If you haven’t experienced the joys of cuisine delivered by top chefs being given a chance to shine – and experiment using their highest skills, to the great enjoyment of guests – how about trying it this week? Wednesday, December 28 – Thursday, December 29 reserve your spot at Intro for a modern dim sum pop up. For two days only, three former Intro visiting chefs are taking the entrepreneurial skills that they learned at Intro to take over the restaurant with a menu inspired by their travels – in particular the nine Asian countries Chef Gillanders recently toured.
An a la carte menu and pre-fixe option are available will feature elevated dim sum, noodles and rice and family-style feasts. A limited number of reservations are available from 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. next Wednesday, December 28 and Thursday, December 29 for this special a la carte menu. To make a reservation or view the menu, visit www.introchicago.com or call the restaurant at 773.868.0002.
Eden Restaurant, 1748 W. Lake St., opens its doors tonight, bringing refined cooking, impeccable hospitality, and unwavering conviviality to the dining community. Principal Jodi Fyfe, Chef/Partner Devon Quinn, and Chef de Cuisine Miles Schaefer deliver stellar cuisine and a rustic ambiance.
The new 95-seat restaurant draws inspiration from Portugal, Spain, Lebanon, and more and offers a fresh, farm-forward menu that epitomizes clean cooking. A biologist by nature with a passion for hyper-local ingredients, Chef Quinn applies the bounty of his onsite 1800-square foot greenhouse throughout the menu, which means fresh flavors year-round. Think creative options like Umami Doughnuts, Roasted Baby Beets, Braised Duck Lasagna, and Portuguese Spiced Chicken.
Eden’s Pastry Chef Stefano Tulipano, General Manager and Sommelier Arif Rahman, and Mixologist Alex Rydzewski eachoffer distinctive drinks and desserts that work beautifully with Eden’s menu.
The restaurant is designed with careful craftsmanship using local resources and features rustic touches and authentic finishes. Original exposed brick speaks to the neighborhood’s industrial history, while graphic black and white tile highlight the exclusive chef’s counter and expansive bar. Eden is now open for dinner. Preview the menu here, and for reservations visit or call (312) 366-2294.
BELLY UP SMOKEHOUSE & SALOON, 1132 S Wabash. Veterans – active, former or retired military – get 20% off your bill for dine-in only (one per veteran/active military personnel, per order, per visit, per ID). A special all-American drink features a bottle of Budweiser and a shot of Jack Daniels for $8.
IVme WELLNESS + PERFORMANCE, 1347 N. Wells St., offers a 20% discount to all Veterans and active military personnel. One per veteran/active military personnel, per visit, per ID. Board certified physicians, Dr. Jack Dybis and Dr. Scott Yilk, and a team of fully accredited, licensed nurses and support staff, offer professional rehydration therapy for those with cold and flu, wellness and vitality, jet lag, hangover and more). Also B12 shots and oxygen therapy.
MAK: MODERN ASIAN KITCHEN, 1924 W. Division. Offers 50% off orders to active, former or retired Veterans for dine-in only (one per veteran/active military personnel, per order, per visit, per ID). Traditional Chinese cuisine with a healthy and modern twist – bowls, wraps, soups and more that use locally sourced ingredients and meats that are naturally raised, and hormone, steroid and antibiotic free.
Nando’s PERi-PERi, the South African-Portuguese restaurant known worldwide for its spicy flame-grilled chicken, hatches two new Chicagoland restaurants this month in Skokie and Oakbrook. Nando’s will pay it forward by donating 100 percent of sales each opening day to support student programs at Niles North High School and Hinsdale Central High School.
• SKOKIE: Nando’s ninth Chicago location will open on Sunday, November 13, in Westfield Old Orchard mall. Nando’s will donate opening-day sales to Niles North High School. The restaurant is located at 4999 Old Orchard Center, Skokie, IL. Phone: 847-972-6833
• OAKBROOK: Nando’s tenth Chicago location will open on Sunday, November 20, in Oakbrook Center. Nando’s will donate opening-day sales to Hinsdale Central High School. The restaurant is located at 523 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, IL. Phone: 630-230-4348
Opening-day sales in Skokie will be donated to the Niles North High School’s “Dance Marathon” charity organization, with proceeds earmarked for local families and students in need and for Hope Junior, an afterschool program that offers children and teens high-quality after-school program activities throughout Chicago. Opening-day sales in Oakbrook will be donated to the Hinsdale Central High School’s performing arts program, to help offset costs of five plays and musicals this school year.
