photo credit: nickb@hystk

Schwa image


ExperimentalMolecular Gastronomy

Wicker Park

$$$$Perfect For:BirthdaysBYOBImpressing Out of TownersSpecial OccasionsUnique Dining Experience


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Imagine your friends won’t answer your calls, don’t care about your feelings, and are generally unconcerned with your needs. Now imagine those friends are some kick-ass chefs who let you come to their restaurant, bring your own booze, drink as much as you want, and serve you the culinary creations that only eight-pound six-ounce omnipotent baby Jesus himself could concoct. Welcome to Schwa, where the small team of chefs share all the duties in the restaurant.

They may not actually be our friends, but that’s the feeling we get when we walk in the door. Schwa offers a bit of everything, including some molecular gastronomy, a fun atmosphere, a rotating tasting menu, and great music. Don’t overlook the music. Name another restaurant where you can eat quail egg ravioli with truffle while listening to rap, hip-hop, and metal, because you can’t.

It’s a 12-course $165-$195 tasting menu, and is also BYOB, so feel free to bring an abundance of whatever your preferred drink of choice is to accompany the progression of dishes and lengthy meal (plan for about three hours). The chefs are also the servers, and they’ll casually drop foie gras pancakes in a raisin-miso broth on the table as if they aren’t about to change your life. The restaurant is tiny, the bathroom is in the center of the kitchen, and yes, the table next to you is now taking shots with one of the chef that just brought you some pancakes.

Stop at your local liquor store before heading this way because there isn’t a convenient one near the restaurant, and while it’s not necessary, it certainly doesn’t hurt to bring the chefs a six-pack or bottle of whisky, should you so choose. Whatever you decide, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Food Rundown

Movie Snacks

Pizza cotton candy. Popcorn drink. “Nacho.” A sophisticated take on some childhood favorites. Use your imagination.

Quail Egg Ravioli

There’s a reason this seems to be the only standing dish on a constantly changing menu – it’s that good. There’s also a reason you don’t get any silverware with it. You’re not allowed to use any.


Picture tea and crumpets with the Queen of England turned into a lobster dish. Perfectly cooked, butter poached lobster, with lavender biscuits and some serious floral tastes.

Elk Sniped From a Helicopter

No, but really, that was the description. Elk is a lean meat, and it’s delicious. So give it a shot (not literally) if you’ve never had it before.

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