A pair of Chicago restaurants are among the nation’s best, according to Eater National critic Bill Addison’s fourth-annual ranking of America’s 38 Essential Restaurants. The list features two Chicago restaurants not named last year: Smyth & the Loyalist, John and Karen Urie Shield’s West Loop tasting menu restaurant and upscale bar combo, earned a spot. Another husband-and-wife team join them: Parachute, Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark’s Korean-American masterpiece in Avondale, also secured a mention.
Addison removed Alinea, Chicago’s only three-Michelin-starred restaurant, from his rankings. He did somewhat mention the Lincoln Park trailblazer when he lauded Chicago as a “stronghold of tasting-menu restaurants all nearly on par in their intellectual heft.” Smyth now arrives on the list as Chicago’s tasting-menu torchbearer, dazzling Addison with its “12 courses that uniquely coalesce Japanese, Nordic, and Southern-American flavors and techniques.” Downstairs, Addison also described the Loyalist’s burger as “what may be the most righteous cheeseburger in Chicago.” Smyth, which opened in 2016, earned two stars this year from Michelin.
It’s a return for Parachute, which made the list in 2016. Addison notes that the restaurant draws inspiration from various places, “but the road always leads back to Korea with seasonal journeys like dolsot bibimbap and sesame-laced beef stew.” Parachute opened in 2014 and earned another Michelin star this year. Kim and Clark have plans for a second restaurant nearby but aren’t ready to divulge specifics.
Last year, three Chicago restaurants made the list: Alinea, Publican, and Monteverde. Alinea and Publican had made the rankings all three years. Publican, the upscale bar from One Off Hospitality Group also didn’t receive Michelin Bib Gourmand recognition this year.