James Beard Award Winner Carrie Nahabedian Adds a Jolt of Excitement to the Mag Mile With New Mediterranean Hot Spot Kostali

J.P. Anderson | March 25, 2020 | Food & Drink

IMG1557-0001.jpgHummus with spiced lamb, shaved radish, walnuts, cinnamon and mint, a favorite since Kostali’s opening, “speaks to my cousin Michael’s and my childhoods and Armenian and Greek heritage,” says chef Carrie Nahabedian.

Who says the most fabulous foodie action is in the Fulton Market District? Steps from Michigan Avenue and mere blocks from her River North hit Brindille, powerhouse Chicago chef Carrie Nahabedian is drawing loyal locals and curious Gwen Hotel denizens to Kostali. Nahabedian, partnering with The Gwen and cousin Michael Nahabedian on the project, describes Kostali as “meant to evoke all your senses, with food influenced by all aspects of the Mediterranean region.”

Kostali110719007.jpgCustom wallcoverings in shades of blue and soft brown add intrigue to the space, designed by BUREAU|AD Principal Tom Nahabedian.

That translates into a breezy coastal vibe and a tempting, whip-smart menu of instant favorites like semolina-crusted fritto misto; “our mother’s” feta cheese turnovers; hummus with spiced lamb; and whole roasted loup de mer.

only_use_small_Kostali110719044.jpgKostali’s Bay of St. George cocktail features gin, mastiha, bay leaf cordial, lime and Cyprus salt.

It all adds up to a crowd-pleasing experience—and for Nahabedian, the restaurant’s hotel setting and prime location are icing on the cake. “We loved [creating] Kostali for The Gwen because we all share the same ideals and vision for the guest experience: At the end of the day, it’s all about the guest, nothing more. The bonus was being on Michigan Avenue right in the heart of Chicago.” 521 N. Rush St.

Photography by: Neil Burger