Located in Lincoln Park and recipient of a Michelin star in 2010, this restaurant offers inventive New American cuisine from Italian-born chef Giuseppe Tentori, previously of Charlie Trotter’s. The sleek main room is adorned with decorative white sails, brick walls, and leopard-print chairs, and additional seating is available outside on the enclosed, tree-shaded patio. After starting with creative handcrafted cocktails, which can be customized to suit personal flavor preferences, move on to seasonal specialties like the braised beef short rib ravioli and Alaskan halibut with poached prawns. The eclectic yet unobtrusive background tunes can range from contemporary hip-hop to Simon & Garfunkel.
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From the From the May 2008 Food & Wine Go List
Alvin Leung, Jr., the “Demon Chef” (as it says on the restaurant’s sign), has ’80s-style rocker hair, wears sunglasses in the kitchen and likes to tweak centuries-old Chinese dishes and cooking methods with molecular-gastronomy techniques, such as making froths out of caviar and vodka and air-drying pineapple. The main dining room has lamps that resemble glowing chopsticks, and the combination of seductive lighting and very old, very expensive European wines encourages everything from dates to billion-dollar business deals.
We loved: Smoked suckling pig, slow-cooked for 20 hours with Sichuan apple and served with vanilla chutney.
Insider tip: To get face time with Leung, book the 12-seat chef’s table and order one of the two tasting menus.