Editor-in-Chief J.P. Anderson reveals his favorite plates from the past 12 months.
The sashimi trio stands out among Omakase Room’s 18 delectable courses.
Cotton Candy Foie Gras at Bazaar Meat
Light as air yet undeniably decadent, this whimsical bite kicks off a meal at José Andrés’ inventive take on the Chicago steakhouse in style. 120 N. Wacker Drive
Light-as-air cotton candy foie gras at Bazaar Meat
Pulpoguesa Sliders at mfk.
The team at this Lakeview gem are maestros with seafood, and this craveable take on surf and turf is the latest example: a pair of perfectly cooked, charred-at-the-edges patties of chopped octopus and ground veal topped with mojo verde, pickled onions and a housemade chip on a housemade sesame milk breadstyle bun. 432 W. Diversey Parkway
Chopped octopus and ground veal make for a toothsome combination in these deliciously creative sliders at mfk.
Morel Gnocchi at Daisies
Housemade pastas are a must-try at this Logan Square neighborhood gem, and I’m still daydreaming about the morel gnocchi I devoured on a recent visit: a bowl of perfectly pillowy gnocchi abundant with earthy, funky, peak-season morel mushrooms. 2523 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Daisies’ gnocchi is a musttry
Up ’n’ Over Burger at The Duck Inn
Kevin Hickey’s Bridgeport fave is justifiably famous for its rotisserie duck and duck fat dog, but my craving is always for the double-fisted burger done up Big Mac-style with two patties, lettuce, cheese, pickles, special sauce and—of course—a fried duck egg on top with duck fat fries on the side. 2701 S. Eleanor St.
Chef’s Board at Lardon
Charcuterie and salumi is an art form at this Logan Square hot spot—and the stunning meat and cheese boards are masterpieces in themselves, exquisitely arranged with toothsome selections like succulent spreadable ‘nduja, spicy saucisson l’ail and artisanal cheeses with all the accompaniments, from almonds and olives to seasonal jam and grainy mustard. 2200 N. California Ave.
Cheese and charcuterie boards are gorgeously composed at Lardon.
Tuna Tartare at Lyra
On a menu packed with crowd-pleasing fare—from slow-roasted lamb gyros carved tableside to meltingly tender grilled octopus with charred cipollini onion— picking a single top dish at this Fulton Market hot spot is a serious challenge. But my current favorite is the excellent tuna tartare: Spicy with fresno chile, tangy with Kalamata olive, crunchy with crispy kataifi, it’s a symphony in a single bite. 905 W. Fulton Market
Addictive tuna tartare at Lyra
Sashimi at Omakase Room
Sushi is having a major moment in Chicago, with several world-class chefs calling the city home. Best of the best? Our vote is with Kaze Chan, who masterfully executes an 18-course omakase menu in a 10-seat jewel box of a dining room upstairs at Sushi-San. Each course is a revelation (bright, bracing red clam with seaweed; yellowtail belly nigiri with a banana pepper kick; a morsel of Hokkaido snow beef wagyu), but it was Chan’s sashimi trio that I couldn’t get out of my head: Paper-thin-sliced Hokkaido scallops with the lightest dash of yuzu juice and Upethi salt; delicate Spanish mackerel with a hint of homemade soy sauce and ginger; and shrimp topped with a generous dollop of sea urchin hit all the pleasure centers of the palate. 63 W. Grand Ave.
Duck Sausage at Rose Mary
Artichoke risotto and paprika-spiced pork ribs pampanella were both contenders for fave plate during my visit to Top Chef winner Joe Flamm’s Croatian Italian hot spot, but it was the restaurant’s housemade duck sausage that won me over. Flavorpacked and perfectly spiced, it’s not always on the menu, but, trust me, order it if it is—on my visit, the sausage was paired with polenta and zippy giardiniera, a chef’s-kiss Chi-town touch. 932 W. Fulton Market
Photography by: FROM TOP: PHOTO BY: LINDSAY EBERLY; PHOTO: COURTESY OF BAZAAR MEAT; PHOTO BY: CRAIG WORSHAM; COURTESY OF DAISIES; PHOTO BY CLAYTON HAUCK; PHOTO: COURTESY OF LYRA