Nando’s 11th Chicagoland location opens in mid-January 2017 in the Hyde Park neighborhood, at 1447 E. 53rd Street near the University of Chicago.
Go enjoy some Nando’s and painlessly and deliciously support your local school!
Buddy Guy’s Legends, 700 S. Wabash. Rockin’ good music and down home Southern-inspired dishes. Word is, Buddy himself sits in sometimes!
And we just heard about one in the ‘burbs that’s making food a priority, too: 210 Restaurant and Live Music Lounge, 210 Green Bay Road, Highwood, IL. Co-owner and Executive Chef Jeff Tomchek brings 30 years of experience in several countries honing his abilities to turn fresh, high quality, locally sourced produce and ingredients into menu items that span regional and global cuisines as well as barbecue and Southern-style dishes.
Appetizers include Hawaiian Tuna Poke with toasted Macadamia Nuts ($13); Roast Local Corn Mexican Street Food Style ($5/$8); Korean Chicken Wings ($12); and Tomato Bisque ($5/$8). Salads include Roast Beets with Bean Hummas, Arugula & Pine Nuts ($12); Frillman Farms Heirloom Tomato with Burrata & Basil ($11); and a Crispy Chicken Chopped Salad with Chipotle Ranch ($18).
Main dishes include Baby Back Ribs, Dry Rub & Pit Smoked (taste $8, half $16/full slab $24); Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich with Arugula & Remoulade ($13); Roast Scottish Salmon with corn mashed potatoes and Mexican Truffle Vinaigrette ($24); and Andouille Jambalaya with Louisiana Style BBQ Shrimp ($19).
This place even lets you get your vegetables in with original presentations like Roast Local Eggplant with Moroccan Spices ($9); Miso Glazed Acorn Squash ($8); Roast Cauliflower with Thai three flavor sauce ($8) and Bacon Braised Collard Greens ($8); and Not Yo Mamma’s Mac & Cheese ($8); and Local Bi Color Corn Sautéed with Peppers & Onions ($8). Seasonal offerings and daily specials are listed on the website.
If you live in the city and want to enjoy 210 Restaurant and Live Music Lounge, consider finding a nice hotel in the area so you can stay as long as you like and not have to worry about driving home. If you live nearby, get thee hence and try it soon.
Knife, 4343 N. Lincoln Ave., opened for business this week. Steak and seafood abound, and every creative item on the menu is presented with passion, precision and love in awarm and intimate atmosphere. Knife is brought to you by David and Paula Byers and Chef Tim Cottini, the team behind the popular Lincoln Square restaurant, Fork.
At first glance, the handsomely designed menu is understated and traditional-sounding, but the element of surprise will be ever-present in each dish. “We want to take the essence of a classic dish and re-create it in a unique way,” said Chef Cottini, who understands that, “We first eat with our eyes before we eat with our mouths. The visual impact of the food will be almost as important as the taste.” Throughout the menu, Chef Cottini maintains a high standard using locally sourced, quality seasonal ingredients, as he transforms the traditional into the unexpected.
Knife is modernizing the old-school steakhouse mentality and ambiance. It will raise expectations of what a steakhouse can be while paying homage to menu classics. Promoting culinary creativity and cultural fusion is what makes this restaurant truly American.
Menu Rundown The dinner menu is clearly organized into six sections: Appetizers, Chilled Plates, Salad & Soup, Entrées, Steaks and Sides. Appetizer choices include Fois Gras Terrine, seasonal jam, brioche, market greens and pickled vegetables ($19); Oxtail Doughnut Holes, aupoivre sauce ($10); Lobster Tail Tempura, arugula & ginger-orange sauce ($22); and Shrimp De Jonghe, puff pastry, garlic, fine herbs ($17).
