Aba Aba is a lively homage to all flavors Middle Eastern; in a sense, it’s a sequel effort to chef C.J. Jacobson’s Ema restaurant in River North. But Aba shows its independence with its emphasis on proteins. Spreads are a must, if only to get one’s hands on the warm, puffy house bread, brushed with butter and dusted with za’atar. You’ll find a variety of meats in “humble” and “prime” cuts. The former includes eggplant-wrapped braised lamb and beef short rib. Prime cuts are legit steaks and chops, served in petite portions. Ryan Arnold’s wine list is a treat, keeping the less adventurous bases covered while offering a trove of bottles from such places as Lebanon and Israel. Liz Pearce’s cocktails incorporate ingredients found on the menu (turmeric, honey, mango) into nifty takes on daiquiris and margaritas.
Open: Dinner daily. Prices: Main courses $13.95$27.95. 302 N. Green St., 773-645-1400. — P.V.
Arami The reverence with which sushi chefs handle rice here is reason enough to visit, but this is one of the rare Japanese restaurants in which the hot dishes are even better than the sushi. Pay