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In Key Ingredient Michael McGill of Old Oak Tap is tasked with grass jelly, which is made from an east Asian plant in the mint family and used mostly in desserts and sweet drinks. “I have nothing positive to say about grass jelly,” he said of his first and last foray into the stuff. Inspired by a traditional crushed-ice dessert, he made ravioli with grass jelly, candied walnuts, and roasted beets served in coconut milk and garnished with watermelon and more grass jelly. “Think of it like shaved Parmesan on top of your pumpkin ravioli,” he said. Next up is Rodney Staton of the soon-to-open “chef-driven sports bar” the Ogden, working with calves’ liver.
In the listings are 12 gastropubs, among them Wicker Park's subterranean the Bedford; Noble Square’s Frontier, where chef Brian Jupiter focuses on game; and the northwest-side Portage, which shuts down early (10 PM on Friday and Saturday, 9 PM on other nights) and is now closed on Mondays for the winter.