The MICHELIN Guide has chosen 55 restaurants in Chicago deserving of the Bib Gourmand distinction, including seven new additions. This announcement precedes Chicago’s star revelation on Tuesday, April 5.
Bib Gourmand restaurants offer a full menu of a starter, main course and dessert, making it possible to order two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for around $40 or less (tax and gratuity not included).
Here’s the list of new Bib Gourmands, with inspector notes from each restaurant:
Apolonia (South Loop; contemporary cuisine)
Flaunting a fantastic location, right by the McCormick Place Convention Center, the design of this dining room conceived by Chef Stephen Gillanders' wife, Seon Kyung Yuk, is cool and chic. The space is vast and ceilings are sky high. A glass façade ensures that it's engulfed by natural light. Over in the kitchen, the chef is the kingpin and may be found shuffling between the wood-burning oven and serene counter. His cooking is straightforward, exemplary, and poised for sharing. Save room for dessert, as Pastry Chef Tatum Sinclair is perpetually turning out delightful treats.
Bloom Plant Based Kitchen (Wicker Park; vegan cuisine)
Chef/owner Rodolfo Cuadros is in the saddle, while the staff are always on the ball, presenting diners with a menu full of flavor and textural complexity. This is a vast space, with greenery, funky light fixtures, and that beloved counter. A perch here will ensure you're in full view of the team as they work closely with a host of pristine ingredients. Baja tacos underscore a tortilla made from hemp seed and filled with fried banana blossom; while kelp noodles with acorn squash velouté and pumpkin seeds are wholesome yet wholly gratifying. Avocado-key lime "ice cream" with ginger crumbles is an electrifying finish.
Dear Margaret (Lakeview; contemporary cuisine)
This quaint spot from Chef Ryan Brosseau pays homage to his French-Canadian mémé, Margaret, and fittingly, resembles a grandma's house. If you're envisioning a blue-painted façade, white-trim windows, and framed paintings all set below a decorative ceiling, you're starting to get the picture here. A small bar in the back and engaging staff keep things homey and abuzz. This is a French-Canadian menu that goes beyond poutine and cheese curds. Comfort and decadence are at the heart of such shareable plates as an heirloom tomato salad starring fromage blanc, pickled shallots, and dressed with black garlic-ice wine vinegar.
Lardon (Logan Square; deli cuisine)
The name was your first clue. The cutout of a pig hanging over the door was your second. Specializing in whole-hog, snout-to-tail butchery, this all-day salumeria offers a dazzling selection of charcuterie arranged on wooden boards or layered on soft bread. Such craftsmanship is in full view of the dining room, which includes a curing chamber filled with rows of soppressata, finocchiona and Spanish chorizo. Truffled lardo with rosemary is a must. Need a vegetable? Try the salad with broccolini and zucchini tossed in a tarragon-green goddess dressing.
Sochi (Lakeview; Vietnamese cuisine)
Husband and wife, Son Do and Chinh Pham, tell stories of their childhood in Saigon at this gem on bustling Belmont. The moniker is a marriage of their names, which not only enhances the charm factor, but also makes total sense considering they were high school sweethearts. The menu is modern Vietnamese with a focus on ingredient sourcing. Ergo, dishes display immense depth, so come hungry to sample the duck salad with banana blossoms; or pho — that national treasure — with bone broth, flat rice noodles, Wagyu short rib and aromatics aplenty.
Superkhana International (Logan Square; Indian cuisine)
After five years of pop-ups and multiple kitchen pivots, this friendly restaurant has managed to stay both flexible and fun, which is also how we’d describe the cooking. Indian flavors are mixed and mashed in traditional and unconventional ways, as apparent in naan — a prominent menu fixture — topped with salted jalapeños and mozzarella or reimagined as a calzone stuffed with butter chicken, brushed with ghee, and finished with Maldon salt. It’s not all bread — fiery Kerala crab curry with flaky parotta and a vibrant chana chaat with tamarind and spice are equally impressive.
Tortello Pastificio (Wicker Park; Italian cuisine)
How does one walk past a window, where a focused sfoglina may be found busy twirling strands of beautiful busiate? You don't. You walk right in — to a world where pasta is king. This team is not out to revolutionize Italian food; instead, they are trying to correct some of its misinterpretations. And the results, while simple, are always delicious. Dishes feature some exceptional products, as seen in smoked eggplant with roasted peppers and ricotta salata. Focaccia makes a fine match to the latter, not unlike the guanciale-infused all'arrabbiata that adorns twists of casarecce.
“Chicago’s culinary community has it all,” said Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the MICHELIN Guides. “This diverse Bib Gourmand selection delighted the MICHELIN Guide inspectors, and restaurant-goers will surely feel the same.”
The full list of Bib Gourmands will be available at the time of the star revelation on April 5. The selections will be on the MICHELIN Guide iOS and Android app. Download the app to explore all the Michelin-rated restaurants across the globe and book the world’s most unique and exciting hotels. App users can also create and share their own restaurant and hotel wish lists.
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