Even though Chicago didn’t have much of a winter this year, it’s still refreshing to see spring ingredients like fiddlehead ferns and rhubarb start to sprout on menus across town. As the weather continues to warm and restaurants freshen up their menus, there are plenty of bright new dishes to try. From a spring-splashed steak to various preparations of those obsessed-over ramps, here are 13 new spring dishes to try in Chicago.
Mon Ami Gabi
With winter in the rear view, vegetable courses are shifting away from hearty root vegetables toward the likes of steamed artichokes with lemon Dijon. At Mon Ami Gabi, executive chef Michael Battocletti renders the artichokes tender and aromatic, heaps them with shaved vegetables and serves them with lemony sauce for dipping or dressing. The restaurant is also featuring a spring vegetable casareccia pasta with asparagus, radishes, peas, poached egg, preserved lemon and Grana Padano cheese.
2300 N. Lincoln Park W; 773-348-8886
Summer House Santa Monica
Between the new poke menu and the new rosé-filled wine cart, Summer House Santa Monica just might be the springiest restaurant in Chicago. Embracing vibrant flavors and readying for hotter temps, the Lincoln Park fixture rolled out a few new lunchtime poke varieties, including one made with spicy big-eye tuna (pictured) and another with Ora King salmon, each served over a choice of sushi rice with ginger or a kale salad with Napa cabbage. For drinks, rosé is the star of Summer House’s new seasonal wine cart, which roves the dining room filling glasses with varietals from Monterey, Provence and beyond. The restaurant even has its own exclusive rosé, “Take Me Home,” which was selected by wine director and sommelier Ryan Arnold.
1954 N. Halsted St.; 773-634-4100
True to form, chef CJ Jacobson handily applies a Mediterranean accent to seasonal, locally sourced fare at River North’s Ēma with his latest crop of creations including a toasty farro risotto (pictured) with baby artichokes, spring onions and spinach; grilled asparagus with citrusy olive tapenade and za’atar sabayon; and spiced carrots with peppered walnuts, rosemary, housemade labneh cheese and zhoug, a potent chile sauce popular in the Middle East.
74 W. Illinois St.; 312-527-5586