CHIReview

Kasama review image
9.3

Kasama

We first met Kasama in 2020, the Year Of Takeout, when this casual Filipino restaurant in Ukrainian Village was only open for carryout and delivery. Now they’re open for indoor dining, serving both a daytime menu, and a tasting menu at night. And whether you’re here for breakfast, lunch, or a fine dining dinner—Kasama is one of the best restaurants in Chicago.

That’s because all the food we’ve tried from this spot has been incredible, from their unbelievable pastries to their Filipino BBQ. The BBQ platter’s tocino pork ribs are tender, and their smoky longanisa is the sausage we all need (and deserve) to have in our lives. While we’re at it, everyone also deserves the adobo chicken: a fantastic plate of meaty wings, tangy glaze, and garlic rice.

And please, please get to Kasama in the morning before they sell out of pastries. Every single one that we’ve eaten has made us close our eyes and say a prayer of thanks for not hitting snooze for the fourth time that day and getting out of bed. The sweet and salty danish that’s topped with serrano ham and raclette fondue is basically meditation in pastry form.

While the daytime menu has you covered for breakfast and lunch, Thursdays through Sunday the cafe lights a few candles and transforms into a special occasion-worthy restaurant. The 13-course Filipino menu is $185 per person, and it’s a rare fine dining menu that unequivocally feels worth the price. Each course is delicate without being too precious. The menu changes regularly, but you can expect to find delicious things like squid ink pancit topped with serrano ham, lamb belly kare kare—no matter what hits the table, each course is balanced, perfectly executed, and flows seamlessly into the next. Dishes like their version of kinilaw (with hamachi, caviar, and coconut cream) are presented in a smoke-filled glass dome that gives the fish a kiss of applewood. A very cute mushroom adobo is served alongside a frothy mussel emulsion that will suck you in like the savory equivalent of a black hole. 

Enhancing all of the above is the incredible service. It’s attentive without being overly formal, and the server will give you a little background on each dish, why it’s important to the chef, and, if applicable, a personal anecdote, like how nilagang (here it’s made with A5 wagyu and beef broth on the side) was what their mom made them when they were sick as a kid. They’ll even give you a little parting gift as you leave (ours was an ube Basque cake) but after such an outstanding experience, you might feel a little guilty accepting it.

Food Rundown

Filipino Tasting Menu

The menu changes regularly, but you can expect 13 delicious courses of fine dining interpretations of Filipino dishes. Like bistek made with A5 wagyu, a version of sinigang with medium-rare salmon topped with a tamarind beurre blanc, and siomai filled with duck and foie gras.

Filipino BBQ Platter

Yes, the term “fall off the bone” to describe ribs is overused. But that doesn’t change the fact that just looking at the ribs from Kasama caused them to fall off the bone. The platter also comes with smoky longanisa, giardiniera mustard, and thick slices of toasted bread.

Kasama review image

Chicken Adobo

What makes adobo chicken wings even better? Fluffy garlic rice and atchaya. A bite of sweet and tangy chicken, pickled papaya, and garlicky rice is pretty perfect.

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Lumpia

The pork-filled lumpia come with a sweet chili sauce, and needs to be on your (coffee and/or patio) table.

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Ham And Cheese Danish

The person in charge of the excellent pastries at Kasama is the former pastry chef from Oriole, so it’s not surprising they’re so good. The ham and cheese danish is a good example of what makes them so perfect - salty serrano ham and raclette fondue on top of a light and flaky pastry that’s topped with sugar.

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Berry Creme Fraiche Cheesecake

This simple looking dessert manages to be the lightest cheesecake we’ve ever had. It has a soft graham crust and is topped with a light berry sauce.

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