S.K.Y. Chicago


That's the word I think of when S.K.Y. Restaurant comes up. It has to do with the kindly, patient waitstaff, but also with food that delivers an abundance of flavor in portions that are larger than expected. On that last point: The items labeled as snacks would be appetizers at other restaurants, while the appetizers are main-sized and the entrée courses are big enough for two.

So you could save a bit by ordering fewer dishes than you would elsewhere, but why would you want to with grub this damn good? Chef/owner Stephen Gillanders (formerly a corporate chef for celeb restauranteur Jean-George Vongerichten) borrows techniques and ingredients from a number of culinary traditions—but most especially French, Korean, and Filipino. His food is creative and rich, whether he's improving on the classic rice dish bibimbap by adding foie gras (pictured below); baking cornbread as madeleines; or making pot sticker dumplings with buttery lobster and lemongrass. Desserts should not be skipped, especially the pavlova, which is listed as being made with chocolate truffle, but is actually crafted from chocolate and truffles, which gives them an unusually earthy cast.

Bibimbop, S.K.Y., Chicago

All this is served in a comfortable, chicly cave-like room with mottled cement walls and indirect lighting (wonderfully flattering). And in case you're wondering, the chef named the restaurant for his wife's initials.