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Nico Osteria

March 27, 2014
Nico Osteria

Any new venture from James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Kahan is usually met with ripples of excitement in Chicago, but pair that with the impeccable design eye of Tara Bernerd, and a slew of outstanding early reviews, and you’re going to need to kiss your concierge for a table at his new Italian seafood concept, Nico Osteria. Behind the floor-to-ceiling windows, a sleek space of warm wooden beams, low-hanging lights, bare brick walls, tiled floors and a luscious living wall is already filled with hungry locals.

Relatively unknown chef Erling Wu-Bower is plating up antipasti such as grilled quail, sweetbreads wrapped in pancetta with royal trumpet mushrooms, and crudo like Hawaiian madai in a salsa verde with cubed kohlrabi, and spiny lobster marinated in chili, meyer lemon, and sprinkled with black lava salt. Not to be missed is the daily choice of two whole-roasted fish: a salt-crusted wild branzino with forest mushrooms and zante currants, or a roasted wild turbot and onion agrodolce. Even dessert is worth loosening the belt a few more notches with celebrated pastry chef Amanda Rockman turning out wondrous creations like a cinnamon apple puff pastry arlette with praline semifreddo and rosemary pecans. Try for a counter perch where you can sample knee-weakening cocktails like the Gilder (mixed with vanilla-infused vodka, prosecco, blood orange juice and lemon sorbet) and pinch a prime view of the buzzy open kitchen.

1015 N Rush St / +1 312 994 7100 / lunch & dinner, until 11pm Sun-Thurs, midnight Fri-Sat /