Chicago’s Kumiko among Food & Wine’s best new restaurants for 2019

The bar’s creative team is about to open Kikko, a subterranean 10-seat counter restaurant, offering a 7-course omakase menu.

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The Falling Blossom cocktail at Kumiko.

Sammy Faze Photography

The Japanese-inspired Kumiko, located in Chicago’s West Loop, has been named to the No. 5 spot on Food & Wine’s list of best new restaurants for 2019, it was announced Tuesday.

The tony formal cocktail bar, with a creative team that includes creative director Julia Momose, partners Noah and Cara Sandoval and chef de cuisine Mariya Russell, opened in December at 630 W. Lake. 


The warm oyster from Kumiko.

Sammy Faze Photography

The magazine’s editors “fell in love with” with the overall experience at Kumiko noting: “A cocktail, omakase or a tear in the space-time continuum? We may never know.”

The cocktail bar team is set to open Kikko on May 22, the bar’s subterranean 10-seat counter restaurant, offering a 7-course omakase experience.

“It took us a while to find a name for Kumiko,” said Momose, via Thursday’s official announcement. “Then came the conversation of ‘are we a bar, or are we a restaurant?’ It is an honor to be named one of the best new restaurants in America. I love the realization that we can exist within both worlds – a place where the food delights and restores and where the drinks satiate all thirsts.”


The interior of the formal cocktail bar Kumiko.

Sammy Faze Photography

Here’s the top 10 list from Food & Wine:

  1. Cadence, Philadelphia – Chef Jon Nodler, Chef Michael Fry, and Pastry Chef Samantha Kincaid
  2. Suerte, Austin, Texas – Chef Fermin Nunez and Restaurateur Sam Hellman-Mass
  3. Frenchette, New York City – Chef Riad Nasr and Chef Lee Hanson
  4. Konbi, Los Angeles – Chefs Akira Akuto and Nick Montgomery
  5. Kumiko, Chicago – Chef Noah Sandoval and Creative Director Julia Momose
  6. Adda Indian Canteen, Long Island City, NY – Chef Chintan Pandya
  7. Fox & the Knife, Boston – Chef Karen Akunowicz
  8. Indigo, Houston – Chef Jonny Rhodes
  9. Nightshade, Los Angeles – Chef Mei Lin
  10. Piece of Meat, New Orleans – Butchers Leighann Smith and Daniel Jackson

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