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My Daily Find Chicago's Maris Callahan on Sunda Bartender Nahm Kim

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Welcome to Front & Center, a series highlighting front of the house professionals in Chicago restaurants. Right now, Maris Callahan, editor of My Daily Find Chicago, writes about Nahm Kim from Sunda.

NahmKim_Sunda-102512.jpgWhen I try a new restaurant or cocktail bar, there is a good chance that I've already spent about an hour analyzing the menu online before actually entering the establishment. This means that when I actually sit down to dinner or drinks, one of two things happens. In the first instance, I know exactly what I want to order before my server even makes it over to take a drink order. Or in the second scenario, I cross my fingers and hope for someone who knows both the dining menu and the beverage options as well as Nahm Kim from Sunda New Asian.

Whether you're indecisive or intimidated by a long or complicated menu it's important to have a server who is going to ensure that you have an excellent experience. When I see Nahm behind the bar, I know that's exactly what I'm going to get. After 10 years of working behind the bar, his interest in spirits and cocktail creation has reached a level of what he describes as "a slightly unhealthy obsession."

There are some bartenders who would probably cringe when a girl sits down at the bar and says "make me something that isn't too sweet or too citrus-y with gin or vodka that doesn't taste like anise" but Nahm welcomes the challenge and will craft a cocktail you'll never forget. His favorites include the Grass Tiger: Ransom Old Tom Gin-infused with jalapeños, lemongrass syrup, fresh lime juice, a little fresh-squeezed orange juice, some mint leaves and ginger beer. His obsession doesn't stop with the cocktails though. If you're dining at the bar, he might not let you leave without sharing some of his favorite recommendations, ranging from the brussel sprout salad to the lobster/wagyu roll.

Whether you're dining or drinking at the bar, a friendly, knowledgeable bartender can make or break your experience. Not only can Nahm make you the cocktail you didn't even know you wanted, you'll sense that he's really enjoying being a part of the Chicago cocktail scene ... and that his craft is about much more than a way to pay the bills.

-- Maris Callahan, My Daily Find Chicago


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