he was planning to open—that would be the multimillion-dollar, never-happened Town & Country. Sprout’s menu will be French-American, three courses, $60, and it will not list dishes, only ingredients: “There will be lots of questions for the servers.” Levitski will serve dishes that he previewed at his former restaurants, La Tache and Trio, like foie gras–stuffed quail with root-vegetable hash and brown butter–foie gras hollandaise. “It screams fall,” Levitski says. (With dishes like that, I'm going to wish him good luck shedding the 20 pounds he says he’s gained during his downtime.)

Levitski’s plans for Sprout don’t stop at the restaurant. The bar next door, where Martin Scorsese's The Color of Money with Paul Newman was filmed, is being reopened by the owners of Small Bar; Levitski would love it to be a place for people to have a drink while they wait for dinner at the 30- to 40-seat, no-reservations Sprout. In fact, he’s in discussions to make that happen.

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