I live only a short walk from the space formerly occupied by 42 Grams, one of the best restaurants I've ever experienced. The food at 42 Grams was so good that they earned two Michelin stars just a few months after opening. But when the owners' marriage fell apart, so did the restaurant, closing suddenly one weekend in May 2017.
A new restaurant opened in the space at the end of September, and...well, it might be worth trying, but maybe not yet.
Brass Heart opened last summer. Chicago Eater was optimistic:
Last year, there was worry about a lack of fine dining options in Chicago after a rash of closings including Tru and 42 Grams. Brass Heart swings the pendulum the other way.
The Robb Report interviewed chef Matt Kerney on his ambitions for the space:
“It’s a chef’s dream to have a little tasting menu-only restaurant, and when given the opportunity, I wanted to do my high-end, hyper-refined restaurant,” he says.
“Everything that we cook I want to taste like the purest form of itself. I want the lobster to be the most lobster-y lobster you’ve had and the tomato to be the most tomato-y,” he says. “For our tomato dish we make a tomato oil, and then a tomato vinegar on top of that. Everything is about amplifying exact flavors.” And where at Longman he worked magic with a lot of off cuts, he gets the luxury of creating with high-end ingredients at Brass Heart, using A5 wagyu and lobster in his menu.
But the post-open reviews do not encourage. Chicago magazine gave it 1½ out of 4 stars:
Alas, the procession of zillion-megawatt meteorites is interspersed with miscalculations and filler. The course before that magical halibut involved cappelletti chewier than bubblegum, stuffed with oversalty pheasant, and served in a broth so aggressively earthy it almost tasted like dirt. After the halibut came a shockingly bland seared lamb loin sitting atop ground hazelnuts and surrounded by beets and 25 dots of flavorless persimmon purée. Next came the Kobe beef masterpiece and, with it, hope. But the following course? A nutty Grayson cheese that had been transformed into a slice of cheesecake and paired, for some nefarious reason, with Dijon mustard foam: a marriage that makes no sense. The 15 courses began to feel like a Ping-Pong game between James Beard and an art school freshman. The three-and-a-half-hour meal’s rhythm, which was relaxed bordering on somnolent, only accentuated the problem.
It does have 4½ stars on Yelp, but so do Wildberry Pancakes and Dog Haus Biergarten.
So I may not plunk down the $125 for the entry-level omnivore menu just yet. We'll see what the Michelin folks say.