Chicago’s famed restaurant scene, hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, received a healthy dose of good news on Tuesday with the announcement of the 2022 Michelin Star recipients.
Of the 23 Chicago restaurants awarded with prestigious stars, Grant Achatz’s Alinea stands in a class of its own. Alinea again received a three-star rating, the highest possible and the only one in town. According to Michelin, three stars signify “the superlative cuisine of chefs at the top of their game; their cuisine is elevated to art and some of their dishes are destined to become classics.
Four newcomers received a one-star rating: Claudia in Bucktown, Esmé in Lincoln Park, Galit in Lincoln Park and Kasama in Bucktown.
Meet the newbies:
Chef Trevor Teich’s Claudia is named after her mother and started out as a pop-up. Michelin inspectors hailed the prix fixe menu as “intensely creative”. The fried snails in tempura with black truffle and woody pine flavored meringue was a favourite, as well as an “oh so addictive” pâté en croute.
Two-star Oriole veteran Kasama chefs Tim Flores and Genie Kwon were already ahead with a James Beard nomination for Best New Restaurant. In their description of Kasama, Michelin inspectors said the menu “powerfully displays the training, experience and heritage of this talented team for an ambitious, intelligent and distinct experience. The chefs have taken traditional Filipino cuisine and gave it a creative and contemporary touch.
Michelin inspectors praised Esmé’s husband-and-wife co-owners Jenner Tomaska and Katrina Bravo for their savory dishes featuring “unexpected combos like golden Osetra caviar on sweet potato-peanut miso ice cream.” ; accompanied by a sweet and salty banana caramel with Thai spices coating a piece of braised pork ribs.
“Chef Zach Engel brings his experience to this personal brand of modern Middle Eastern cuisine,” the inspectors said of Galit. They drooled over his treatment of familiar dishes, including “flambé pita” and “crispy falafel.”
The restaurants retain their two stars, awarded “when the chef’s personality and talent are evident in his dishes; the food is refined and inspired”:
— sullen tongue
Recipients of a star, rewarding an exceptional cuisine, which takes into account “the quality of the ingredients, the harmony of the flavors, the mastery of the techniques… and the regularity in time and on the whole of the map ” :
— EL Ideas
— North Pond
Contact Patty Wetli: @pattywetli | (773) 509-5623 | [email protected]