Pull up a chair to the best seat in the house — right in front of the kitchen

Some of Chicago’s best restaurants offer a front-row seat to the hustle and bustle of the kitchen and exclusive access to chat with the chefs while they create your dish. The chef’s counter is no longer a novelty of fine dining, but an accessible and fun way to dine out. Here are four we’re loving right now.

Omakase — Japanese for “I’ll leave it up to you” — is nothing new to sushi, but chef Kaze Chan adds his own creative twist. Watch him stuff hand rolls, slice fresh pieces of fatty tuna sashimi, and torch pieces of nigiri throughout 14 courses, all as he makes jokes and drops sushi knowledge. $88 Tues.-Wed., $108 Thurs.–Sat.; 5 and 7 p.m. seatings. Late-night diners can indulge in six courses for a 9 or 11 p.m. seating. ($48 Tues.-Wed. $68 Thurs.–Sat.) 63 W. Grand, 312-828-0575; sushisanrestaurant.com