Thursday, October 11, 2012

Boom, bust, and Berwyn on this week's restaurant scene

Posted By on 10.11.12 at 04:30 PM

Last years model: inverted waffles at ING

Mike Sula was one reviewer who never bought into last year's opening hype about ING. On the contrary, Sula found mad genius Homaro Cantu's Moto spinoff ultimately "irritatING." But he did take a fancy to the restaurant's "inverted" waffles dessert (i.e., frozen waffle mousse topped with a butter pat of mango sorbet), calling it "reminiscent of the work of Moto's great pastry chef Ben Roche."

Now Baume & Brix, which "soft opened" last night, reunites Roche with fellow Cantu proteges Thomas Bowman (ex-ING and its predecessor, Otom) and chef de cuisine Nate Park (previously right-hand man at ING). Housed in the former Rumba space just east of the river on Hubbard, it's a gargantuan enterprise offering multiple "experiences," from Explore (shared plates) and Summit (entrees) to Divide (family-style meals) and Conquer (dessert). "PREPARE FOR SOME SERIOUS TASTE ENTERTAINMENT" says B&B's website, adding, "Taste-tainment = Delectable Marketing! LOVE it!"

"It's sad to see them go, but I try to groom entrepreneurs," Cantu, himself no slouch at marketing, told Eater back in August. B&B shows the influence of Cantu's tomfoolery as well: the chef's table is in an old elevator shaft, and the foie gras—seared, roasted, frozen, and shaved—is served with something called "buzz buttons." The Grid, its subterranean lounge, is still in the works for now.

Logan Square's Bonsoiree won acclaim (well, a Michelin star) under owner Shin Thompson. Its second incarnation, which opened just in August, has had a different fate. Wife-and-husband chefs Beverly Kim (ex-Aria) and Johnny Clark, both trained in Korean royal cuisine, sought to bring multicourse modern Korean fine dining to Chicago, with reservations by ticket only and wine pairings by the resourceful Matty Colston (Telegraph, Webster's Wine Bar). But as Mike Sula reports, the restaurant crashed and burned. It closes this Saturday, October 13.

Happier news comes this week from Berwyn, where the pan-Mediterranean restaurant Autre Monde, victim of a fire in June, officially reopens Saturday.

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