Faux Schwa

Can't score a reservation at Schwa? We'll help you bring the restaurant home.

With loud music, frenetic chef-servers and fine-dining-worthy food, Schwa ranks among the country's most exciting restaurants. Now, if only you could get a table.

The restaurant's first hurdle is its size (26 seats); the next is the rarely answered phone. And then there's chef Michael Carlson's penchant for closing without warning–as happened on a recent Saturday, to many hopeful diners' dismay.

But Schwa is stellar right now, so don't give up on going. In the meantime, here's how to throw your own Schwa-inspired dinner at home, including one of Carlson's best recipes.

Wine

You'll want bubbles to start, and a white and a red to get you through the meal. Do like Schwa, and ask guests to bring their own.

Music

Most of the music played (loudly) at Schwa comes from artists on two labels–Rhymesayers (Atmosphere, P.O.S.) and Definitive Jux (Aesop Rock)–with bands One Day as a Lion and Rage Against the Machine in rotation, too.

Food

We can't stop thinking about Schwa's silky beer-cheese soup, made from Chimay Red beer and Chimay With Beer cheese, topped with frothy beer foam and served with a warm pretzel roll, dill puree and dehydrated French's mustard on the side.

At Schwa, the beer foam is stabilized with soy lethicin and the mustard dried with Ultratex 3; our version of the recipe (click here to download) keeps it simple. It's easily replicated at home, and one you'll want to add to your standard repertoire.

Schwa, 1466 N. Ashland Ave.; 773-252-1466 or schwarestaurant.com