The 6 Best Restaurants That Opened in Chicago This May
Ramen, Indian and a Polish-Italian mashup from a World Series champ
To keep tabs on every Chicago restaurant and bar opening is folly. But to keep tabs on the most worthy? Yeoman’s work, and we’re proud to do it. Thus we present Table Stakes, a monthly rundown of the five (or so) must-know spots that have swung wide their doors in the past thirty (or so). Bon appétit.
Politan Row Chicago
You’re here because: You’re a sucker for a food hall and Politan Row is Chicago’s latest.
You’re dining on: A little bit of everything from 11 food vendors, plus a cocktail bar and an outdoor German beer garden. Must-visit stalls include Mom’s for a Japanese katsu sando and fried curry bun, LaShuk Street Food for ultra smooth hummus and baked-to-order pita, and Thattu for Keralan Indian food like the Kadala black chickpea stew, with fermented rice flour pancakes. Enjoy a cocktail or two at the gold-toned bar at the epicenter of the industrial chic food hall.
111 N. Aberdeen St. (map)
You’re here because: You can’t get enough of the sushi from the team behind Ramen-San and Sushi-San.
You’re dining on: A casual menu of half- or full-size maki rolls and the Japanese combo meal known as teishoku. Try one of four set meals, each featuring maki, sashimi or stir fry paired with tuna avocado poke, edamame, miso soup and a house salad. Wash it down with a variety of sakes by the glass, or Japanese-inspired cocktails like the Penicillin #2 with Japanese whiskey, honey, ginger and lemon.
676 N St Clair St. (map)
You’re here because: You’re in need of a pre- or post-Cubs meal near Wrigley Field and you’re curious to try the Italian-meets-Polish menu from Chef/Partner Tony Mantuano and Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon.
You’re dining on: The menu is filled with playful dishes inspired by Mantuano and Maddon’s first generation heritages. Polish offerings include pork and sauerkraut pierogi with pickled mustard seeds and apple, and potato dumplings topped with crème fraîche, trout roe and fresh dill. Pastas include lasagna rolls and baked brisket rigatoni, while true mashups include the grilled Italian and Polish sausage platter and the kielbasa and clams. An extensive beverage menu includes beers, diverse cocktails and worldly wines by the glass and bottle.
1119 W. Waveland Ave. (map)
You’re here because: You’re curious to learn more about the modern Indian menu at the second location of the San Francisco restaurant. Rooh, which means soul or spirit, highlights a modern take on regional Indian fare.
You’re dining on: Shareable Indian cuisine paired with Ayurveda-inspired cocktails in Rooh’s colorful and artfully designed tri-level space. Small plates include dahi puri filled with avocado, tamarind, mint and cilantro chutney topped with yogurt mousse, while larger plates include a whole sea bass with mustard cream, cilantro and poppy seeds, and traditional butter chicken. Try one of 12 cocktails grouped into six categories based on Ayurveda’s six tastes: sweet, soury, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent.
736 W. Randolph St. (map)
You’re here because: You’re in the mood for a taste of France from the One Off Hospitality team. If you blinked you may have missed the space’s transformation from Publican Anker to the bright French-themed cafe reminiscent of Cancale, an oyster town off the coast of France.
You’re dining on: A lighter take on French cuisine from chef Paul Kahan, plus a full raw bar with an emphasis on oysters, all paired with seafood-friendly French and coastal wines. Highlights include a Trout Almondine with truffle peach olives, radish and brown butter, and the Buttered Lobster Bialy with fromage blanc and poppy seeds.
1576 N. Milwaukee Ave. (map)
You’re here because: You’re a ramen lover eager to check out the Canadian chain’s first US location.
You’re dining on: Ramen of course. Here you’ll have 10 varieties to choose from, with a scratch-made chicken, pork or vegetarian base. Customize your bowl with a choice of thick or thin noodles, and one of 18 toppings including egg, sweet corn and even Swiss cheese. Round out your meal with karaage, aka ultra crispy fried chicken paired with garlic mayo, or takoyaki, fried octopus balls loaded with tonkatsu sauce, mayo, bonito flakes and nori.
163 N. Sangamon St. (map)