Review: Ruxbin Grows Up With Clean-Line Decor That Matches Chef Kim's Precise Cooking

Chicago Tribune's Phil Vettel examines a seven-year-old restaurant

Smooth wood, wood slats, tile, brick and stone provide a range of textures, while loose pillows add a homey touch to the fabric-lined banquette.

For too long, Ruxbin, a Noble Square BYO closing in on its seventh birthday, has been more famous for its decor than for its food.

Any chef would find that grating, but when you're a chef with a Bon Appetit Best New Restaurant award and a James Beard Best Chef Great Lakes nod in your back pocket, as in the case of chef/owner Edward Kim, I would imagine the decor-over-food disconnect would be close to intolerable.

Then, too, Ruxbin, the name a play on the old Teddy Ruxpin child's toy (and also Kim's childhood nickname), has grown considerably in the last few years, far beyond its look-at-me beginnings.

"The one big driving force (when Ruxbin debuted) was just to keep the doors open," Kim said. "But as we've gotten better, the food has evolved a lot. It was a little scary, but I thought we should invest in the front of the house to reflect the type of service we have at this point."

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Find out what's changed over the last seven years.