Lettuce Wrapped: Our Favorite Dishes & Drinks of the Year
The 2023 Hit List
If there was a Spotify Wrapped recapping the number of dishes and drinks served at Lettuce restaurants in 2023, we’re pretty sure it would break the algorithm, as there’s too many to count! While it’s impossible to showcase all of the favorites from the last year at Lettuce, here are a few crave-able standouts, from deliciously new to nearly iconic, that made 2023 a year to remember.
Bougatsa at Aba – Miami
Towering in at nearly a foot high, this flaky dessert has been a smash this year – literally! – at Aba – Miami Bal Harbour. Available exclusively at the Bal Harbour Shops hot spot, the Aba team has “smashed” 3,598 orders tableside in 2023 of the heavenly combination of phyllo pastry, vanilla custard, cinnamon sugar streusel and orange blossom.
Make a reservation at Aba – Miami
Charred Octopus at El Segundo Sol
The Mexican mainstay at the Fashion Show Mall on The Las Vegas Strip unveiled a new Tulum-inspired look and menu, including a few seafood-centric dishes that have quickly become El Segundo Sol signatures, especially the Charred Octopus with potatoes, chimichurri and garlic aioli.
Make a reservation at El Segundo Sol
Tokyo Breakfast at Miru at the St. Regis Chicago
When Miru opened in May 2023 for breakfast, lunch and dinner, its specialty Tokyo Breakfast featuring grilled umami salmon, dashi tomago, rice, and miso soup, quickly became a signature favorite and put the modern Japanese restaurant on the map as a go-to hotel breakfast spot. Pair it with fresh juices, teas and coffees, or a morning cocktail like The 1871 Bloody Mary. (Coming in early 2024: Weekend brunch at Miru and the opening of Tre Dita at The St. Regis Chicago!)
Make a reservation at Miru
The 1871 Bloody Mary at Miru at the St. Regis Chicago
The 1871 Bloody Mary arrives in a smoking glass – an homage to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Every St. Regis location worldwide has a signature bloody mary, and this savory, aromatic concoction created for Lettuce’s restaurants within the luxe hotel, Miru and the hotly anticipated Tre Dita (slated to open in January 2024), has been a hit.
Make a reservation at Miru
Sake-san at Sushi-san, The Omakase Room at Sushi-san & Ramen-san
A collaboration between the Lettuce’s San restaurants team, Sake Sommelier Daniel Bennett and Daimon Brewery in Osaka, Japan (aka Chicago’s “sister city”), this exclusive, small batch sake is a top seller across San locations. Notes of melon pair perfectly with the umami flavors of each menu, and it’s available in limited quantities by the glass or bottle.
Make a reservation at Sushi-san, The Omakase Room at Sushi-san or the Ramen-san location nearest you
ALL the Cookies at Summer House
It’s been an epic year for Lettuce’s California-cool restaurant, with new outposts opening in Las Vegas and Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort. There are innumerable things to love about Summer House’s West Coast-inspired, seasonal menu, but one thing that every customer can agree on is that the cookies are out of this world! From Sea Salt Chocolate Chip and Vegan Snickerdoodle to Apple Oatmeal (the favorite of Los Angeles Times food columnist Jenn Harris), there’s a flavor for everyone.
Make a reservation at the Summer House location nearest you
Mushroom & Eggplant Ragù at The Oakville Grill & Cellar
The Oakville quickly became a go-to for lunch and dinner after opening in early 2023, and it recently launched brunch, too! Along with serving what Chicago Magazine dubbed one of the best pizzas in the city, the Mushroom & Eggplant Ragù is far-and-away a standout main. Made with house-made pappardelle topped with parmesan, this dish is so hearty, filling and comforting, no one can believe it’s vegetarian!
Make a reservation at The Oakville Grill & Cellar
1944 Trader Vic Mai Tai at Three Dots and a Dash
Three Dots and a Dash celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2023 with a special legacy menu featuring the most beloved drinks from its first decade. The 1944 Trader Vic Mai Tai continues to reign supreme on the modern tropical cocktail menu from Beverage Director Kevin Beary and his expert bar team.
Make a reservation at Three Dots and a Dash
Otoro Tartare at The Omakase Room at Sushi-san
The Otoro Tartare with caviar, duck egg and chive, wowed guests this year as one of the most impressive dishes on the 18-course tasting menu of exquisitely prepared Japanese fish, waygu and more. Led by Master Sushi Chef and Partner Kaze Chan, The Omakase Room continued to draw recognition this year as one of the best new restaurants in Chicago from Conde Nast Traveler, Time Out Chicago, among others.
Make a reservation at The Omakase Room
Pastrami Sandwich at Bub City
The Chicago Tribune recognized this longtime fan favorite – available exclusively on Fridays after Chef Tim Cottini and the Bub City team have spent nearly an entire week prepping the meat via a finely tuned process – among the best pastrami in town this spring.
Make a reservation at the Bub City location nearest you
French Onion Soup Au Gratin at L. Woods Tap & Pine Lodge
Eddie Farrer, co-host of Barstool Sports’ popular The Mid Show, gave an on-air shoutout to L. Woods’ legendary French Onion Soup Au Gratin as one of the best bowls of French Onion Soup in Chicagoland, and we couldn’t agree more!
Make a reservation at L. Woods Tap & Pine Lodge
Salted Caramel Meringata at RPM Italian – Las Vegas
This show-stopping dessert has been lighting up tables all year long at RPM Italian’s outpost inside the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace! Get your camera ready to capture the salted caramel and vanilla treat, doused with warm chocolate sauce, as it’s flambéed tableside.
Make a reservation at RPM Italian – Las Vegas
Oh My! Caramel Pie at Beatrix
Named among the city’s best pies by Time Out Chicago, Beatrix’s Oh My! Caramel Pie is one for caramel lovers. Per Time Out, “twice-baked shortbread cookie crust cradles all the creamy caramel filling you desire.” (Insider tip: Freeze leftover slices – if there are any! – for a frozen caramel treat.)
Make a reservation at Beatrix
The Stir Fry Bar at Big Bowl
The big news this fall was the triumphant return of Big Bowl’s beloved Stir Fry Bar at its Schaumburg and Lincolnshire locations. Guests have once again been invited to build their own custom bowls, piling on their choice of proteins, veggies and sauces to hand off to Big Bowl chefs to stir fry to perfection.
Make a reservation at Big Bowl Schaumburg | Make a reservation at Big Bowl Lincolnshire
Chef Collaboration Series at Ramen-san
Along with opening its new Lincoln Park location this year, Ramen-san served up hit after hit in its chef collaboration series, partnering with award-winning chefs to create exclusive ramen bowls available at the restaurant each month and during multi-course tasting dinners showcasing each chef’s unique skills. Chef Thai Dang of HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen, Chef Stephen Gillanders of Valhalla, Chef D’Andre of Soul & Smoke and more were among the collaborators.
Make a reservation at the Ramen-san location nearest you
Whole King Crab Experience at Shaw’s Crab House – Chicago
Shaw’s Whole King Crab Experience gives a whole new meaning to “dinner and show”! Theatre-goers flock to Shaw’s Crab House and Oyster Bar before and after shows at The Chicago Theatre, Nederlander, Gotham and others, and this exclusive experience for parties of 6-8 guests continued this year to rave reviews. The star of the show is the 5 lb. Whole Alaskan King Crab, which is expertly cracked tableside and served chilled.
Make a reservation at Shaw’s Crab House – Chicago