What were the top restaurant newcomers of 2015?
Chandra Ram, Plate: I think Intro is nothing short of an incubator for greatness; we're going to see some big stars and really great food come out of that place. On a smaller note, I loved Bom Bolla (RIP) — it was a killer Saturday afternoon day-drinking/snacking spot, and I hope it comes back somehow.
Peter Frost, Crain's: Cochon Volant: All-day French brasserie in the Loop? Yes please. Latinicity: Finally, something interesting in Block 37. Boeufhaus: Another steakhouse? It's much more than that. Pizza Barra: Sure it's marooned in Oak Brook, but Rich Labriola's new pizza place is a winner. Swift & Sons: Early reviews are mixed, but this place has staying power. It's gonna be a monster in years ahead. Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken: Welcome to Chicago, delicious chicken.
Jeff Ruby, Chicago Magazine: Momotaro was pretty stunning. I think we just take the Boka guys for granted—of course it's going to be good. But what they did there had the potential to fail spectacularly. Instead, it opened better than anything they've done before.
Anthony Todd, Chicagoist: My two favorite new eating spots in the city were The Blanchard and Boeufhaus. Both had relatively understated openings, didn't include a major celebrity and don't have dining rooms that seat 300, which makes them restaurants that bucked the trend in 2015. Neither are particularly innovative, but both do exactly what they set out to do and do it very, very well.
Sean Cooley, Thrillist: You could select seafood pairings at random at Angry Crab and not be disappointed; picking out your beer to bring in might be the only tough decision. Also a fan of Boeufhaus, The Blanchard and Small Cheval.
Michael Gebert, Fooditor: The Blanchard—classic, classy French. Monteverde might be the best Italian restaurant in Chicago, or if it isn't now, it will be in six months. Cantina 1910— we got a lot of new Mexican but her flavors really popped, really bummed about how that broke up so early. Arbor, the hidden secret inside that big building on Diversey, is like the restaurant Matt Damon would open on Mars, growing everything and keeping its building's crew alive.
Chris LaMorte, UrbanDaddy: The Blanchard. Intro.
Amy Cavanaugh, Time Out Chicago: Intro, for giving us a new take on fine dining; the Blanchard for proving that French food still matters; GreenRiver for some of the city's best cocktails and great food; and Band of Bohemia—I'm so excited to see where they take it their first year.