Here's what has Moto chef Homaro Cantu has up his sleeve with ING, his restaurant in the works at 951 W. Fulton:
* The name is an acronym for Imagining New Gastronomy.
* The food will be "delicious, comforting food, but creative," Cantu told me this morning. "I wouldn't say 'molecular' on this new concept."
* And it will be affordable -- "Nothing on the menu will go over
$20 $25," he says.
* You'll be able to order a la carte, but don't expect a "traditional" menu (i.e. appetizers, salads, entrees).
* And beer drinkers will have a field day. Cantu is developing what he calls a "nanobrewing" program, with head brewer Trevor Hamblin and three other inhouse brewers developing on average, a new beer every three days.
* A kitchen table will be devoted to the miracle berry, a fruit that tricks the taste buds into perceiving sour and bitter flavors as sweet. "Everything at the kitchen table will be tasted on miracle berries," he says. Cantu played with miracle berries on his TV show, "Future Food," which was shot at Moto and had an eight-episode run last year on the Planet Green network. (Cantu says he is talking to "other networks" to pick up the show, and is confident it will happen this year; "Same show, different name," he says.)
* Thomas Bowman, currently in the kitchen at Moto, will run the ING kitchen (or kitchens, rather -- there will be three). As as Moto, all employees, including servers, will wear chef's coats and have a hand in all aspects of the operation.
* And when can you begin to experience all this? Cantu is shooting for a March 1 opening.
ING is replacing Otom, and will be right next to Alinea chef Grant Achatz's two new ventures, Next and Aviary, which, once all are up and running, will make this stretch "the number one dining destination in the world," Cantu says.
"I look at it this way: If Grant didn't move in there, would Sbarro's Pizza move in? I sure as hell wouldn't want that."