Food & Drink

Top 5 Restaurants for Unconventional Omakase

SEE CHICAGO'S BEST TWISTS ON THE CHEF'S CHOICE TRADITION

Chicago’s Best Takes on Omakase-Format Eats

Omakase literally translated from Japanese means, “respectfully leaving another to decide what is best”. In practice, omakase is the tradition in Japanese restaurants of letting the chef choose and prepare your order for you. This “Chef’s Choice” approach has gained traction over the last decade, the practice being adopted from the gourmand elite spreading to in-the-know foodies, and finally trickling down to the masses. Traditionally, only the most upscale restaurants and high-end sushi spots have accommodated requests for the chef to choose the meal, but this is changing as omakase becomes more diversified and accessible.

These five Chicago restaurants are serving up new takes on the omakase tradition, preparing multi-course Chef’s Choice meals in a variety of creative culinary styles.

Read on for our favorites (listed alphabetically). Please note, due to the highly customized, time-intensive nature of omakase/chef’s choice meals – reservations are required at most of the restaurants on our list. Please check with the restaurant directly for more details and availability. All prices listed are per person, and may not reflect recent pricing changes.

312 Chicago

This Chicago institution serves up classic Northern Italian fare, and is conveniently located in the Loop’s Theatre District. Their omakase style option comes in the form of a “Custom Italian Feast” from head Chef Luca Corazzina. First, guests are asked about their dining preferences and then the team cooks up a delicious four-course meal tailored to their tastes. Bonus: At the end of the meal you will walk away with a special bottle of 312’s private-label balsamic. $55 (+$25 for wine pairings)

Arbor

While we are partial to Green Exchange’s own Arbor restaurant, we also believe their omakase to be one of the most intimate, highly customized experiences out there. Their “Midwestern Omakase” is possibly the only dining format in the City that accepts reservations via text, and is all part of Chefs Chad Little and Leonard Hollander’s approach to a more personal dining experience. In their own words “The more we know about you, the more interesting the evening becomes”. Their omakase is available in 3, 5, or 7 courses, and is a “passionate expression of garden to table” creative dining. You may even meet the chef’s themselves in this innovative dining experience. $45-$100 (+$25-$55 for wine pairings)

EL Ideas

An experience like no other is how diners describe eating at this off-the-beaten-track Michelin-starred restaurant. At Phillip Foss’ EL Ideas, you can enjoy 13-15 unique courses in the open kitchen dining room. Dedicated foodies should try to snag EL’s “front row seats” at the chef’s table (for one-two people) which allows you to interact with the chefs throughout your meal. Bonus: You can BYOB with no corkage at this Douglas Park hidden gem. $155-$175

Frontier

This one-of-a-kind dining experience is available exclusively at Chef Brian Jupiter’s table and the privilege comes at no extra charge from a standard reservation, although readers should note that the table (for up to 12 guests) books quickly. Expect meat-forward food & drink pairings that will take you out of your comfort zone.

The Publican

At the end of the dinner menu is the chef’s choice option, aptly called “let the kitchen decide”. Diners can expect the same seafood & pork focused eats that the Publican has come to stand for, while enjoying some off-menu preparations “thoughtfully curated” by the chefs, who will ask for your dietary preferences and restrictions before preparing your meal. $65 (Reservations not required)

2017-02-15T15:29:09+00:00

About the Author:

Erin Ford is the Editor-in-chief at GreenExchange.com

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