Childhood nicknames have a funny way of sticking with you -- Pacman Jones still hasn't shook a moniker describing how he drank milk, and despite his valiant efforts Three Finger Brown was tragically never able to switch to The Shocker. For food from a chef who's all grown up, hit Ruxbin Kitchen.
Named for the childhood handle of a well-traveled chef (including NYC's Per Se), Ruxbin's eponymous inaugural solo effort's a funky 38-seat BYOB bistro reclaiming everything from old church pew booths, to vintage cookbooks to line the walls, to a glass wall pulled from the DJ booth of the defunct Sonotheque that now divides the dining room, but can still block your shouts for Green Jello. The frequently changing menu's a hodgepodge of Latin/Asian/French influences, with starters like K-Town Empanadas (w/ Oaxaca cheese, kimchee, and chimichurri creme fraiche), roasted corn slathered in chipotle butter/ cilantro/ lime, and an heirloom tomato/pickled onion/ anchovy/ grilled-asparagus-and-feta-covered avocado toast, who's wedding reception performances are historically the pits. Mains're equally eclectic, with garlic white wine mussels topped with Japanese-spiced fries, hanger steak (w/ chimichurri, kale, cauliflower puree, and fennel seed gastrique), and -- sided with chopped almonds/golden raisin basmati rice/black beans/shaved onion -- mojo chicken, though if it really had magical powers it probably would have escaped being your dinner.
For dessert they're slinging goodness like flourless chocolate cake (summer cherries, mint creme anglaise) and panna cotta with lychee and coconut that's been toasted, a pastime that Pacman has been reluctant to give up on or off the field, though that's not much of a shocker.
Published: June 17, 2010 at 4:00am EDT
851 N Ashland
Chicago, IL 60642
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