Lincoln Park | Chicago
The new Israeli cooking is thriving across the country, and Galit chef Zach Engel has been present for the best of it — whether in the kitchen at Zahav in Philadelphia, or as chef de cuisine at New Orleans’ Shaya, where he picked up a James Beard Award as a rising star chef. Hence Chicagoans who know are aware how lucky they are that he hung his hat in Lincoln Park, where Galit has become a fixture of one of the country’s most energetic restaurant communities.
The $65 set menu here walks you through flavors both instantly familiar and just a bit more dashing and offbeat — as with a beet mezze that folds in black garlic and pumpernickel, or green beans that somehow incorporate both blackberries and the chicken-skin chicharrones known as gribenes. Trout with tomatoes, summer squash, Persian lime and labneh feels like a Midwestern staple with wanderlust, while Engel’s pastrami carves a path through both eastern Europe and New York, with a detour through Yemen (!) in the form of the flatbread known as malawach. In other words, his cooking is both grounded in tradition, and boundary-less in the best way.