Having just completed a series of articles on three of Chicago’s most enduring fine dining establishments, you now return to another specimen that has reached middle age…
At what point does fine dining begin to lose its luster? When do totemic luxury ingredients begin to taste the same? And why—up until a certain point—do tasting menus pale in comparison to fast food?
Kyōten “2.0” is a restaurant of the very highest caliber that, as an ever-evolving human drama rooted in the rhythm of nature, can rightfully be labelled “art.”
Thoughts on the future of restaurant criticism and its intersection with video game criticism.
While OAD’s survey-based rankings offer a valuable counterpoint to fine dining’s entrenched powers, the organization’s legitimization of social media self-aggrandizement represents the very peak of competitive conspicuous consumption. Chefs who cater to this globetrotting cabal do so to the detriment of their own communities, impeding the development of an inclusive, distinctive regional taste.
Diversity, the death of insight, and the necessity of playing nice.
The “Mickey Mouse factor” refers to the phenomenon in which children who are picky eaters at home are willing to try all sorts of new foods within Disney’s theme parks. If you extricate the concept from its theme park setting and apply it towards dining writ large, the mechanism actually proves quite enlightening.
The “enlightened” fine diner’s goal, when all is said and done, has little to do with fulfilling personal pleasure. Their goal should be an appreciation of an establishment’s distinction–relative to any other place in the world–through understanding what is done and why.
Kyōten is one of few restaurants you have ever visited that feels unmistakably “alive.” Phan and friends invite you to become a part of their story, to write your own chapter with them. You can trust that they will do everything possible to please you in your time together, and they succeed at doing so in a manner that Chicago has never quite seen before.
Despite what you may have heard, Mako does not serve the best sushi in Chicago. Sure, it is a stunning, special venue. The staff is polished. The branding is slick. There is a well-priced beverage pairing and a decent wine/sake selection to boot. You may even go so far as to say that Mako is one of the better Japanese restaurants in the city. But in terms of sushi?