Jeff Pikus, Maude’s Liquor Bar
A career path that includes three years at Trio under Grant Achatz and a chef de cuisine title at Alinea typically does not lead to cooking Parisian classics in a sexy brasserie. Regardless, that’s the path Pikus chose, ditching the foams and xanthan gum for techniques as old as this town. Terrines are uncommonly light but loaded with flavor; braised chicken thighs fall apart in boozy reduced sauce; blood-red steak is left raw and topped with a quivering slow-poached yolk. As Pikus proves, forward-thinking isn’t the only way to start a revolution. 840 W Randolph St (312-243-9712).