If you’re visiting Chicago, don’t miss the opportunity to check out the world’s very first Filipino restaurant to receive a Michelin Star. Kasama, which means “together” in Tagalog, was recently given a Michelin Star rating and upon entry, it’s clear why. The restaurant describes its dishes as created to emote togetherness and bring people together through food. Although Filipino food cannot be described in one word, “together” seems to capture the essence.
The feeling of togetherness is evident in the restaurant’s roots as husband-and-wife chefs Tim Flores and Genie Kwon created the concept. In an effort to popularize Filipino dishes in their vision, Kasama has been gifting diners with traditional dishes with a creative spin.
In a recent interview with Michelin, Chef Tim Flores noted that their “biggest goal was to make Filipino food more accessible to people that have never had it before. Since we do breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it kind of helped us become a little more relatable; our diners ease into the experience whether they come in during different times of the day.”
You can expect to see unique, creative dishes with traditional roots such as sinigang, or salmon dressed with a tamarind beurre blanc and topped with smoked roe over a bed of melting leeks; kare kare, a dish of lamb belly with a peanut “curry;” and an elegant take on “halo-halo” combining Asian pear granita, pandan ice cream and freeze-dried mandarin.
According to Chef Flores, “The format of Filipino food in our menu is that we combine different techniques to make sure that each course doesn’t feel like a stew or a soup. So, for example, in our mushroom adobo dish, we take mushrooms and roast them in a chicken jus that we reduce, and then season the mushrooms like you would chicken adobo,” explains Flores. “And then, we make a mussel sauce. We take mussels and cook them down with vinegar, make an emulsion, and serve it as foam on the plate. We give these flavours a different texture and a different look.”
When given the Michelin Star rating, Flores noted to Michelin Guide that he experienced a flood of emotions and that he believes “the rise of Filipino food is really beginning. You’re seeing a lot of chefs across the United States and all over the world just doing modern takes on some Filipino dish. I believe it’s an outcome of the generation.”
Kasama isn’t just a culinary dream; its captivating design elevates the entire experience. Guests are able to watch the magic in the kitchen through a framed counter and really experience the dish at every step.
If you want to check out Kasama, book a reservation here.