Chef José Sosa, a veteran chef known for his work at Gibsons Restaurant Group, is helming the kitchen. A native of Mexico City, Sosa has created a regional Italian menu that is served inside the former home of a landmark River North bar. Billy Dec’s Rockit Bar & Grill closed in 2019.
Sosa served one of Ummo’s first meals last week for an invite-only media preview. Dishes included carpaccio di pulpo served with Calabrian tomato aioli; risotto al funghi with wild mushrooms and “winter truffle juice.” A grilled halibut with tomato-mussels broth was among the dinner options. Dry-aged beef and pasta will also be available.
A dessert, the Pomodoro e Basilico, was one of those dishes that throws a little misdirection at diners. Looking like a garden-variety red tomato, diners slice into the dish to find it stuffed with raspberry and vanilla compote, basil sorbet, and yogurt cream. For those who have traveled to Italy, the dish will remind diners of a dessert served at one of the world’s-best restaurants, three-Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana. Its “tomato” is made from white chocolate and piped with smoked mozzarella cream. It also employs tomato pearls to mimic the tomato’s texture.
Ummo is technically the second restaurant under the Somos umbrella. Tzuco, which opened in 2019 in River North, is considered the first. However, at the time Gaytán and his partners weren’t using the company name in opening materials — at least publicly. Somos is the American division of Coscomate Hospitality Group, a well-established Mexican hospitality company with around 45 restaurants in Mexico and Spain. Somos is banking on River North and has bigger plans for Chicago.