Richard Sandoval knows that Chicagoans, like many living in cities with harsh winters, go wild for rooftop restaurants and bars when warm weather arrives. So Sandoval and his team plan to give the people what they want when they open Noyane, hopefully in late May, on the roof of the Conrad Chicago hotel in River North. Guests will find a menu of sushi, nigiri, and steamed buns spiced with Sandoval’s signature heat up on the 21st floor.
“It’s not too crazy, we’re doing straight-forward Japanese, too,” Sandoval said on Wednesday afternoon from Los Angeles. “You’ll see a balance of flavors in the presentations.”
The sound bite is that Noyane will serve “modern Japanese cuisine.” Sandoval wants an engaging, sharable menu so groups can socialize and relax while taking in a gorgeous view of the city. They’ll have a selection of Japanese whiskies and beers, plus sake sangria. That will complement that heat and acidity that chef James Lintelmann (Boka, Charlie Trotter’s) will incorporate into the dishes. Lintelmann is also the chef at the hotel’s main restaurant on the 20th floor, Baptiste & Bottle.
While making no guarantees, Sandoval said he’s working with a fish supplier from Tokyo, one which provides seafood for Sandoval’s restaurants in Dubai. If he can make it work for Dubai, why not make it work in Chicago? Sandoval wants to import specialty fish like yellowfin tuna and hamachi.
“If you put the fish side by side with what you can get here, it will blow your socks off,” Sandoval said.
When Noyane opens all of Sandoval’s restaurants inside the Conrad will be operational. He’s pleased with the results, as Sandoval said his restaurants lure more than hotel guests as diners. “I think that’s why hotels hire us—to try and build a restaurant that doesn’t feel like a hotel restaurant, and that’s where most hotels fail,” Sandoval said.
In other Chicago news, Sandoval said he’ll soon have an announcement regarding Pata Negra, the restaurant inside the Latinicity food court in The Loop in the Block 37 building. Sandoval is certainly busy in Chicago this spring.