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Quick Bites

By Chuck Sudo in Food on May 8, 2008 2:48PM

2008_05_sameulsson.jpgWe know that Chicago is a restaurant hot spot. While out-of-town writers particularly tend to maintain the clichés (earned, mind you) of Chicago being a steak and potatoes, deep dish pizza town, out-of-town chefs know the real score.

  • The cover story to yesterday's Sun-Times food section was about the flood of celebrity chefs opening restaurants here in the upcoming months. Laurent Gras is opening L2O, Jose Garces' Mercat a la Planxa is one of the best new restaurants to open locally this year, Aquavit sensation Marcus Samuelsson's (pictured) new C-House on the Mag Mile is already open for breakfast, and New York cheese whiz Terrance Brennan is opening a Chicago location of his Artisanal Bistro and Wine Bar at 900 N. Michigan this fall.
  • That article was filed before Gordon Ramsay announced at his book signing last week that he wants "a piece of the action" and plans on opening a restaurant next year, after he's done whipping up his local "Kitchen Nightmares" locations into shape.
  • It's been years since we've eaten fugu, the poisonous fish that, if not prepared properly, can kill you. The New York Times ran an article Sunday (via) on an area of Japan that serves the toxic fish's liver. A Japanese scientist has studied the fish for years and contends that the toxin tetrodotoxin - which has no antidote - actually comes from bacteria found in the food from which the fish feeds. The National Fugu Association still contends that the fish can be dangerous if not prepared properly. You can find fugu at Ai Sushi and Tsuki in Lincoln Park from November to January. Chef Toyoji Hemmi, the only sushi chef licensed to handle fugu in the Midwest, splits his time between the two.
  • Mixology wunderkind Peter Vestinos of Sepia filed a report of his participation at the US Bartenders Guild National Cocktail competition for Time Out Chicago, where he placed fourth overall. If you haven't tried Vestinos' creations, you're missing out.