Andersonville is getting a unique Thai fusion restaurant that will focus on seafood from a chef who helped revamp Arun’s, one of the city’s fine-dining mainstays. Blu 57 should open in early June at 5701 N. Clark St. The food’s from chef Joe Sukjam who worked the kitchen at Taste of Thai Town, Arun Sampathavivat’s casual restaurant that opened in 2015 in Albany Park.
The name is meant evoke the oceans and 57 is just a reference to the restaurant’s address, next to M. Henry. Owner Jai Sookhakitch said he’ll eventually offer brunch, which will give Edgewater a nice neighboring 1-2 punch for the weekends. It will start as a BYO and only serve dinner to start. They’re in the hiring phase.
“You’re going to see influences from France, Italy—all over the world—mixed with Asian ingredients,” said Sookhakitch.
Sookhakitch promises dishes that Chicagoans will only find at his restaurant. Though it has a neighborhood feel, he has designs on turning Blu 57 into a destination. Dishes like lobster curry risotto. There’s also a smoked mussels dish and a omakase oyster dish that’s described as a small oyster flight. They’ll also serve steak prepared with Thai spices.
“This place is going to be very eclectic,” Sukjam said in Thai, with Sookhakitch translating. “You’re not going to find a lot of our dishes elsewhere because we are blending so many different cuisines.”
Sukjam’s resume includes cooking at various hotels in Bangkok. He won an award for fusion cooking in 2013 in Thailand’s International Culinary Cup competition. Blu 57 is the first restaurant where he’ll call the shots by himself.
Some chefs feel Chicago isn’t receptive to fusion cooking, while others have flourished. Sukjam and Sookhakitch have ambitions, and they’re bringing them to Andersonville. Check back in the coming weeks for more details.