Chilled Plates feature seafood, including Oysters on the Half Shell (market price); Ahi Tuna Tartare, avocado, fresno chili, endive ($14); and Shrimp Cocktail, horseradish & candied lemon ($16). The ala carte Bread Service offers two house-made choices: Parker House Rolls with whipped butter & sea salt ($6) or Focaccia with seasonal dipping sauce ($6).
Salad & Soup choices include the Heirloom Tomato & Burrata Salad, basil pesto, marinated red onions & basil ($16); Lobster Bisque, crème frâiche, tarragon ($11); Tableside Caesar, white anchovies, focaccia croutons, parmesan & pecorino ($19); the Market Salad, shaved market vegetables, Urban Till greens with sherry vinaigrette ($9); and the Grilled Wedge Salad, Urban Till baby iceberg, green goddess, lobster mitts, bacon, bleu cheese, tomato, scallions ($18). The Tableside Caesar can be prepared tableside for three or more persons.
The Entrées section of the menu includes the non-steak main courses, and there are seven from which to choose, providing plenty of variety for guests who prefer alternatives to steak. The Pork Chops are served with candied sweet potatoes and butter-bourbon gastrique ($27). Lamb Chops are accompanied by stuffed zucchini & hollandaise sauce ($27). The vegetarian Pasta entrée is built on a foundation of pappardelle, with market vegetables, basil pistou & parmesan ($18). Poultry lovers will enjoy the Green Circle Farm’s Chicken, a braised thigh with macaroni gratin, chicken jus ($24). Fish entrées include Wild Salmon, caramelized cauliflower, béarnaise ($27); Ahi Tuna, green beans amandine, smoked tomato butter ($28); and Halibut, pipperade, creamed kale, lobster demi ($30).
Knife’s Steaks section clearly emphasizes the restaurant’s keen philosophy: “Knife is proud to offer locally-sourced, house dry-aged beef. This premium product hails from local farms in Illinois and Iowa that uphold humane standards and practices as well as conservation.” There are five selections from which to choose and all steaks are served with house-made Journeyman steak sauce and choice of onion strings or hand-cut frites. Guests may order the Sirloin (10 oz, $27), Beef Tenderloin (6 oz, $33); Trio of Medallions with Bleu Cheese Crust (8 oz, $25), or the Boneless Ribeye (12 oz, $34). Knife’s signature steak is a 28-Day Dry-Aged Ribeye for Two, carved tableside and served with twice baked potatoes, green beans and au poivre ($89).
Embellishments to the steaks are plentiful. Guests can choose a Lobster Tail ($19), Shrimp ($4), Foie Gras ($9), Oscar Style ($14) or Bleu Cheese ($5). Several sauces are available as well: Béarnaise ($3), Barolo ($2), Hollandaise ($2), Butterbourbon ($2), Au Poivre ($3) and Smoked Tomato Butter ($2).
Rounding out the dinner menu are nine creative side accompaniments, including Smoked Frites, lemon aioli ($6); Onion Strings, roasted pepper aioli ($6); Macaroni Gratin, parmesan, Jarlsberg & lemon ($7); River Valley Ranch Mushroom en Pappiotte, portabella, cremini, shiitake, rosemary & roasted garlic ($9); Stuffed Zucchini, basil roasted peppers & parmesan ($7); Caramelized Cauliflower, sultanas, balsamic & capers ($8); Green Beans, almond tuile & butter ($8); Twice Baked Potato, bacon, fontina, scallions, crème frâiche ($8); and Whipped Potatoes, confit garlic with cream & butter ($7).
Dessert selections continue to showcase Chef Cottini’s modern interpretations of steakhouse classics. Choices include Flaming Gran Torino, bruléed spumoni, sponge cake with vanilla, pistachio & brandied black cherry ice creams ($13); Profiteroles-gluten free-with chocolate & Tahitian vanilla ice creams with house made fudge sauce ($9); Key Lime Version 3.14, raspberries, ginger graham crust, whipped cream ($11); Chocolate Layer Cake, chocolate mousse, fudge sauce, white chocolate ($12); Blossoming Apple Tart, Honeycrisp apples, almonds, cranberries, caramel, Saigon cinnamon ice cream ($13).
