Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lite Bites: What Your Favorite Chefs & Mixologists Are Up To Around Town This Week

Chef David Burke

It's Hump Day.

David Burke's garnered much success with his namesake River North steakhouse that's situated in the James Hotel. But since it's been there for almost 10 years it could use a facelift. We were pretty excited to hear about its current renovations a few months ago, but apparently there is more news, according to Chicago Real Estate Daily. In addition to a new lobby, bar and wine cellar for Primehouse, expect the debut of upscale sandwich shop Burke's Bacon Bar in the summer. That certainly makes me want to squeal, but Burke is apparently working on yet another project near Millennium Park, according to the story. He's planning a farm-to-table restaurant in a 101-year-old building at 168 N. Michigan Ave. that is set to open as a Hotel Indigo next spring. Dishes and ingredients will be locally sourced.

• Happening elsewhere, Michelin-starred chef Shin Thompson has just opened Kabocha in the West Loop. It serves small, medium and large plates with offerings such as duck confit & fennel pot stickers, asari-steamed clams and Japanese sweet potato croquettes. What's certain to be the pièce de résistance is the shellfish "aquarium." Yeah, you read that correctly. Generous portions of seafood such as lobster, oysters, scallops, prawns and king crab arrive to your table in an actual aquarium for $85. Something tells me that will be a BIG hit.

Kabocha "aquarium" photo via Thrillist Chicago.

Michael Taus—whose consulting contract with Da Lobsta is winding down—has signed on to the new Just Grapes project.

• And look out for the inaugural Chefs' Playground at Terzo Piano on May 16. Chef Tony Mantuano has gathered some of his local and national colleagues to help raise $$$ for the Academy for Global Citizenship, an innovative public charter school on the Southwest Side. The likes of Paul Kahan, Rick Bayless, Bill Kim, Jimmy Bannos Jr., Sarah Grueneberg and Jeff Mauro will participate. For $225 per person, guests will get food from the chefs, wine and spirits, plus an opportunity to participate in the live and silent auctions. Get the tickets right here.

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