For those that follow the dining scene in Chicago, May is a hotly anticipated month. This is the time when Chicago magazine, one of the most respected publications in the city, announces their list of Best New Restaurants for the year. The trusted dining team eats at every “remotely promising contender” that opened in Chicago since last April.

Fine dining greats such as Chef Grant Achatz’s Next and Chef Art Smith’s Table Fifty Two have been a part of the esteemed list in years past. But, as the idea of what makes a restaurant one of the best evolves from white tablecloth to community table and classic to playful, so does the list itself. Out of the 73 restaurants in the running, 18 made their way on the 2013 list. One of the restaurants is in Mt. Prospect.

Chef Rodelio Aglibot’s earth + ocean Food and Drink opened in the Chicago suburb in March of 2013. It didn’t take long before city-dwellers who typically swear off the suburbs made their way in to try the eclectic menu. The buzz has been building ever since, culminating in the Chicago magazine honor. Here’s what the critics had to say:

Food writers salivate when they hear precious restaurant names like Earth + Ocean, especially if the place has a well-known chef behind it, such as one like Rodelio Aglibot (Koi in Los Angeles, BLT in Manhattan, Sunda in Chicago). A cuisine called New American that covers the whole planet? It’s an easy target. Turns out that Aglibot’s sleek urbanesque restaurant in Mount Prospect deserves the audacious moniker. The Hawaii native skims over his homeland for melted Maui onions, touches down in Argentina for a tender gaucho rib eye, and swims upstream for superfresh Skuna Bay salmon. It’s hard to figure where he came up with his sweet-and-spicy lollipop-style chicken wings sprinkled with Buddha dust, but then again, Aglibot calls himself the Food Buddha. Bull’s-eye.

Earth + Ocean 125 Randhurst Village Dr., Mount Prospect 847-398-3636 New American $$ Chef: Rodelio Aglibot

Perfect for: The group that can't decide between pizza, sushi, and pork belly Now that Chef Rodelio has conquered Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, stay tuned to see what’s next!

Mary Doyle