Sophisticated preparation and exciting presentation are the foundations of Chef Cottini’s food The menu descriptions purposefully understated on paper, belie the sophisticated preparation and exciting presentations that guests will experience, creating a memorable dining experience.
For example, the Grilled Wedge Salad starts with iceberg lettuce raised locally by Urban Till in Chicago specifically for Knife. The smaller lettuce heads enhance the natural flavor, and are grilled to add a charred smokiness. The traditional toppings, bacon, tomatoes, cucumbers, and blue cheese are scattered around the plate, but Chef Cottini has gone the extra mile, dehydrating the bacon for twelve hours to make it extra-crisp.
Other appetizers, such as the Heirloom Tomato & Burrata Salad, are re-invented at Knife as well. The tomato is peeled, hollowed, and filled with a locally produced Burrata, infused with local basil-pesto and roasted. The Oxtail Doughnut Holes are savory bites filled with classically braised oxtail and served with an au poivre sauce. Bread offerings are baked in-house with Parker House Rolls served fresh from the oven and an artisan, potato-based Focaccia provides a dairy-free option.
Steaks are served uncut. “We wouldn’t dare deprive our customers of the joy of cutting into an exceptional, tender steak with ease. It’s an experience unlike any other,” says Chef Cottini. The special 28-Day Dry-Aged Ribeye for Two is carved tableside – such a pleasure to watch the juices flow.
The Pork Chops have an intense marbling and flavor, served with a side of candied sweet potatoes seasoned with a spicy Saigon cinnamon, then topped with marshmallows and a butter bourbon gastrique. In a completely different category than any candied sweet potatoes many of our moms used to make.
Sourcing quality ingredients is a cornerstone of the Knife philosophy. The Wild Salmon is prepared with Skuna Bay Salmon, a top quality fish from a Vancouver Island, British Columbia vendor who exemplifies the sound ecological raising of farm-raised salmon. Sides are thoughtfully designed to enhance each flavor profile. The River Valley Ranch Mushroom en Pappiotte is a marinated portabella cap filled with shitake and cremini mushrooms, rosemary and roasted garlic. The Macaroni Gratin is jazzed up with a blend of cheddar and jarlsbergcheeses with lemon. The Stuffed Zucchini is sourced from local farmers, hollowed out and stuffed with a zucchini puree.
One example of Chef Cottini’s creativity is the Twice Baked Potato. This steakhouse standard side dish takes a contemporary turn as it stands up on its side, filled with an Italian fontina cheese, wrapped in bacon, and then roasted.
About Knife Knife, located at 4343 N. Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, is a new contemporary steakhouse from David and Paula Byers and Chef Tim Cottini, the team behind the popular Fork restaurant in Chicago’s Lincoln Square. Knife is inspired by traditional steakhouse food and beverages and gives them a modern interpretation, using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
According to Grubhub, the nation’s leading online meal delivery service, it’s time to order takeout/delivery food items that appear to be good luckfood for the Cubs as they begin the National League Championship Serieson Saturday. If the Cubs are to appear in the World Series for the first time since 1945 and ultimately clinch their first championship since 1908, you may want to order these foods on game day!
The following are the top 5 most ordered foods during game day wins in Chicago for the Cubs vs. game day losses.
In Chicago, hamachi kama was ordered 145% more when Cubs won than when they lost.
In Chicago, creamy mac and cheese was ordered 117% more when Cubs won than when they lost.
In Chicago, black bean taco was ordered 111% more when Cubs won than when they lost.
In Chicago, horiatiki salad was ordered 91% more when Cubs won than when they lost.
In Chicago, shepherd salad was ordered 88% more when Cubs won than when they lost.
It’s not delivery convenient, but it’s a chance to get out and exercise without killing your whole lunch hour or having to rush through a restaurant meal.
