Time to make reservations, if you haven’t already
Click here for our choices for Chicago Restaurant Week 2019
Chicago Restaurant Week-actually two weeks–starts tomorrow (January 26) and runs through February 8, 2018.You can go for lunch, brunch and dinner depending upon the restaurant you choose.
With more than 370 restaurants on this years roster, it’s hard to know where to start. On the Chicago Restaurant Week website you can search by cuisine, location and name.
Beyond that you are on your own. Although we haven’t tried all the restaurants, we have sampled quite a few to come up with this list of our favorites. We have tried to add a mix of longtime Chicago favorites along with new and trending spots.
Lawry’s The Prime Rib
Speaking of longtime Chicago favorites, I can’t remember a time when Lawry’s The Prime Rib (100 E. Ontario St.) hasn’t been part of the city’s dining scene. This classic Chicago restaurant in the Historic McCormick Mansion sticks to what they do best. And what could be better on a cold Chicago evening than their traditional steakhouse prix fixe dinner ($44). Dinner starts with Lawry’s Famous Original Spinning Bowl Salad. Entrée options include a 6 oz. California Cut Prime Rib with Mashed Potatoes, Yorkshire Pudding, and choice of Creamed Corn or Creamed Spinach. A vegetarian option is also available. For desert choose between the Sticky Toffee Pudding or CC Brown’s Sundae.
LH Rooftop at LondonHouse
After a 3-year restoration, Chicago’s 90-year old historic London Guarantee Building was transformed into a state-of-the-art 452-room luxury hotel named the LondonHouse, after the popular restaurant and jazz club that was on the first floor of the building in the 1950’s and ’60’s.
The new LondonHouse is home to some very good restaurants including the LH Rooftop at LondonHouse Chicago (85 E. Upper Wacker Dr.) that is participating in this year’s restaurant week. Under the watch of Executive Chef Jacob Verstegen, the LH Rooftop is committed to re-imagined American cuisine bringing it to the next level by focusing on produce and animals native to the Midwest. The dishes on the tri-level rooftop restaurant’s menu pay homage to the diets, cooking techniques, and preservation methods of the indigenous tribes who lived in and around Chicago – a fitting theme, as LondonHouse Chicago is located at the site of Fort Dearborn, the birthplace of Chicago.
The three dinner courses on the menu star native Midwestern ingredients and the culinary techniques used to craft the dishes mirror those that were essential to life during the winter months hundreds of years ago. For example, the Butter Nut Squash first course option is baked in clay and served with cured venison and maple consommé. Other indigenous-inspired plates include Sunflower Butter, Smoked Kenearly Beans with kabocha, sprouts, and kenearly tea, and Pheasant with tobacco sauce, marinated cranberry, and ash-roasted sweet potato. For dessert, Executive Pastry Chef Claire Crenshaw crafts Local Honey with broiled grapefruit, honey mousseline, and lavender shortbread as one of the sweet options. The three-course Restaurant Week menu at LH Rooftop may be purchased for $44 per person.
The Signature Room
If you haven’t been, you probably ought to go to The Signature Room (875 N. Michigan Ave.) perched atop the iconic John Hancock Center–especially if the skies are clear. The Signature Room is featuring a three-course dinner menu. The first course includes Lobster Bisque or Roasted Beet Salad; second course choices include Roasted Scottish Salmon, Half Roasted Chicken, Seared Lamb Chops, or Fusilli Pasta; and White & Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake or Caramelized Apple Tart for dessert. Pricing for the three-course dinner menu is $44 per person.
On the border between Ukrainian Village and Humboldt Park Split-Rail (2500 W. Chicago Ave.) has been getting a lot of buzz. For this year’s Restaurant Week, Split-Rail gets creative with menus inspired by two beloved shows: Friends and Seinfeld. Each dish on the two five-course menus draws from favorite food episodes, so guests can taste a riff on Rachel’s Trifle from Friends or “The Soup Nazi” Soup from Seinfeld. The restaurant will also feature décor reminiscent of both shows, harkening back to the good old 90’s. Guests can choose from the five-course Friends or Seinfeld dinner menu for $44.
