Bellemore: my go-to spot for lunch in the West Loop

Bellemore: my go-to spot for lunch in the West Loop
Bellemore. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

I love to go out for lunch, It's quicker, less hassle and less expensive than dinner. I also like dining in the West Loop.

Therein lies the rub.

Although you can find lunch spots in the West Loop and the Fulton Market District, many of the popular, buzz-worthy, trendy places like Monteverde, Girl & the Goat, Aba, Proxi, Yūgen and a host of others are only open for dinner.

Bellemore is open for lunch and dinner.

Plus it's in a convenient location--just a short walk from the Ogilvie Transportation Center and the growing number of offices sprouting up in the are--not to mention those heading to the Lyric Opera Center.

The restaurant, that opened last December, in the former Embeya location at 564 W. Randolph, helmed by Chef/Partner Jimmy Papadopoulos, has been transformed into a soaring light-filled, open space that offers the perfect mix of contemporary and classic.

Birds are part of the eclectic decor at Bellemore. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Birds are part of the eclectic decor at Bellemore. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

The avian-inspired art consists of a bird mural, a bird painting and suspended birdcages complete with stuffed peacocks that, for a moment, transport you to the African rain forests--or at least, Lincoln Park Zoo.

The space also encompasses a large open kitchen.

Bellemore kitchen. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Bellemore kitchen. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

The seasonal creative lunch menu is divided into three easy to navigate sections: Starters, four choices ($7-$14); Main, six choices includes burgers, cod, short ribs, salad ($13-$27) and Sweets, two choices ($6 and $8). All three parts of the menu offer an innovative mix of choices.

This time around, my friend and I ordered light from the "Main" section of the menu. Although I really wanted to order the Kona Kampachi Tartare starter with shoestring potatoes, citrus ponzu & basil for $14, I finally acquiesced to my friend who only wanted the Steak & Avocado Salad. The salad was filled with tender pieces of steak, bite-sized chunks of roasted butternut squash, toasted sesame, buttered cashew and cubanelle pepper dressing & basil at $18.

We split the salad, coming to a grand total of $9 each.

The salad came lightly dressed, the way I like it. My friend requested more dressing for her portion which was delivered immediately.

The steak and avocado salad. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer.

The steak and avocado salad. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

The dish was beautifully presented and delicious. For beverages we each ordered an Allagash White, a Belgian-style wheat beer, for $8 followed by a Chai Latte. for her and coffee, no cream, for me.

Perfect.

Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer.

Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer.

Typically, I order more and spend more but for this visit it fit the bill (pun intended).

Even though we ordered light and stayed longish, our server couldn't have been nicer. We were never rushed and treated with upmost respect.

That says it all.

Chicago Restaurant Week

If you are reading "A Bite of Chicago," you probably like to eat out. You may even be a foodie--so you probably know all about Chicago Restaurant Week.  But just in case you don't remember all the details, here they are:

Chicago Restaurant Week features a prix fixe menu starting at $24 for brunch and lunch, and $36 and/or $48 for dinner (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity). 

This year's 12th annual Chicago Restaurant Week takes place from January 25 through February 7, 2019. It features a record number of 395 restaurants participating. Reservations are now open at eatitupchicago.com, 

New restaurants for 2019 include HotChocolate Chicago, About Last Knife, Raisu Japanese Fine Dining, ERIS Brewery and Cider House, Mezcalina Restaurant, Bar Roma, Di Pescara, Monnie Burke's, Le Sud and Aba. 

Chicago Restaurant Week kicks off with First Bites Bash on January 24 at the Field Museum. To purchase tickets to First Bites Bash, visit firstbitesbash.com.

Specials Around Town

Christmas 

Christmas Eve (5pm-8pm) at III Forks will include starters such as crab cake, lamb meatballs, and ahi tuna followed by entrees like filet mignon, Chilean sea bass, and cold water lobster tails.

III Forks, 180 N. Field Blvd, 312.938.4303

At Cantina Laredo, the restaurant is celebrating Christmas Eve (11:30 am-6 pm) with a menu that includes ceviche, tamales, carne aside, chicken fajitas, ahi tuna tacos, and avocado enchiladas.

Cantina Laredo, 508 N. State St. 312.955.0014

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (both 5pm-10pm), the Lockwood Restaurant in the Palmer House Hilton is featuring Prime Rib with Yorkshire pudding ($45 per person) in addition to the restaurant's current  dinner menu. Champagne flights ($16) will be available on Christmas Eve, while the Christmas Day menu will include dry cranberry mimosas and champagne cocktails.

Lockwood Restaurant in the Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel, 17 E. Monroe St., 312.726.7500.

The Christmas Day dinner at Grassroots Grill ($42 adults, $15 children) kicks off with a choice of arugula salad or butternut squash soup, followed by organic/ free range turkey, walleye with eggplant caponata, leg of lamb, or seasonal vegetable risotto. For dessert, there's a choice of chocolate bomb, tres leches cake, or eggnog cheese. Guests can either dine-in or carry-out.

Grassroots Neighborhood Grill, 3747 N. Southport Av. 773.325.1710.

New Year's Eve

Celebrate 2019 at Found Kitchen in Evanston, where the mood and menu will take you back to Havana in its heyday. Between 5pm and 6pm, Found is serving a 3-course menu for $50. After 6pm, the restaurant is featuring a special 5-course, shared plate menu for $75 per person. Found's regular menu is not available on New Year's Eve.

On NYE, expect dishes like shrimp and salmon ceviche,  empanadas Cubana style, jicama salad with winter citrus and avocado, grilled red snapper, ropa viejo, pork roast asada with twice-fried plantains, and flan with creme caramel with caramel sauce.

Found Kitchen and Social House, 1631 Chicago Ave. 847.868.8945.

Filed under: Chicago restaurants

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