-Grubbing in ChicagoJapanese inspired Soft Serve (and Savory)
What a brutal winter and basically non existent Spring. Chicagoan's will tell you it's worth it for those three months of summer but this past calendar has been especially testing. Imagine how LA native Johnny Lee feels. The Cantonese-American chef moved to Chicago last December to open Rakki Cafe - an Asian style soft serve ice cream shop on Milwaukee. I got a chance to stop in twice right around the end / start of the new year and right before the winter turned mean. It stayed so cold and miserable I never did get the chance to go back until just recently when we finally had a nice day.
Newly Opened in Wicker Park
Chef Johnny Lee is well known in LA's restaurant circle. He still has a project back there that does pop-ups and such. I had a chance to check out an event at LA's Chinatown After Dark where I ate some of his insanely delicious pork jowl char siu. On instagram Johnny is always playing around in his kitchen both baking and cooking. So you'll also find pastries in a display case. Soft serve is whipped up in two flavors (Matcha / Black Sesame) and served a variety of ways. The best bet is getting dessert from the top shelf by which I mean the Rakki Royale. It's your choice of soft serve with a swirl option available and topped with all the toppings including but not limited to red beans and rice puffs with a slice of matcha souffle cake sitting next to it. It's one of the best desserts in town and a possible preview of what's to come. While he hasn't told me anything directly Johnny did say he's always working on projects including testing some ideas to add savory items to the menu at Rakki (Update from Eater). But if we're lucky Rakki Cafe is just the beginning of Chef Lee's Chicago portfolio. He's a master of Hainan chicken among other things and given his pedigree and reputation out West he just might be one of the most important chefs to move to Chicago this past year.
The Rakki Royale at Rakki Cafe
1375 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
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