8/01/2012 11:59:00 AM

Two Opens in Black Sheep's Former West Town Location

Crispy chicken thigh with with grilled market vegetables at Two.
Michael Phelps may have used that lucky swim cap or pump-up jams to drive him to his 19th Olympic medal, Superstitions are not reserved for athletes. This week, Two opened in the former space of Black Sheep, and the foodies are wondering: is any restaurant opening in that cursed location doomed to fail?

The meat-focused menu along with Midwestern microbrews and a carefully selected wine menu may be more welcome in West Town than Black Sheep’s high end fare. Chef Tom Van Lente is in the kitchen. His previous experience includes working at Landmark and WestEnd as well as alongside chef Benjamin Browning, a professor at Kendall College, and Rob Leavitt of Butcher at Larder.

Expect to find dishes like an heirloom tomato salad with burratta, thyme roasted halibut and cider-braised pork belly. Co-owner Yamandu Perez curated the accompanying wine list, which consists of a hundred bottled stored in cubbies in the dining room. Sommelier-certified Perez’s spent six years working at Gabriel’s in Highwood before opening Zak’s Place in Hinsdale and serving as executive chef.

The Midwestern theme of their menus extends to the décor with a red barn door taking up most one wall as well as reclaimed wood and knives on the others. The 60-seat dining room consists of several communal tables in addition to a 25-seat bar. The rustic simplicity of the décor should hopefully prevent drama that caused Black Sheep’s downfall (staff walk-outs and mismanagement that led to it's closure last year within months of opening).

Two is going for the gold, as a Yukon gold, and hoping to avoid an upset.

1132 W. Grand Ave.; 312-624-8363


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