Macy’s, 111 n. State St., is hosting an interactive cocktail making and bar cart styling event with Lifestyle Blogger Helen Berkun and James Beard Award-winning craft cocktail bar, The Violet Hour, on Thursday, June 28 at 6pm. Your $25 ticket gets you in to see Helen share some of her favorite tips and tricks for entertaining. Then enjoy a Violet Hour mixologist teaching you how to prepare both a classic Old Fashioned and the perfect summer punch in this hands-on cocktail-making experience inside one of Chicago’s finest retail stores.
Maillard Tavern, 494 N. Milwaukee in River West, celebrates National Fry Day on Friday, July 13. Nothing completes a burger like a side of duck fat Norwis potato fries that Eater Chicago calls truly out of this world. And on National Fry Day celebrate with shaved black truffle fries for $5. Chef Tony Priolo serves up American comfort food classics like custom griddled double patty hamburgers with those great fries, specialty sandwiches, soups, ice cream-centric desserts and a full service bar. Open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and late night snacking. First come, first serve. Follow Maillard Tavern on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Moody Tongue Brewing Company, 2136 S. Peoria St., announces its newest beer: Frozen Banana Hefeweizen, a medium-body, German-style wheat beer that showcases the flavors of a frozen banana with aromatics of both bubblegum and banana. The light honey-colored beer pairs well with grilled sausages, beer-battered fish and other summertime fare. Frozen Banana Hefeweizen will be on draft in the Tasting Room beginning Wednesday, June 27, and at Chicago-area restaurants and bars the first week in July. The Hefeweizen, part of the Seasonal Series, celebrates the arrival of summer; the Brûléed Banana Dunkelweizen, the first release in this series, was a dark German wheat beer meant to complement cold-weather dishes. Keep your ears tuned to this Pilsen brewery for continuing innovations in brewing.
The Optima, 1252 N. Wells, opened in April and is now offering brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 10am – 3pm. Check out such elevated classics as Chicken and Waffles Benedict (spicy Hollandaise sauce on sourdough, Parmesan-herb French Toast, prosciutto jam, caramelized onions and a sunny side up egg). Americana Breakfast features scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and toast. How about Avocado Toast on garlic toasted ciabatta, or Funnel Cake with fudge and seasonal jam, or in-house-made Cinnamon Rolls with orange cream cheese frosting? Num! High-energy atmosphere and lively live music weekends and sometimes more. All brunch dishes are listed at the bottom of the full menu here.
Love to learn about the specials some of our Chicago restaurants put together for the holidays. Fun. Festive. Food and drink to celebrate with. Check out these news bytes about 6 of them. And Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, etc. etc.
Naoki Fried Chicken – December 22nd & 23rd only. Naoki’s savory Japanese-style fried chicken, prepared by half or whole bird and served with Yuzo coleslaw, Roasted sweet potatoes and Teriyaki & Toban Jan dipping sauces. Available dine in or carry-out. To place an order or make a reservation, call 773-868-0002.
Texas de Brazil, 210 E. Illinois, will open early on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve (11am to 9pm) with their full rodizio-style menu available all day, as well as Horseradish Crusted Ribeye (a special holiday item). Pricing for Chicago here and Schaumburg here. Closed on Christmas Day, but open regular hours with the regular menu on New Year’s Day.
The Shelby, 2759 W. Augusta Blvd. (their website isn’t up yet but Google has reviews) opened December 19. Open 5pm weeknights, and 11am Saturday and Sunday. Casual restaurant/bar with a hearty beer program, a full bar, and Chef (formerly with Haywood Tavern, Bite Cafe, Longman & Eagle, and Spiaggia) Rodney Staton-created snacks, salads, and a load-your-own burger and baked potato program. Enjoy their no-bull approach to food, drink, socializing, and service in soulful, well-worn surroundings (denim upholstery, dark wood carpentry, whitewashed brick walls, and canary yellow stools), and with a soundtrack influenced by the Memphis music scene: Stax records artists, Sun records’ Big Star, Isaac Hayes, and The Grifters, to name a few.
