Happy Anniversary, Ruxbin! As one of Chicago’s most buzzed about restaurants turns 5 this month, we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate (other than actually getting to Ruxbin this June to try the “greatest hits” menu) than to chat with Chef Kim. Read below to find out about Chef Kim’s many accolades, how he stays inspired, and what to expect from this special anniversary menu!
The anniversary menu will be available beginning Monday, June 15th through the remainder of the month (Tuesday tasting menus available on June 16, 23, 30).
“Ruxbin emerges at the junction of Wicker Park and West Town. This 32-seat American Bistro hosts a steam-punk decor in a sepia-toned menagerie. Time periods and materials flair together with the Refurbished, Repurposed, and Reclaimed. Vintage and salvaged compositions furnish every surface of the dining room, creating an inviting respite.”
Congrats on the much deserved, early success of Ruxbin! It must be an amazing feeling to know that you have been so well received in such a short time in a city that thrives on its culinary scene. Can you describe how that feels?
It’s been a great ride and experience. When we first opened, we were just hoping to create a local neighborhood spot, and were shocked by all of the accolades we received. It felt, and continues to feel, surreal. We’re incredibly blessed that we’ve been able to create a niche in Chicago’s ultra-competitive food scene, and lucky to be able to cook what and how we want.
What has been your biggest accomplishment with Ruxbin thus far?
My greatest accomplishment, and one that we’re continually refining, is the establishment of a work culture where our staff is proud of what they do; where each member is respected; and where we are truly invested in one another. I feel most proud when I see how much our staff has grown because I know that when we’re proud of what we’re doing, when we feel that we care for one another, our service and our food is that much better.
What can diners expect from the $55 5-Course meal?
Diners can expect a fully composed meal consisting of highlights from our “greatest hits” over the past five years. The part that I’m most excited about is that this also allows us to craft a complete dining experience; it allows the chefs to guide our diners through a meal. We’re proud of every offering, but in the same way that a great red wine might not pair equally well with every dish, we feel that by allowing us to pair certain dishes in succession with others, we can flex our creative muscle and display are prowess.
How do you stay inspired? Creative?
Talking to staff and picking one another other’s brains, being outside and allowing the weather to dictate what I want to eat, going to the farmers markets and being excited to see what’s shot-up after a long Chicago winter, and going out to eat at one of the many great Chicago restaurants our city has to offer.
We’re looking forward to your “greatest hits” menu- what is your favorite item on the menu? Why?
It’s too hard to choose! That’s like asking which one of your children is your favorite. At certain times, I may like one dish more than another, but I think that’s due to outside circumstances. Its summer now, so I’m more inclined to go with a favorite crudo; come winter, that crudo’s “favorite position” will likely be replaced with a braised short-rib.
“Edward Kim, making his debut in his hometown Chicago, crafts a straight-forward yet progressive menu drawn from his culinary influences from French technique, Asian heritage, and bi-coastal gallivanting. He transforms fresh and, when possible, locally-sourced produce into thoughtful, approachable dishes. Diners can expect American comfort punctuated with Kim’s Chicago-born, Le Cordon Bleu trained, Korean American palate. Ed was born and raised in the northeast suburbs of Chicago. He attended New York University with a B.A. in political science intending to become a lawyer, but found his way into the culinary program at Le Cordon Bleu in Los Angeles and into the kitchen of Thomas Keller’s Per Se. He spent several years honing his craft in places as far away as Seoul, Korea to New York and Los Angeles, working every rung of the ladder from prep-cook all the way to head chef.”