MealPal launched its subscription lunch service in Chicago today with more than 50 restaurants on board. Choose menu options from local restaurants for less than $6 per meal – and skip those annoying lines.
Chicago and DC are the latest cities to join the crowd. In New York, San Francisco, Boston and Miami, weekday lunch crowds have now ordered over 500,000 meals from more than 1,000 restaurants. MealPal has also recently introduced Pal, a smart bot that uses artificial intelligence to personalize your choices.
Preferences. Pal will ask you a series of questions to understand which ingredients you like and don’t like. That way you see meal options that fit your tastes.
Reminders and calendar integration. Pal will remind users to reserve lunch on any given day if you forget, and will add lunch reservations to your calendar.
Longer booking window. Previously, you couldn’t start ordering until 7pm the day before to select your lunch for the following day – but now you can check out the next day’s menu starting at 5pm.
The service is simple to use. Visit the website or mobile app to browse the daily menu, filtering meals by cuisine and portion size. Reserve your meal by 9:30am, choosing a time to pick up your lunch. When you pick up your food, skip the line and be in and out of the restaurant in less than 30 seconds.
Six bucks for lunch? Not bad. And you don’t have to sign up to use it everyday. As of right now, it’s only available in the Loop but they expect to add more ‘hoods soon.
Chicago Fire soccer stars will “take over” the grills at the new Nando’s in the South Loop on Saturday July 30, delivering succulent PERi-PERi chicken to hungry fans. Nando’s will pay it forward by donating 100 percent of sales to the Chicago Fire Foundation, which improves the lives of disadvantaged youth in and around Chicago.
Nando’s PERi-PERi, the South African-Portuguese restaurant known worldwide for its spicy flame-grilled chicken, has just hatched its seventh Chicago-area restaurant. The newest Nando’s is located at 1005 South Delano Court, in the Roosevelt Collection in the South Loop.
“Nando’s is thrilled to partner again with the Fire to warm up Chicago,” said Burton Heiss, CEO of Nando’s PERi-PERi USA. Since opening in Chicago in spring 2015, Nando’s has raised more than $100,000 for local non-profits.
“It’s wonderful to see a company like Nando’s invested in this city to join with the Chicago Fire Foundation to give back to the community,” added Chicago Fire Foundation Executive Director Jessica Yavitz.
Playing With Fire
Chicago Fire personalities scheduled to appear at Nando’s include general manager Nelson Rodriguez, midfielders Matt Polster, Michael Stephens, Joey Calistri, Drew Conner and Alex Morrell, defender Patrick Doody and goalkeepers Matt Lampson and Patrick McLain. They will turn up the heat at Nando’s in South Loop with player appearances from 1:30pm to 7:00pm CT on July 30. The restaurant is opened from 11am to 9pm that day, with all sales throughout the day going to the Chicago Fire Foundation.
Seven Chicago Restaurants…and Counting
Nando’s moved to Chicago in spring 2015 and has quickly opened five restaurants in the city, plus locations in Naperville and Oak Park. The newest Nando’s is located at Roosevelt Collection between W. Roosevelt Rd. and W. Harrison St. at 1005 S. Delano Ct.
Nando’s has built an intensely loyal following, from London to the Loop, by providing fresh food in a relaxed atmosphere with friendly service. Nando’s is known worldwide for its succulent PERi-PERi chicken, marinated for 24 hours, flame-grilled to perfection, and basted to the customer’s preferred flavor and spice.
Every Nando’s is painstakingly designed and completely unique, with earthy textures and bright colors that reflect its sunny African-Portuguese heritage. The new Nando’s in the Roosevelt Collection is no exception and features a panoramic view of the Loop skyline. With thousands of pieces of original works of art that are a constant reminder of where the restaurant came from, Nando’s has become the largest collector of South African contemporary art in the world. In the United States alone, there are more than 600 pieces of original African art in Nando’s restaurants.
Update: As of March 25, 2017, Osteria La Madia is closed. The owners are now focused on building their Firecakes brand.
