6/17/2013 04:30:00 PM

First Look: Eating in the Pantry, Also Known as Mott St

The idea is genius in its simplicity. With diners’ desire to eat closer and closer to where their food is produced and prepared, why not seat them where it’s stored? Can’t get much closer than that, without putting a table in the kitchen (which has been done before). Enter Mott St, the second restaurant from Vicki Kim, Jenny Kim and Nate Chung of Ruxbin that is based on night markets.

The rustic dining room, done up with woven wood lanterns, serves casual plates meant for sharing. Seats in the back of the space are actually located in the pantry - two walls have built-in cabinets filled with cans, bottles and produces, while third windowed-covered wall keeps the space from feeling claustrophobic. This sort of culinary seclusion is welcomed, because the menu requires getting a little messy.

Between maneuvering plates of pickles with chopsticks and tearing apart sesame-coated chicken wings with bare hands, truly enjoying a meal at Mott St requires a bit of submission and a lot of getting your fingers dirty. Check out the food, space and cocktail menu designed by Chad Hauge, formerly of Longman & Eagle at the little red restaurant, now open in Wicker Park.

1401 N. Ashland Ave.; 312-200-0000

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