Awarded 3 stars from Chicago Tribune Phil Vettel, and an Open Table 2013 Diners Choice award winner of ‘Top 100 Fit for Foodies in the US’, Kabocha is a unique blending of modern American, Japanese influence and classic French technique.
Cooking with the seasons, our menu has a traditional design with contemporary presentations, and was created in collaboration with Chef Thompson and Chef de Cuisine Jonathan Keeley. Kabocha, a word that means many things, is a name inspired by a favorite squash prepared for Chef Thompson by his mother as a young boy.
In addition to our dinner menu, we also feature a nightly 6-course Chef Tasting menu, highlighting dishes utilizing local producers as well as ingredients sourced from around the globe. Kabocha is also vegetarian friendly and additionally offers a gluten-free menu for our guests with special dietary needs.
Kabocha provides a modern, yet elegant backdrop with a 100-seat dining room featuring an open kitchen, exposed brick, and a 20-seat marble-topped bar. Additionally, our 10-seat raw bar features an ever-changing array of fresh oysters, expertly-sliced sashimi and crudo dishes.
Our beverage program, spearheaded by Bar Manager Ryan Prevost, is comprised of Japanese inspired cocktails, Midwestern craft beers, an extensive sake selection, and a global and affordable wine list.
shin thompson | executive chef and partner
Shin Thompson was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, spent most of his childhood in Japan, and was inculcated with a love for street food early on, both from these dual island cultures and the internationalism of his father’s career with United Airlines. Thompson graduated with a culinary arts degree from Kendall College in 2001 and earned a second degree in Hospitality Management from Chicago’s Roosevelt University. In the years that followed, Thompson culled together a résumé full of fine-dining kitchens and hotels across the United States.
Thompson returned to Chicago and began hosting a series of underground dining parties in 2005, which led to the opening of Bonsoirée in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. Thompson’s interpretation of French and Japanese fare in degustation format quickly garnered attention, and in 2008, Food & Wine included the restaurant in its “Go List” of “Best Local Dining Destinations in the World” and in 2011—and again in 2012—Thompson received a coveted Michelin star.
ryan o’donnell | owner
Ryan O’Donnell, a graduate of the culinary program at Kendall College in Chicago, spent ten years in the kitchen before shifting his focus to the dining room. After graduating from Kendall, O’Donnell worked as Chef de Cuisine at Miraval, a 5-star resort and spa located near Tucson, AZ. Later, he returned to Chicago where he took a position under John Hogan at Keefer’s Steakhouse before owner Glenn Keefer took notice and brought him to the front of the house where he learned the ropes of restaurant operations.
When he opened his first restaurant in 2009 with Chef Jason Paskewitz, O’Donnell saw his culinary school business plan titled “Gemini Bistro” become a reality. Later, he expanded his vision by opening Rustic House with Chef Paskewitz in 2011, bringing upscale American comfort food to Halsted Street in Lincoln Park.