Stepping into the newly expanded restaurant and hotel role of Executive Chef, Joe Lambert has been at Nico Osteria with two-time, James Beard award-winning chef, Paul Kahan since the first year the restaurant opened in 2013. Lambert has worked his way up through the ranks of the kitchen taking on integral roles from line cook, to sous chef, to chef de cuisine as the restaurant was recognized with critical acclaim (named one of Bon Appetit’s 50 Best New Restaurants of 2014) throughout the years.
“Our goal at Nico has always been to present the freshest seafood and incredibly soulful dishes. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in the Gold Coast, we know that we’re leaving this kitchen in the best hands possible,” says Kahan. "I’ve watched Joe grow over the years from a confident line cook to an established and enthusiastic chef. Not only is he qualified and capable of continuing to provide the really beautiful housemade pastas and imaginative meals that the restaurant has become known for, he also has an exciting vision of where he’d like to take Nico on his own."
Expect to see food that continues to convey peak of season seafood and shellfish prevalent along the Italian coast, as well as rustic dishes from Lambert, such as King Crab Cioppino, a hearty fish stew comprised of nduja tomato brodo (broth), smoked shrimp, whitefish, clams, mussels and finished with a made-from-scratch saffron aioli. As we settle into colder months ahead, guests can look forward to warming up with hearty Italian fare like Lamb Tortelloni with roasted mushrooms, black currant, truffle crème fraiche, Pecorino Romano, and dill. Another specialty Lambert is bringing to the menu is a 28 day Dry Aged Ribeye, served alongside rich bone marrow, and finished with caper butter, grilled lemon and roasted garlic.
Expanding his reach to encompass multiple facets of the Thompson Chicago hotel, Lambert will lead the culinary programs for Nico Osteria and Salone Nico, as well as the hotel's banquet and catering offerings.
“Joe has been an integral part of the team for many years and we are looking forward to having him head our culinary operations,” says Onal Kucuk, General Manager of Thompson Chicago. “With Joe leading the charge of our dynamic food programs, we will continue to provide exceptional dining experiences for our regulars, as well as our guests at Thompson Chicago.”