The fancy seafood restaurant formerly known as C Chicago became a target for critics since opening in April 2015. That's one of the reasons Chicago Cut Steakhouse's sibling restaurant is switching names and menus starting tonight, gunning for a more accessible vibe. It's now known as Ocean Cut, with Dirk Flanigan in as executive chef, who is hoping to inject some energy into the poorly-reviewed River North restaurant.
Flanigan, best known for his work as executive chef of The Gage and Henri, didn't want to talk about past reviews, as he said he never even read them. "I have heard a lot about it," he said. "But I'm dealing with the new restaurant and didn't want to have preconceived notions of what went down."
He did acknowledge the connection with Chicago Cut may have saddled C Chicago with some unfair expectations—some steakhouse diners held fear of the unknown. That's why they've done away with seafood by the pound and added three Chicago Cut dry-aged steaks to the menu. But at the same time, Flanigan wants to create a fun atmosphere. He arrived about a month and a half ago and is slowly implementing changes. "It takes time to get everyone your side," he said.
He's also adding much different items such as a seafood version of Korean bulgolgi called Ge-Koki, as well as pork belly with snails. Though there's no renovations or major changes to the decor, they've tried to make the restaurant more casual and less pricey. They've also brought on two new sous chefs while trying to change the culture. It's been a slow build, but Flanigan is excited. He wants to make diners feel more comfortable at the revamped Ocean Cut. "We're going to marry both casual and fine elements," he says.
Chicago magazine first reported the news.