Indoor dining returned to Chicago in late July at 25% restaurant capacity. However, some areas of Chicago have had to roll back indoor dining as cases spiked, leaving many Windy City Residents hesitant to go out and enjoy their favorite fine dining establishments.
Michelin Starred Takeout in Chicago
Several of the Second City’s Michelin starred restaurants have risen to the occasion by finding incredibly inventive ways to translate their nuanced and complicated menus to a takeout format.
The Alinea Group
Alinea is Chicago’s only three-star Michelin restaurant, but sister restaurants Next and Roister each have a star of their own (and offer takeout); the Alinea Group is the most decorated restaurant group in the city. Founded in 2005 by Chef Grant Achatz and Tock creator Nick Kokonas, Alinea is more of an immersive flavor experience than a conventional restaurant. Which makes it all the more impressive that they have translated their food-art into a take out format. For $55 per person, take home an Alinea bento box with seven courses including three nigiri, four-piece seasonal maki, Binchotan diver scallops, cantaloupe panna cotta with sudachi and almonds. The Omakase box includes the full bento box along with six extra items such as ranch beef tataki with ponzu and chilies, and duck meatballs with shishito peppers for $95 per person. Pickup orders can be placed on Tock. Looking for a pairing for this decadent meal? Use Tock to order cocktail kits from The Aviary, Alinea’s avant-garde cocktail bar.
Named after a speedy breed of shark known for its precision, Mako earned its first Michelin star within months of opening. Chef B.K. Park’s omakase restaurant in the West Loop is now offering takeout options with ordering available on Tock. The eight-course omakase takeout set features creative nigiri alongside luxurious items such as octopus with yuzu vinaigrette and seaweed aioli, king crab with eight-grain rice, oyster with tosaka aioli, A-5 wagyu spring roll, and duck dumplings. Extra items (like premium Japanese uni) can be ordered off of the a la carte menu. The entire Omakase at home experience is available for $125 per person for groups of 1 to 6 people. For those that wish to make a reservation to dine indoors, there is some limited availability at this time.
In 2005, Chef and Chicago native Micheal Carlson turned down the opportunity to become Chef Grant Achatz’s sous-chef at Alinea. Instead, he chose to pave his own way in a small storefront restaurant in Wicker Park. Schwa even earned him a Michelin star of his own. His imaginative take on tasting menus has been translated into a takeout format in the wake of COVID-19. Using Tock, Chicagoans can order his six-course tasting menu for $65 per person. Some warming and plating are required for the full Shwa effect, but detailed instructions are included with every meal. At home, foodies can enjoy bottarga with rhubarb, pistachio, and celery root or mushrooms with flavors of pho and calamansi. Limited indoor reservations are available for the 12-course tasting menu. All meals at Schwa are BYOB (corkage and water service are included).
Elske, which is Danish for love (the chef couple got engaged in Copenhagen and have Danish lineage), is the epitome of Scandanavian cuisine in Chicago. Chefs David and Anna Posey rightfully earned their Michelin star in 2018 and are now offering take-home options via Tock. The menu rotates weekly, so check in on Mondays at noon to see the current offerings. Previous pickup menu items have included cured fluke with crispy rice and pickled herbs, slow-roasted beef brisket with wax beans, and sumptuous chamomile angel food cake with plum sauce and chantilly cream. Take out starts at $29 per person and Elske is offering wine and schnapps to go as well, perfect meal pairings as the weather changes for autumn.
Avondale gem and one-star Michelin favorite, Parachute, is offering takeout options to be picked up at sister restaurant Wherewithall (one block south). Pickup is available Wednesday-Sunday and orders can be made by phone. Chef team Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark opened their Korean-American restaurant 6 years ago and earned themselves 1 Michelin star. They spent hours and hours adapting their kitchen for delivery and takeout while raising their three children at home during the shutdown. The Parachute Instagram lists daily specials and neighborhood favorites rotate their way through the weekly menus frequently. Previous menus have included grill boxes for a DIY experience and comfort food staples like Kimchi stew with pork and tofu.