Where: Chicago, Illinois
The Gist: Billed as a mediterranean hybrid, Beatnik is the collaborative effort of Spanish and Iraqi restauranteurs. The menu reflects this dichotomy in an array of plates categorized into either “Mezze” or shareable “Feast” fare. The former is fueled by the likes of halloumi cheese, beet hummus, hickory smoked scallops; the latter boasts Lebanese style lamb and Pluma Iberica — a melt-in-your-mouth preparation of dry-aged pork loin. The dining experience is heightened by a whimsically arranged interior space. Elaborately carved wood furnishings from Bali line one end, a series of antique chandeliers hang from the other. In lesser hands, the concept would feel busy and confusing, here the kitsch is woven with deft into wide-eyed wonderment.
Review by Brad Japhe