Sounds Like Schwa
Schwa is kind of a difficult place to describe; it's such an eclectic bundle of everything, you just have to experience it for yourself. The exterior of the building makes it look like it should be condemned, but it's actually structurally sound. Upon entering you'll be greeted by the always hustling, yet always friendly staff, who will get you to one of the only 26 seats in the small but comfortable dining room. Music—usually heavy metal or rap—is played at a pretty high decibel level, and actually gets inside your brain at times, but for some odd reason it totally works in this place. Overhead the light fixtures are mini works of art that seem literally cobbled together, and to get to the bathroom you actually walk through the kitchen. But once you indulge in all that is unique and wonderful about the place, then you can settle in and indulge in the Michelin-starred food. Anything is fair game here, from Fruit Loop–inspired courses to a curried paste that came in a real-deal petri dish, to the crab that was perched on top of a glass of smoke (you removed the top to inhale the flavored scents—and then ate the crab). And we were told not to play with our food as children! Schwa's chef Michael Carlson surely did not heed that advice growing up, and as a result we get to reap the benefit of his creative food fantasies coming to life.
By Matthew Keesecker, AFAR Local Expert
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1466 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622, USA
Tue - Sat 5:30pm - 9pm