Slideshow: The 11 Best Dishes at Chicago Gourmet

Bánh Mì Crostini from Saigon Sisters
Bánh Mì Crostini from Saigon Sisters
I knew Saigon Sisters served a mean bánh mì, but instead of simply making a whole bunch of sandwiches and cutting them up, this West Loop joint took the components and stuck them on an easy to eat crostini. All the flavors were there—the rich and funky meat, the pickled vegetables.

Saigon Sisters, 567 West Lake Street, Chicago, IL 60661 (map); 312-496-0090; saigonsisters.com‎

Black Tuffle Short Rib Debris Po' boy from Restaurant R'evolution
Black Tuffle Short Rib Debris Po' boy from Restaurant R'evolution
This very New Orleans dish came from an actual New Orleans restaurant. Restaurant R'evolution is a partnership between Nola native John Folse and Chicago's Rick Tramanto. I haven't been to the actual location, but this was an incredible preview. The bun was soft and delicate enough to let the beef and toppings shine through. Hopefully we get a Chicago outlet of this place soon.

Restaurant R'evolution, 777 Bienville Street, New Orleans, LA 70130 (map); 504-553-2277; revolutionnola.com‎

Green Papaya Salad from Embeya
Green Papaya Salad from Embeya
This was my first bite from the new West Loop restaurant, but it has me very intrigued. The papaya salad was tangy, tart, with just enough spice. I can't wait to try more from this place.

Embeya, 564 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661 (map); 312-612-5640; embeya.com‎

Carbonated Pineapples and Grapes from Moto
Carbonated Pineapples and Grapes from Moto
Exactly what it sounds like. I can't remember precisely how the mad wizards behind Moto managed to carbonate fruit, but I certainly loved the result. The pineapples had an effervescent quality, much appreciated on the hot day.

Moto, 945 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 (map); 312-491-0058; motorestaurant.com‎

Nacional 27: Red Snapper Ceviche and Yuzu
Nacional 27: Red Snapper Ceviche and Yuzu
Talk about refreshing. This cooling ceviche of red snapper with yuzu was tart and acidic, but you could still make out the fish. I could have downed about a dozen of these things.

Nacional 27, 325 West Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60654 (map); 312-664-2727; n27chicago.com‎

Chilled Corn Soup with Shrimp from Tavernita
Chilled Corn Soup with Shrimp from Tavernita
I faced a lot of soups, including a lot with corn, but none quite captured the sweet character of this vegetable better than this refreshing soup from chef Ryan Poli.

Tavernita, 151 West Erie Street, Chicago, IL 60654 (map); 312-274-1111; tavernita.com‎

NoMI Kitchen: Enoki mushroom bouillon with Jamón ibérico
NoMI Kitchen: Enoki mushroom bouillon with Jamón ibérico
This shot of soup was earthy, rich, and very creative.

NoMI Kitchen, 800 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611 (map); Park Hyatt Chicago‎; 312-239-4030; hyatt.com‎

Rabbit Rillette on a House-Made Ritz Cracker from Nellcôte
Rabbit Rillette on a House-Made Ritz Cracker from Nellcôte
Yeah, the rabbit rillette was creamy, fatty, and spot-on. But I my heart swooned over the house-made Ritz cracker, which was extra buttery and crisp. I'd buy a box of these.

Nellcôte, 833 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607 (map); 312-432-0500; nellcoterestaurant.com‎

Pickled Watermelon with Black Olives and Mozzarella from Balena
Pickled Watermelon with Black Olives and Mozzarella from Balena
Another complete surprise. Sure, it was a hot day, and anything cool was welcome. But this salad was so much more than just a refreshing bite. Hats off to chef Chris Pandel for serving something that looks so simple and yet tastes so complex.

The Bristol, 2152 North Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-862-5555; thebristolchicago.com‎