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March 23, 2011


By Dispatch Departures | Dining, Chicago


Chef Homaro Cantu has opened the doors of his second Chicago restaurant, iNG, whose menu bears his signature flair for inventiveness and respect for ancient Asian cooking techniques. The name iNG refers to the suffix "-ing" and expresses Cantu's passion for action in the kitchen. The menu is divided according to the verb used to create the food: The "Heating" section, for example, has Baozi buns with pork, enoki mushrooms and melted scallions; noodle soups are listed under the "Boiling" heading; and a waffle (frozen in liquid nitrogen) with coconut and mango sorbet is among the "Sweetening" offerings. But the truly experimental dining happens at the chef's table in the sublevel kitchen, where Cantu offers a 15-course tasting menu to four visitors per evening. The experience is centered around the miracle berry, a cranberry-sized fruit that acts as a natural sweetener, temporarily altering one's taste buds, and on which diners "flavor trip" before sampling certain courses. (Cantu calls it "food science with a purpose.") The details are a secret, but we do know the menu involves a beer and oyster pairing, Poke tuna, salt-and-vinegar kettle corn and sour cherry cheesecake. Miracle berry tasting menu starts at $250; 951 W. Fulton Market; 855-834-6464; ingrestaurant.com.

Photo Mike Ruggirello