Osteria La Madia, 59 Grand Ave., sits in the heart of the red-hot River North section of downtown Chicago – a great place for drinks and unique appetizers. Or try their handmade, wood-fire-grilled pizzas or a full meal from among entrees that include fresh seafood to short ribs and housemade pastas with a variety of proteins. Several salads on offer range from a selection of greens with unique dressings to a full-meal version of Ahi Tuna Nicoise.
The bar and a small seating area form a cozy spot at the front of the divided space. Then a line of booths leads down a short path to the main two-level, large, airy dining area set with varying size tables and comfortable chairs. And the wood-fire grills are centered at the back of the space; it’s cool to watch the pizzas being made behind the protective glass shield. The overall effect is of a room that’s spacious with cozy areas. The decor is unobtrusively simple yet modern with a truly comfortable ambiance.
Our server happily recommended favorites when we asked. She especially recommended the Spinach & Taleggio Fondue appetizer. Picturing something oozing with oily cheese, we hesitated but decided to trust her – she said it is the restaurant’s most popular appetizer. We were amazed when she brought out a platter with a huge slab of puffy, clearly-wood-fired, pita-type bread that dwarfed a small crock of beautifully smooth and creamy-looking green sauce drizzled with truffle oil. The proper approach, she explained, was to rip off a piece of the bread, place it on your individual plate and spoon some of the green stuff over top. Wow, it was really good. Would never believe it was spinach – rich with the velvety consistency of heavy cream without betraying the slightest hint of iron, as spinach can sometimes do, or greasiness, as melted cheeses often do. The truffle oil dribbled on top gave the fondue extra pizzaz. The Sardinian bread was made of the same dough they use for their pizzas, several of which we’d tried and enjoyed on an earlier visit. They offer a wide variety of unique pizza toppings and offer several of them at bargain prices during their bar-only happy hour (currently 4:30 to 6:30 M-F). Excellent way to slake your thirst and gratify your hunger after work.
Our other appetizer, the mussels in a tomato onion broth was simply scrumptious. The mussels perfectly cooked, the broth deeply flavored with stock and tomato and just a hint of spice. I couldn’t resist mixing some of the dark, rich, red broth with some of the spinach fondue. It turned out to be a fabulous flavor combination, although mixing the colors green and red results in a not-too-attractive shade of grayish brown. I didn’t care; it tasted SO good.
The heirloom tomato salad was in season and just delightful. The bright range cherry tomatoes were super sweet and tasty. And the thick slice from a giant red tomato reminded us both of the tomatoes our fathers used to grow. Hard to get much better than that. The burrata was gooey and creamy and good.
Our entrees: scallops were nicely seared without being overdone, while the side dish of farro was a bit salty; the housemade ricotta-stuffed pasta and vegetables were all good individually without feeling quite melded in the overall dish. In any case we enjoyed both dishes, and they went perfectly with the fine, light red wine our server recommended from among the nicely rounded list of wines by the bottle and by the glass (priced as 4oz, 7oz and full bottle portions). A shared dish of strawberry gelato along with an after-dinner liqueur put a mellow ending on a nice evening. We’d gotten there early and by the time we finished, the place was hopping with diners, including several large families sharing a meal together.
The whole experience was lovely, with wonderful service in comfortable surroundings. We’d recommend visiting Osteria La Madia any time; check their hours of operation here. In case you don’t want to fight traffic or pay through the nose for parking, get to La Madia in a snap via the 156, 36 or 22 buses or the Red Line (Grand/State station). It’s a short walk from any of those lines. You’ll feel welcome while you’re there and leave feeling glad you came.
And by the way, the same folks who operate La Madia also operate the top-rated Firecakes bakeries. If you like donuts, do not fail to visit one of their locations. Hint: We highly recommend the coconut cream-topped cake donut. And La Madia recently started offering brunch on Saturdays and Sundays (10 – 3pm) and guess what? You can feast on Firecakes donuts there in addition to either their prix fixe brunch or lots of variety priced a la carte.
The restaurant provided a meal to facilitate this review. All opinions are strictly those of the writer.