Tanta (118 W. Grand Ave.) offers a taste of Peru in Chicago. Executive Chef Jesus Delgado has created a two-course lunch menu ($22) and a three-course dinner menu ($44). A sample of the lunch options include Aeropuerto composed of Chinese BBQ pork fried rice, wild mushrooms and shrimp egg tortilla; Pollo a la Brasa, Peruvian-style roasted chicken, rustic potatoes and a house salad; and Quinoa Caprese (v) with organic quinoa mix, heirloom tomatoes, straccitella and aji amarillo dressing. For dinner, menu highlights include Cebiche Carretilla featuring a seafood mix, rocoto leche de tigre, choclo and cancha; Lomo Saltado, the traditional beef stir-fry with red onions, tomato, cilantro, garlic-soy sauce, rustic potatoes and rice; and Chihoakay Marino featuring shrimp crusted fish, white fried rice, soy & sesame sauce. Included in both lunch and dinner, guests can choose between the Alfajor (shortbread cookie) with dulce de leche, and lucuma ice cream or Mousse featuring Peruvian chocolate, crispy quinoa and cacao merengues to end their Peruvian feast.
Chicago Restaurant Week is a good time to experience the tastes of Travelle Kitchen + Bar (330 N. Wabash Ave.) at The Langham. The pricey upscale restaurant is offering specials for lunch ($22) and dinner ($44) with choice of appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Chef de Cuisine Ricardo Jarquin’s menu selections include: Roasted Squash Soup, Crispy Octopus & Pork Belly, Carbonara Risotto, Seared Branzino, and Grilled Rohan Duck Breast. Executive Pastry Chef Scott Green features favorites including Lemon Pavlova and Grandma’s Chocolate Cake.
Another restaurant that’s been getting a lot of buzz that I have been wanting to try but haven’t yet is City Mouse inside the Ace Hotel at 311 N. Morgan St. in the West Loop. The restaurant, from the team behind the critically acclaimed Logan Square restaurant Giant, is featuring a seasonal menu inspired by the traditions and evolutions of the Midwest. For restaurant week they are offering a three-course ($44) dinner menu with four choices per course and five entree options.
Upstairs at The Gwen
The trendy Rush Street Hotel, The Gwen (521 N. Rush St.) named after Chicago-born sculptress Gwen Lux–who designed the Art Deco McGraw-Hill building’s facade and architectural sculpture back in 1927–is offering what looks like a bargain for Chicago Restaurant Week at their Upstairs at The Gwen restaurant. Executive Chef Matt Jergens has put together a three-course prix fixe dinner menu for only $33. The dinner includes new American fare like the Grilled Octopus with confit potato, chorizo vinaigrette, and charred citrus as well as the American Wagyu Bavette with fried plantain, provoleta, and chimichurri. Upstairs at The Gwen is also offering a three-course prix fixe lunch menu ($22) with selections such as the Pork Belly Croquettes with togarashi aioli and chorizo vinaigrette and a Prime Rib Sandwich with brie, pickled onions, and wasabi aioli.
Cindy’s (12 S. Michigan Ave.) on the rooftop of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel offers one of the best views in Chicago with unobstructed panoramic views of Millennium Park, The Art Institute, Lake Michigan, and beyond. The lunchtime pre-fix menu ($22 for 3 courses) includes Falafel with harissa and roasted cauliflower, Gnocchi Parisienne with squash and honey ricotta, and Chocolate Quesillo topped with a maple pecan ice cream for dessert.
Marisol (205 E. Pearson St.), the ground-floor destination restaurant headed by Jason Hammel (the chef behind Lula Cafe in Logan Square) inside Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art has a lunch menu ($22) with choices that include their signature Marisol salad, porchetta sandwich, seafood bisque and a veggie cheeseburger.
It’s hard to believe that there’s a better cheeseburger than Au Cheval but according to Bon Appetit magazine, the The Loyalist (177 N. Ada St.) has one of the three best burgers in the nation. You can judge for yourself along with the tempura-fried chicken sandwich and more with the restaurant’s three-course ($33) dinner menu.
Leña Brava (900 W. Randolph St.), part of Chef Rick Bayless’ stable of Chicago’s hotspots, features a 75-seat restaurant, a raw bar, Mexican wine, open-fire cooking and the largest mezcal selection in the city! The four-course ($44) dinner menu offers a variety of creative choices including vegetarian options.
Just added: Catch 35
Chicago Restaurant Week
More than 370 restaurants (115 new restaurants) will be offering brunch and lunch menus for $22 and dinner for $33 and/or $44, excluding beverage, tax and gratuity at this year’s Chicago Restaurant Week. Click here for reservations.
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