Ruxbin will usher a new era in Noble Square on Feb. 1, as the acclaimed prix fixe restaurant from chef Edward Kim debuts its new menu and interior changes to the general public. They’ve traded in the rustic, whimsical decor of the original restaurant for a modern modern and sleek look. The acclaimed restaurant opened in 2010 and has been closed since Jan. 1 for construction.
The restaurant remains BYO. Chicago officials will only grant a liquor license to restaurants with more than one bathroom, and there’s no room in Ruxbin’s intimate space to add another WC.
While some chefs dream of assembling a tasting menu of multiple courses, that’s not Kim’s dream. He actually said he prefers a la carte, but his tasting menu takes the best of both worlds. Kim wants to offer guests choices through sharable plates, something they can “find value in,” he said. His cooking style, blending tastes from his Korean heritage with European techniques, continues to evolve. Kim isn’t changing everyting. He continues to stay true to his cooking philosophy, which includes huge pieces of protein. Diners will find massive ribeye beef steaks and torchon of foie gras on the menu.
While Kim said the changes reflect a natural evolution for the restaurant, social issues also played a role. Kim points to the battle to increase minimum wage for restaurant workers and spiking health care costs for his employees. Ruxbin and sibling Mott Street have always paid their employees more than the minimum, but government mandates have increased costs at Ruxbin by about 23 percent, Kim said. It’s more difficult to compete with other restaurants when not every restaurateur wants to pay their employees more than the minimum. Those rising costs meant Ruxbin needed to evolve to compete, to give diners more value.
It was a daunting prospect for Kim to remodel. But after seeing the new interior, he feels more relaxed. There’s a new layout for the dining room which includes 40 seats. There’s also a new chef’s table on the second floor. There’s more neutral colors and a new entrance. Studio 6F handled the redesign.
Check back next week for more details on the menu, as Ruxbin continues to push boundaries.