Hello, my name is ________________
Big chefs are coming in 2008; here's a primer to help get you acquainted.
Best known for introducing the cheese course into contemporary American dining with his 15-year-old NY restaurant Picholine, and building an entire bistro/wine bar around cheese in his six-year-old Artisanal (also in New York).
Big plans for Artisanal Bistro and Wine Bar, featuring cheese flights with paired wines and a Mediterranean “sushi bar” where diners can order charcuterie and small plates like crisp brandade cakes and bone marrow toast.
Look for it downtown along the Mag Mile in September.
Best known for a 20-year career in Australia, England and AAA Five Diamond restaurants at the Ritz Carlton in both New Orleans and Atlanta.
Big plans for an upscale all-day eatery dubbed Sixteen (for its 16th-floor location) that’s outfitted with 30-foot-high curved windows and a multitiered chandelier of Swarovski crystals. An updated tea service is called “Champagne High,” the wine list is said to be world-class, and the New American menu includes dishes such as quail breast with leg confit, beet puree and cilantro salad.
Look for it by March in Trump Tower at 401 N Wabash Ave.
Best known for the two-year-old tapas restaurant Amada and the brand-new Spanish wine bar Tinto, both in Philly. Prior to opening these, he worked for years under Douglas Rodriguez, considered by many to have fathered the Nuevo Latino movement in America.
Big plans for a spacious Spanish tapas spot called Mercat a la Planxa. The menu is inspired by Catalan cuisine, so expect dishes like crispy bluefin tuna with ham-olive escabeche and black cod confit with blood sausage potatoes. Sangria supplements the Spanish wine list, and the design is said to reference the hexagonal shape of Barcelona’s famed outdoor market Mercat Boqueria.
Look for it in the soon-to-be renovated Blackstone Hotel at 600 S Michigan Ave in March.
Best known for serving creative takes on classic Scandinavian cuisine at NY’s Aquavit, where the Ethiopian-born native of Sweden has been executive chef and co-owner for 12 years.
Big plans for C-House, a modern seafood-focused restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. An extensive raw bar joins entrees like soy-glazed yellowfin tuna with an onion tart and fennel salad. The year-round rooftop deck and C-Bar will focus on cocktails and small plates, which include fish and chips and a lobster club; plus the C-Bar will have a front-row view of the show kitchen.
Look for it in the Affinia Hotel at 166 E Superiorin March.
Best known for his award-winning Fifth Floor restaurant in San Francisco, where he elevates seasonal California cuisine by implementing the classical French techniques he learned while spending 15 years in Michelin-starred French restaurants.
Big plans for L.2O, a high-end seafood spot sourcing lesser-known fish and crustaceans from around the world, with everything from bread and butter to charcuterie made in-house. For the room, natural materials and contemporary lines should create a warm but modern space, which includes a lounge, main room, tatami room with floor seating and a “white onyx booth for two.”
Look for it in the former Ambria space at 2300 N Lincoln Park West in March.
Best known for serving as sous chef at Logan Square’s Lula Café. Prior to that, he cooked at the much-lauded Fore Street in Portland, Maine, and Spain’s legendary Arzak.
Big plans for heading up a yet-to-be-named Lula sibling (also owned by Lula couple Jason Hammel and Amalea Tshilds) that will bring contemporary American cuisine to Pilsen. The straightforward menu will feature spit-roasted meats, housemade pastas and wood-grilled fish accompanied by seasonal veggies. Designer Kevin Heisner (Empire Liquors, Violet Hour, Del Toro) plans to mix natural materials with a modern aesthetic.
Look for it on South Halsted St around April.
Best known for leaving his Chicago post as chef de cuisine of Ambria in 1999 to take the head chef position at Tribute in Farmington Hills, Michigan. There, he combined his French training with his Japanese heritage for delicate and creative food that won him a Food & Wine Best New Chef nod in 2000. He did a similar menu at Okada in Wynn Las Vegas in 2005, then returned to Chicago last year to open ramen spot Noodles by Takashi in Macy’s.
Big plans for the intimate, eponymous Restaurant Takashi, where the menu will stretch from New American and French to Japanese with dishes like steamed peekytoe crab meat with chawanmushi (egg custard) and seared Maine scallops with trumpet royal mushrooms, gnocchi and celery root foam. Sake from Yagihashi’s hometown in the Ibaraki Prefecture will join the New World wine list.
Look for it in the former Scylla space at 1952 N Damen Ave on December 27.