Who’s Next: Eight people who will be Running Chicago’s top kitchens of the future

1. Stephanie Izard  Scylla restaurant details
1952 N. Damen Ave.; 773-227-2995
Just 30, Izard knows seafood like an old salt,
hooking a Hawaiian hebi (shortbill spearfish)
to sauté and serve atop lump crab with Vidalia
onion purée and grilled peaches.
2. Andrew Zimmerman Del Toro
1020 N. Damen Ave.; 773-252-1500
Former rock guitarist no hitting all the right
chords with addictive Spanish nibble like crispy
fried chickpeas, pimiento fritos, and bite-size
patatas bravas.
3. Alexander Cheswick May Street Market
1132 W. Grand Ave.; 312-421-5547
The guy’s only 32 and his West Town restaurant
only a year old, but his Maytag blue cheesecake
with a crisp pecan crust, Miner’s lettuce, and apri-
cot ice is an instant classic.
4. Robert Reynaud Vivers
71 W. Monroe St.;312-332-4040
Reynaud, a former exec chef at Biaggi’s is mak-
ing the most of his time in the big leagues with
stylish, robust Italian – like risotto with crab and
orecchiette with pork sausage and rapini.
5. Doran Payne Rhapsody
65 E.Adams St; 312-786-9911
Payne’s got the training (Le Cordon Bleu), the
résumé (Tailevent, Four Seasons), and creations
that sing – like seared diver scallop risotto on
a round of nori with slivers of shaved reggiano.
6. Fred Ramos Gioco
1312 S. Wabash Ave.; 312-930-3870
His artichoke tart with caramelized fennel and
green olive emulsion proves Ramos has bloomed
with wholehearted Italian after knocking around
at Printer’s Row and Pili.Pili.
7. Aaron Browning Koda
10352 S. Western Ave.; 773-446-5632
The Beverly neighborhood finally gets the chef
it deserves, and Everest veteran Browning packs
them in for roasted corn and crayfish chowder
and a double pork chop in oyster mushroom sauce
with Parmesan grits.
8. Kate Neumann MK
868 N. Franklin St.; 312-482-9179
Neumann’s American dessert flavors pick up right
where her mentor Mindy Segal’s left off: the
“What’s Up Peanut Butter Cup?” is a peanut but-
ter mousse with crispy milk chocolate, a peanut
caramel tart, and peanut brittle.

“Fair-weather fish  We’d need both hands to count the ways we love Bucktown’s Scylla (the adorable 1879 bungalow it’s housed in and the metalwork over the patio, to name two), so it was tough to pick just one dish to highlight.  And since chef-owner Stephanie Izard is a stickler for season, there are dozens of fleeting flavors she creates out of a virtual grab bag of fishermen’s luck.  But the hands-down winner of the menu is the grilled wild striped bass served with crab-and-almond-filled squash blossoms, pattypan squash, chive yogurt and grilled peach flatbread.  The Virginian fish will only be around through July, and then Izard’s on to the next catch.  1952 N. Damen Ave. between Homer St. and Armitage Ave. (773-227-2995). -HS”

Mediterranean Seafood
Scylla, tucked into a snug Bucktown brownstone, may remind you of Shawn McClain’s Spring.  Stephanie Izard, the 28-year-old chef/owner, is a veteran of the seafood paradise down the road, and her appetizer of creamy whitefish bisque swimming with lobster and sweet English peas is evidence that she soaked up a lot in her two years there.  Izard doesn’t go overboard with potentially complex dishes such as prosciutto-wrapped shrimp with buttery cauliflower puree, toasted hazelnuts, and pomegranate sauce.  And her presentations are quirky:  the crisp skate wing looks as though it were in its natural habitat, hiding a treasure of grilled calamari, explosive roasted cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, and spiced tomato aioli.  An eggy lemon custard has a delicious cheesecake consistency and came with an understated olive oil-thyme ice cream that one of my companions said “tasted like something I would rub on my face at a spa.”  (I assume that’s good.)  Servers are sharp and pleasant, considering the tight quarters, but the real revelation here is Izard, who seems primed for stardom of her own.   J.R.

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