By offering diners the freedom to define their own evening, by welcoming and caring for them expertly across all levels of indulgence, the Poseys construct that sense of hygge. Elske should serve as a model of what a boundary-pushing, community-oriented restaurant should be.

Oriole reopened in July of 2021 with all the promise of a new experience in an improved space. Though already ensconced among Chicago’s most elite chefs, Noah Sandoval chose to pursue–and fulfill–a grander expression of his vision. The chef unveiled Oriole “2.0,” and you think that moment provides the perfect opportunity to finally engage more deeply with his work.

The dark days of the pandemic–a reality managed, throughout the meal, unerringly by Alinea’s team–have led the restaurant back towards the fountainhead of its inspiration. No “smoke and mirrors,” just creative cooking–just the drama of the table. Alinea “3.0” is the return to the source from which Achatz–during the decade he helmed Alinea 1.0–made his name.

Like children staring up at Rainforest Cafe’s artificial night sky (or shaking from the booms and quakes of its fake thunderstorms), Alinea’s customers are served an illusion. They are led to believe that a food’s trappings are valuable even when divorced from satisfying flavors, from nature, or from nostalgia. They are tricked into thinking that a restaurant which denies dining’s transcendent, human dimension has any value as a conjurer of culinary gibberish. They are, ultimately, suckers who are being sold a future where a restaurant’s quality grows with how “Instagrammable” the experience is.

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.