Subway: Green, Pink to Clinton(312) 715-0708 blackbirdrestaurant.com41.884335 -87.643507 619 W Randolph St (between Jefferson and Desplaines Sts) West Loop, Chicago
Lunch (Mon–Fri), dinner (closed Sun)Average main course: $37
This iconic West Loop kitchen, overseen by executive chef Paul Kahan, is still one of Chicago’s best. The beautiful, seasonal plates chef de cuisine David Posey puts out are full of surprising elements—caramelized egg yolk at the bottom of a garbanzo bean soup; tiny piles of caviar tucked under an octopus’s tentacle—which makes for exciting and, sometimes, challenging eating. Pastry chef Dana Cree aims to “work with really familiar stuff in an unfamiliar way.” Think chocolate mousse with Concord-grape sherbet or pain perdu with roasted apples, both rustically plated rather than with tweezer precision.