Winter Squash at Marisol (photo: Nathan Keay)

Eat This Now Chicago: The Winter Edition

By Nicole Bruce

Kicking off the New Year with fresh fare from newfangled hotspots is hardly ever an issue in Chicago, but a little guidance for your taste buds never hurt. We're steering you straight to our favorite seasonal dishes at seven of the city's recently opened eateries.

Winter squash at Marisol
Housed within the Museum of Contemporary Art, Marisol churns out beautiful and vibrant dishes that could be considered works of art themselves. An ever-evolving menu from Lula Cafe chef/owner Jason Hammel puts a unique, contemporary spin on the finest local fare, with the likes of winter squash paired with a spicy, tangy 'nduja vinaigrette and aged Gouda, pictured above.
Neighborhood: Streeterville MAP

Beet-cured salmon benedict at Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar
Chicago's only caviar bar in Humboldt Park combines luxury with approachable dishes that lean toward Eastern European and Asian-influenced flavors. While you shouldn't miss the roe and cocktails at night, the beet-cured salmon Benedict, with a potato croquette, kale, pink peppercorn, pickled onion, and Hollandaise, is a standout brunch option.
Neighborhood: Humboldt Park MAP

Snapper Ceviche at Booth One

Japanese snapper ceviche at Booth One
The newly revamped Pump Room space, Booth One—its name is a nod to the VIP table inside the former legendary Frank Sinatra haunt—is a fine spot for seafood and steaks. Chef/partner Doug Psaltis' menu uses high-quality, seasonal ingredients for upscale takes on throwback dishes. Eye-catching and refreshing plates like the Japanese snapper ceviche with sea urchin, passion fruit, and aji amarillo sauce will make you feel reborn again, too.
Neighborhood: Gold Coast MAP

Grill-roasted pineapple at Leña Brava
There are plenty of things to love about Rick Bayless' West Loop hotspot, conveniently located next door to his accompanying concept, Cruz Blanca Cerveceria brewery. It's impossible not to swoon over breezy Baja California–inspired seafood from an open-hearth kitchen and smoky mezcal cocktails. Don't miss the grill-roasted pineapple in an orange-lime broth with goat cheese, knob onion tops, and a thick, spicy hazelnut salsa macha. It'll go perfectly with your oven-roasted Baja black cod.
Neighborhood: West Loop MAP

Tonkotsu ramen at Kitsune
This 24-seat Japanese-inspired eatery from Michelin-starred chef Iliana Regan (Elizabeth Restaurant) is a cozy spot with twee touches like ceramic bunny chopstick holders and fox-shaped butter molds. Her knack for foraging serves her well here: Midwest-sourced ingredients meld with home-style Japanese cuisine for shared plates and steaming bowls of ramen as well as house-made tofu, miso, and soy sauce. The flavorful tonkotsu ramen is a thick, garlicky broth rich with charred pork belly, a perfect soft-boiled egg, scallions, and chewy noodles coated in a spicy homemade chile sauce.
Neighborhood: North Center MAP

Chicken wings at HaiSous (Photo: Mistey Nguyen)

Sticky-sweet fried chicken wings at HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen
Husband-and-wife team Thai and Danielle Dang are dishing up authentic Vietnamese fare in Pilsen. Their a la carte and prix fixe brunch and dinner menus are loaded with traditional items, like roasted duck stuffed with kaffir lime leaves and five-spice beef wrapped in grilled betel leaves with toasted sesame seeds. But what keeps us coming back? The fried chicken wings with sticky-sweet caramelized fish sauce and crispy garlic.
Neighborhood: Pilsen MAP

Veggie "Impossible Burger" at Maillard Tavern
The newest restaurant from co-owners Tony Priolo and Ciro Longobardo (of Piccolo Sogno and Nonnina fame) is the perfect spot to satisfy comfort food cravings. The cozy, walk-in-only eatery serves up American favorites like classic and creative double-stacked burgers and duck-fat fries. The "Impossible Burger," a plant-based veggie patty loaded up with mushrooms, chipotle mayo, Swiss cheese, and cilantro, delivers on it’s name—and won't completely undo your New Year's resolutions.
Neighborhood: West Town MAP

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