Entente, one of 22 Michelin-starred restaurants in Chicago, is set to reopen today in a new and larger location. For the last two years owner Ty Fujimura and chef Brian Fisher have led Entente to one-Michelin-star ratings. They managed to draw customers to Lakeview, in an area where fine dining isn’t popular. Now they’re moving to River North at 700 N. Sedgwick Street inside a new space that’s five times larger than the original location, which opened in 2016.
Michelin-Starred Restaurants Rarely Move
Renovations, such as what happened at Chicago’s very own Alinea back in 2016, are more common than closing and moving to a new space. In 2016, the Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant, moved in N.Y. In 2012, Saison, a Michelin-starred San Francisco restaurant, moved. Last year, Rene Redzepi moved Noma. Tori Shin in N.Y. retained its star after moving back in 2014.
While Fisher and Fujimura brim with confidence about the new location, saying better kitchen equipment, more space, and more customers — River North will draw more tourists compared to Lakeview — will lead to better times for Entente, it’s not without risk. What will inspectors think?
Fujimura said there’s no pressure, adding that being closer to downtown means the restaurant will see fewer dead nights and the dining room will be full on a more consistent basis.
“That’s one of the reasons why we’re here, and that’s what we were asking for,” Fujimura said.
They Weren’t Looking to Move
Fujimura said the opportunity just fell into their laps. They’ve got three times as much pastry equipment in the new space, and Fujimura said they may expand services. Currently they only serve dinner six days a week. Fujimura was coy, but said they could offer “other services.” The decor will remind old customers of the Lakeview dining room. Fujimura said they aren’t trying to do “Entente 2.0.” They didn’t have a desire to reinvent themselves in the way Alinea did when Grant Achatz and company gutted and remodeled their space. This is a continuation of the good vibes from Lakeview delivered to a broader audience.
The Approach to the Food Will Remain The Same
Entente is a fine dining restaurant that draws from the south, Asia, and Europe. The food is skillfully plated and management describes the cuisine as modern American.
The general public won’t know what Entente would have looked like if chef Ian Davis remained at the restaurant. Don’t look for too many changes on the menu, even though, as Fisher said, he “has more toys to play with.”
“We’re going to keep on doing what got us here,” Fisher said.
Wine director Christopher Harris has moved to California to work at Manresa. There’s a new wine director and sous chef.
What About the Old Space?
Fujimura is hanging on to the Lakeview space: “I haven’t given up on it,” he said. After the River North spot gets settled, he’ll turn his attentions toward finding something that could work long term at 3056 N. Lincoln Avenue. Fujimura is a restaurateur who owns Arami in West Town and SmallBar in Logan Square.