There’s enough musical kitchens going on in a post that came over the weekend from Dish that if you ask us, they buried the real lede. Bradford Phillips, a Blackbird and Tru vet, left well-liked Lincoln Square bistro LM Restaurant last July to be the chef at The Pump Room. Now Phillips is teaming up with LM owners Stephan and Nicole Outrequin Quaisser to open two new spots. The first is in the ill-fated (but very sharp-looking) Tribute space in the Essex Inn on south Michigan Avenue. The Outrequin Quaissers came from The Drake Hotel and seem to think they can make Brasserie by LM work in that space in a way Tribute could not. Perhaps the success of Acadia a mile away in the South Loop also helped them think the neighborhood was ripe for another option (which, being in a hotel, will also serve breakfast). They plan to open Brasserie by LM on March 28.
The Outrequin Quaissers are also teaming up with Phillips to oversee Troquet, which is a new name and look for Wolcott’s, a tavern at 1834 W. Montrose which will have a Francophile feel to beer and bistro food such as a croque-monsieur and veal breast with frites. It will relaunch on Thursday.
But wait, wasn’t there another restaurant mentioned in here somewhere… oh yes, The Pump Room. So all this means that Phillips is leaving The Pump Room, too. The item is quite discreet on who precipitated that, but The Pump Room got inconsistent reviews for its faithful copying of the menu from Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s ABC Kitchen in New York, and we can imagine that was less than wholly satisfying for either the restaurant or the chef. If Phillips is coming home to where he made his name and won neighborhood fans, that’s probably good news for everybody, and the other part of the news— what will happen to The Pump Room— will wait for further developments.