Somerset, the latest restaurant from the Boka Restaurant Group, will open today.
The Gold Coast newcomer (1112 N. State St.) promises approachable food and eye-popping decor.
"It's our most ambitious restaurant to date," said Boka Group partner Rob Katz. "It will have a '67 yacht club feel. There's a 40-foot ceiling when you walk in, it takes up two floors and has a spectacular outdoor space as well. We're thrilled with the work from AvroKO (the design firm behind Somerset and three other Boka Group restaurants)."
Executive chef is Lee Wolen, who also helms Boka, the group's signature restaurant. Wolen said his food at Somerset won't be quite as refined as that at Boka, but promises the same attention to detail. Think pasta with duck ragu, rather than a more composed plate, and a whole-roasted chicken for two.
"I love chicken, I always order chicken," he said. "It takes something to do a really good roasted chicken."
Somerset's wood grill will produce vegetable dishes, such as broccoli with black garlic and almonds, and a smoked-beet tartare with sunflower butter, cumin yogurt, goat gouda and flatbread.
"My favorite dish on the menu," Wolen said.
Executive pastry chef Meg Galus, who oversees desserts for Boka and Swift & Sons, is in charge of the desserts at Somerset, as well.
This is the Boka Group's first foray into the Gold Coast neighborhood.
"It feels like we've tackled another city," said Boka partner Kevin Boehm. "It's a different crowd, a different way of addressing them. It's a new adventure."
Speaking of adventure, this is turning out to be quite a week for Wolen, who became a daddy (welcome to Chicago, Logan James Wolen) Monday night.
Phil Vettel is a Tribune critic.