After consulting on the openings of a number of restaurants over the last few years, including the Florentine and Argent in the Dana Hotel, Rodelio Aglibot is ready to get back in the kitchen and back on the line. The founding Sunda chef has teamed with two former Sunda co-workers—Aeron Lancero and Paul Lee—to open Earth + Ocean in the revamped Randhurst Village in Mount Prospect.
The restaurant, set to open around mid-February of 2013, aims to be the first in a string of restaurant projects under the E+O Food and Drink moniker. "We're trying to create a city style and vibe with a broadened new American menu," Aglibot said. "It'll have Asian and Italian influences and good old American influences, but we want it to be sensitive to families and price points."
Aglibot said diners should expect to pay an average of $9 to $14 during lunch and $28 to $35 at dinner. The menu, which is still being finalized, will feature appetizers like lamb tartare, ribeye poke, spicy seared albacore tuna and pressed watermelon with sweet and spicy sauces; and various salads, soups and flatbreads.
Small plates will include chicken wings with dried shrimp and chili dust, a house sausage trio (Italian, Portuguese and chorizo), and smoked seared sea scallops with pickled tomato and fried capers. The restaurant will have entrees like adobo-style pork belly and pork cheek, blackened catfish, pappardelle stroganoff, various steaks and the E+O angus burger with tomato marmalade on a brioche roll. Earth + Ocean will also have a raw bar and sushi bar.
The room, being designed by Gary Lee (Sepia), will seat between 160 and 170 inside with a 50- to 70-seat patio with a fire pit. The restaurant will have a partially open kitchen with subway tiles and the dining room will have natural wood flooring and table tops and a color scheme incorporating rich colors like aquamarine blues and greens.
When Earth + Ocean opens early next year, it will join a growing list of restaurants at the center, including Steak 'n Shake, Blackfinn American Grille, Billy Goat Tavern, Pei Wei and Eggsperience Cafe. Before that, however, the team will host a series of pop-up events in various locations in the suburbs.
Aglibot said the team, which operates under the Intrestco Brand, aims to open more restaurants and is looking for opportunities Downtown in the next year or so as well as in other suburbs. "I'm not looking to 'make a name,' but make a viable brand and business," Aglibot said. "It's chef- and seasonal-driven. With the lifestyle movement happening in the suburbs, they're trying to upscale their brands. The goal is to eventually take it nationally."
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· All Rodelio Aglibot Coverage on Eater Chicago [~EChi~]