“molecular gastronomy style of cooking”
Schwa is an acclaimed, upscale restaurant run by chef-owner Michael Carlson in Chicago, USA. It is located in the West Town community area and is considered a leader in the emerging molecular gastronomy style of cooking. Schwa is known for its unconventional approach to business. Simple table settings match the building's drab exterior and its tiny 26-seat interior. The restaurant employs no support staff of any kind. Chefs interact directly with customers and are encouraged to act as silly as they wish, as long as they produce top quality food.Opening in 2005, Schwa quickly drew local and national attention resulting in a large backlog of reservations. In 2007, Schwa was chosen to host the opening night of Charlie Trotter's 20th anniversary celebration. The evening was considered a success, but placed a great deal of stress on Carlson, causing him to close Schwa the following day. After a four-month hiatus Schwa returned, much to the delight of local culinary enthusiasts, or "foodies".Schwa's food is difficult to classify, or as one critic put it: the food is "one of a kind... earnest, innocent, irresistible, and imaginative". Schwa's menu is famous for shocking ingredients and innovative food combinations, such as Carlson's version of pad Thai made with jellyfish tentacles instead of noodles. The quail egg ravioli is considered the restaurant's signature dish.Schwa has received positive reviews from both local and national critics. It has received three star to three-and-a-half star ratings from the Chicago Tribune, Chicago magazine, and the Mobil Travel Guide. BlackBook Magazine says Schwa features "some of the best food you will ever consume", while famed chef Grant Achatz lists it among his personal favorite places to eat. Several critics have stated that below-average service prevents the restaurant from getting a higher rating. Schwa made Citysearch's Top 10 New Restaurants of 2006 and New York magazine's Grub Street blog ranked it among the five hardest reservations to score in the country. In 2009, Schwa made Frommer's international list of 500 exceptional restaurants.
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