The Catbird Seat
The Catbird Seat is not merely a meal, it's an experience. Twenty-two diners per seating (with two seatings a night) spread out around a U-shaped open kitchen in a modest space above Patterson House, owned by parent company Strategic Hospitality. The menu isn't announced in advance and rather dependent on what ingredients are fresh and available, not to mention the chef's whims, but past offerings have included fare as diverse as steak tartare with snails eggs and a salad with chamomile, crème fraîche, and orange. Though it's been open since 2011, the Catbird Seat is still the hottest table in town—and the hardest reservation to get. The latest chef, Ryan Poli, who joined the team in early 2016, is an alum of some of the top kitchens in Chicago, and after leaving the Windy City he took two years to travel the world and learn from—and cook with—chefs that inspire him. His globetrotting took him from Philadelphia to Japan, Australia to Nashville, and his food his heavily inspired by his journey. Reservations open up 30 days in advance, so be perched at your computer waiting.