WEST TOWN — A restaurant that aims to recreate the atmosphere and cuisine of night markets around Asia is opening this month in West Town.
Jook Sing, 1329 W. Chicago Ave., is slated to open Oct. 31 across from Eckhart Park in a space that was previously home to Nepalese-Indian restaurant Vajra and before that, West Town Tavern.
Its backers include several partners in the West Loop wine bar Press Room, 1134 W. Washington Blvd., including chef Christian Sia, who has crafted menu items for Jook Sing inspired by his Singaporean upbringing and travels around Asia.
Dishes include Sia’s take on a Malaysian fried rice dish, an Indonesian vegetable dish called pecel, and egg rolls, plus the “Jook Sing Internet” — noodles topped with corned beef, a fried egg and an array of vegetables.
The extensive beverage list will feature lighter “tropical” drinks, sake and beer, as well as classic cocktails like an Old Fashioned.
Partner Paul Mena said Jook Sing will offer fast service in a casual and energetic environment much like what you’d find in night markets common across Asia, especially Southeast Asia. To help create that feeling, appetizers and larger plates will be served in takeout containers, he said.
“When we picture a night market, in this concept we want you to picture Taiwan, we want you to picture Thailand, we want you to picture Vietnam,” Mena said. “We want you to picture ‘No Reservations’ by Anthony Bourdain, when he’s going down the streets of these markets and trying this amazing food, really connecting with the people. Noisy, energetic, loud.”
The restaurant will not take reservations, but Mena said Jook Sing’s two- and four-tops can easily be pushed together to accommodate larger parties.
“We want fast service, where you come to the table and get a drink and food really, really quick,” Mena said.
Jook Sing also aims to cater to the late-night crowd in West Town and Noble Square, with DJs performing on Friday and Saturday nights. Takeout service will be up and running a week or two after the restaurant opens, Mena said.
“We’re just trying to give the neighborhood a little different concept,” he said. “We give you warm hospitality, a really, really great product and a really beautiful, really fun environment.”
Jook Sing will be open 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 5-midnight Fridays and Saturdays. Patio service will be available in the warmer months, Mena said.
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