New in Chicago: Three fresh reasons to bring your appetite
“Befitting a city with a dynamic dining scene,” my list of the most important restaurants in Chicago is forever folding in new entries, said Phil Vettel in the Chicago Tribune. My top 10 don’t often change, but ranking just below them are an array of impressive newcomers, including one created by a sushi master and another by a transplanted James Beard Award winner. Seek them out; visitors are welcome.
Mako is the brainchild of “one of the best-known sushi masters in Chicago”: B.K. Park, who built his reputation at Mirai Sushi, Arami, and Juno. This 22-seat omakase spot offers 15 or so courses for $175, a price that’s “about average for Chicago omakase.” But the results are outstanding: “Park’s restaurant is about as good as it gets.” 731 W. Lake St., (312) 988-0687
Kumiko/Kikko There are two ways to experience this “West Loop gem,” and “I recommend both”: Upstairs, in a minimalist yet warm dining room, you can sip Julia Momose’s “remarkable” cocktails with what can fairly be called “the world’s best hors d’oeuvres.” The chef, Mariya Russell, serves her own $130 omakase menu at a 10-seat counter downstairs, and she’s “a star in the making.” 630 W. Lake St., (312) 285-2912
Galit Before moving to Chicago, chef Zach Engel earned a Beard Award for his work at Shaya, his Israeli restaurant in New Orleans. The menu at his delightful Lincoln Park restaurant starts in Israel but reaches farther—into Turkey, Iraq, Greece, and Tunisia. “Don’t miss the crunchy falafel, set off by pickled turnips and ‘funky mango’ labneh.” 2429 N. Lincoln Ave., (773) 360-8755
Denny Culbert, Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune/MCT ■