Chicago's diners increasingly are willing to hand over a few hours, a few hundred bucks and total control of their dining fate to chefs.
In the aftermath of the long-running “casualization” of fine dining in Chicago, a phenomenon marked by the proliferation of high-end restaurants pushing small plates made to share, loud music and a dressed-down vibe, a cadre of well-known chefs is embracing the sine qua non of fine dining: the prix fixe meal.
Celebrity chef Tony Mantuano took his 30-year-old Spiaggia to a tasting menu format late last summer. Ryan McCaskey made the switch at his two-Michelin-starred South Loop restaurant Acadia in November.It's a fun thing to do every once in awhile, but honestly it's a little much for us. It's definitely an experience, but in terms of sustenance it leaves us yearning for something else (but that's clearly not the purpose of this style of dining, right?).
Another interesting quote was this:
McCaskey, for instance, wants to open a more casual restaurant in the next two years that pumps out more volume at higher margins and provides him with more financial cushion. “I wish I had a better car and a better house and a new jacket for winter,” he says. “I never had people trying to give me money before. I had nobody. Now it's to the point where it's happening all the time. People want to be part of (my) next success.”
Could a new McCaskey casual dining restaurant be in the work?