LINCOLN SQUARE — Lincoln Square is officially on the map as a fine dining destination, with Chris Nugent of Goosefoot and Iliana Regan of Elizabeth both snagging Rising Chef nominations for a Jean Banchet Award.
Elizabeth, which opened in September, also scored nods for Best New Restaurant and Restaurant of the Year.
Goosefoot's Nugent raised more than a few eyebrows last fall when he announced he was leaving the acclaimed Les Nomades to open a small storefront operation on a stretch of Lawrence Avenue once termed "desolate" by the Chicago Reader. Few question Nugent's logic now with Goosefoot becoming one of the toughest reservations in town.
Regan's Elizabeth boasts an equally unlikely location, on Western Avenue, immediately adjacent to a tire shop. The chef also has an unusual pedigree — she has no professional training — and her emphasis on foraged ingredients had foodies salivating before she even served a single dish.
She seems to have lived up to the hype. In his review for the Sun-Times, Michael Nagrant wrote, "I have seen idiosyncratic chefs, uncompromising cooks and original thinkers, but I have rarely experienced every one of those traits in one person like I do in Regan."
Winners of the Banchet Awards, which honor Chicago's finest dining establishments, will be announced Feb. 8 at the Grand Chef's Gala.