Lost Lake, Logan Square’s crowded tiki bar, will resume food service on Friday for the first time since a kitchen fire in March 2016 ceased food operations. Eater Young Guns 2016 semi-finalist Fred Noinaj is behind a new Asian island-inspired menu that’s a departure from the Chinese-American food served at Thank You.
Noinaj was last seen in Chicago as opening chef at the recently-shuttered Americano 2211 in Bucktown. He had quietly joined Land & Sea Dept. and has co-created a menu to complement bartender Paul McGee’s potent tiki drinks. He’s the chef de cuisine, while Land & Sea executive chef Pete Coenen oversees the menu. The new food will match the tiki drinks better than Thank You, Noinaj said: “We want the food to be at the same level as the drinks.”
The menu features more than Polynesian inspiration. There’s curry udon from Japan, and a Thai glass noodle salad. Noinaj is of Thai descent and said the salad reminds him of what he ate growing up. One tweak is Thai soy sauce replaces fish sauce. That way the dish keeps vegan. There’s also chicken wings that are caramel brined for a day. Noinaj is trying to make use of any waste from Lost Lake drinks. For example, he wants to use fruit peels from citrus used in beverages. There’s a jar of orange peels frozen in the kitchen that Noinaj is figuring out how to use. He’s also trying to utilize butter used in rum drinks. Night owls should keep in mind that Lost Lake will serve a midnight bahn mi special from midnight to 2 a.m. on weekdays and midnight to 3 a.m. on Saturday.
Unlike Thank You, the new kitchen won’t offer carry out or delivery. Lost Lake has more plans for the former Thank You space, but right now tiki lovers are rejoicing. Full food service returns to Lost Lake at 5 p.m. on Friday. Read the menu, which will change periodically, below.
Lost Lake food service, available daily from 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.