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The Best of the New
The rush to be Chicago’s freshest culinary face is one tight race. Fat Rice has won a lot of attention for its Macanese cuisine, represented by the eponymous arroz gordo signature dish that comes loaded with everything from Chinese sausage to Portuguese chicken. Curtis Duffy’s haute Grace wins cred as the most extravagant splurge kitchen, for its 10- to 12-course tasting menus; Kai Zan is dishing up serious purist sushi (no overstuffed designer rolls); Tanta Chicago’s Peruvian menu rediscovers a whole gastronomic world; and Stephanie Izard’s Little Goat Diner (sister to her celebrated Girl & the Goat) competes with Antique Taco for title of most buzzed-about cheap eats contender. But the most seductive surprise may be the Carriage House, if only because it eschews global border hopping for All-American Southern regional standbys like shrimp and grits and Charleston she-crab soup (along with updated Low Country inventions, including an oyster roast with buttermilk aioli). Don’t fill up, though. Eataly Chicago, the supersized Mario Batali Italian food court, is about to open its doors.
Raphael Kadushin, senior acquisitions editor at the University of Wisconsin Press, writes about food and travel at Epicurious.com, National Geographic Traveler, Condé Nast Traveler and other national magazines.