The Oscars of the food world descended on Chicago today as Michelin Guide bestowed its prestigious stars on 25 restaurants for 2020. The list includes five impressive newcomers: Kikkō, Mako, Next, Omakase Yume and Yūgen. It's worth noting that three of those additions (Kikkō, Mako and Omakase Yume) are traditional omakase restaurants that opened in the West Loop within the last year or so. Kikkō is the intensely intimate counter located in the basement of Kumiko, where chef de cuisine Mariya Russell and executive chef Noah Sandoval execute a pristine seven-course menu alongside creative director and cocktail guru Julia Momose. At Mako, celebrated sushi chef B.K. Park wows diners with a 25-course tasting menu that's rife with picture-perfect sashimi and nigiri. From the 16-seat counter at Omakase Yume, chef Sangtae Park dispenses a refined 17-course, sushi-centric parade that changes daily.
Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas of the Alinea Group are having a bittersweet day: While Next, their theatrical fine-dining experience in the West Loop, finally nabbed a single star (an honor that has notoriously evaded the restaurant since it opened in 2011), neighboring spot Roister has been stripped of its star, which it retained since 2016. Alinea, the group's crown jewel, unsurprisingly held on to its three-star distinction for 2020.
Chef Mari Katsumura and her team at Yūgen in the West Loop have reason to bust out the fancy champagne: The sophisticated restaurant earned one star for its fascinating five- and 10-course tasting menus, which are influenced by Japanese and French techniques and super-seasonal ingredients.
Unfortunately, Dusek's joins Roister in being cut from this year's lineup. The laidback Pilsen restaurants from 16" on Center specializes in high-end pub grub and beer; it maintained its one-star rating for four years.
Still scratching your head over the difference between one star and three? One star represents high-quality cooking that's worth a stop; two stars indicate excellent cooking that's worth a detour; and three stars denote exceptional cuisine that's worthy of a special journey. With that in mind, take a look at the Chicago restaurants that earned Michelin stars for 2020:
Omakase Yume (NEW)