By appearances, most new-restaurant openings in or near downtown Chicago in the past year have been quieter than usual, with the bulk of the newcomers aimed at satisfying local patrons who don’t care if the chef appears on television or graces the cover of Gourmet magazine. However, Chicago’s highly publicized leaders in the worldwide molecular gastronomy movement, Alinea and Moto, continue to book seats months in advance, and more tried-and-true upscale steakhouses and other ...

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