Bar Noroeste opened in February 2016 amongst a flurry of other Huxley Wallace Collective/Josh Henderson restaurant debuts throughout the city. But this one, which landed on Westlake Avenue next to one of Henderson's first Great State Burger locations, was an ambitious take on a taco bar. Perhaps too ambitious? A year later, it pivoted into its current and more comforting form: Kiki Ramen.
In its original iteration, however, Shannon Martincic captained the kitchen, deftly fermenting, grinding, and otherwise coaxing grown-up taco flavors out of in-season Northwest ingredients—hardly any citrus, no avocados. Those skills landed her a spot on Seattle Met's Next Hot Chefs of 2016.
After Bar Noroeste's untimely closure, Martincic assumed a culinary curator role within Henderson's Huxley Wallave Collective. Now, the talented chef has decamped to Chicago.
Martincic is the chef de cuisine at the Michelin-starred Elizabeth Restaurant in Chicago, Iliana Regan's self-described home of "new gatherer's cuisine," or earthy ingredients met with a modernist's touch. Martincic is no stranger to such elevated or coursed constructions of food, nor is she a stranger to Chicago; she interned at Grant Achatz's Alinea once upon a time.
Regards to chef Martincic—we still talk about your delightfully controversial guacamole made with eggplant rather than avocado.