ENO Wine Room, 505 N. Michigan in the InterContinental Hotel, will be popping bubbles every hour to ring in 2018. Learn about ENO’s New Year’s Eve celebration here. If you’d rather celebrate at home, ENO’s General Manager and champagne expert, Amanda Herrell, suggests breaking out the bubbly bar yourself! Her beverage and food pairing recommendations include: Don’t feel pressured to serve only champagne! Other good dry bubbles: Crémant de Bourgogne, Cava, and Franciacorta. Sweeter tasty bubbles: Lambrusco, Brachetto, and Moscato d’Asti. Pair them well! With dry bubbles, stick with rich triple cream cheese. The rich and decadent flavors will be complemented by the bubbles. For the sweeter bubbly drinks, indulge in foie gras mousse. The effervescence combined richness and the berry flavor of the wine will mesh well with the savory dish.
Celebrate the New Year at Ceres Table, 3124 N. Broadway. Sunday, December 31 | 5:00pm – 11:00pm (reservation times) A special four-course, regional Italian meal, presented by Executive Chef Steven O’Neill. For $55/person (*Special: reservations before 6:30pm and after 10:30pm, only $45/person) guests will enjoy their choice of one dish per course from the complete menu.
Lowcountry, 1132 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago’s premier boil-in-a-bag seafood destination announces a second location opening in the South Loop early 2018. At Lowcountry South Loop, the magic four steps remain the same: choose your protein, like snow crab legs, head-on shrimp, mussels and more, then choose a sauce, a spice level, and add-ons like corn, sausage, and potatoes. New boil combinations launch upon opening, and now you can get pre-set seafood bags built for one, two, three, or four people filled with a variety of shellfish and add-ons. Love the music on their website!
Common Threads is hosting its Seventh Annual Cook-Off on Thursday, October 5 from 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. It’s a culinary showcase with dishes by culinary personalities from some of Chicago’s most celebrated restaurants and a silent auction – all proceeds of which will help bring health and wellness to children, families and communities through cooking and nutrition education.
Eat your way through dishes from 35+ of Chicago’s most renowned restaurants and hot-spots. Each dish will celebrate the garden, the pasture, the barn, the seed or the barrel. Once you eat and enjoy some handcrafted cocktails, you get to cast your vote for a winner in each category.
Hosted at the Revel Fulton Market, the Cook-Off supports Common Threads’ Chicago-based nutrition education and hands-on cooking programs for underserved communities. Look for dishes from Chicago’s top restaurants like: Acadia, Arami, Bad Hunter, Bernie’s Lunch and Supper, The Blanchard, BLVD Chicago, Boleo + Vol. 39, Cindy’s, Eataly, NoMI Kitchen, Sable Kitchen and Bar, Son of a Butcher, Sunda, Travelle Kitchen and Bar and many more!
Common Threads is proud to welcome a host of sponsors including Barilla, Kenmore, Lifeway, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois and UnitedHealthcare. Learn more and buy tickets here.
Each course will be expertly paired with a beverage by Oyster Bah’s Mixologist and Sommelier team, Christina Smith and Nate Redner. So come ready to eat, drink, and judge because this culinary contest will be decided by YOU! The four-course dinner costs $59.95 per guest (not inclusive of tax and gratuity) and reservations are required. Call 773.248.3000.
It’s winter, right, people? 63 degrees? I don’t think so. 43 degrees? Not really. How about 70? Do I hear 70 degrees? In any case, it’s a great time to get out and try some of the delicious things going on at Chicago restaurants these days. Here are 3 of them.
Intro, 2300 N. Lincoln Park West, is now offering Dim Sum brunch, Sundays from 10am to 3pm. The unique and delicious menu can be ordered a la carte, or shared family-style at $22.95 per person. Check out: Smoked Salmon Bao, “Everything Spice”, Caper Szechuan Aioli, Chinese Homestyle Eggs with Pork Belly and Congee Rice and Chinese Donuts with Cinnamon and Espresso Milk. Full menu here and call 773-868-0002 to reserve.
Not a festival, not quite a market but absolutely a great time. Dovetail Brewery, 1800 W. Belle Plaine, will be hosting some of the tastiest artisanal local craft vendors in its taproom from noon to 5 p.m. on March 25. Stop by and create your own charcuterie board of assorted breads, cheeses and meats to accompany your favorite Dovetail beers. And by popular demand, Dovetail has added a 1 pm. tour on Saturdays. Stop by the brewery at either 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. to enjoy an informative and fun tour. Tour admission is $15 which includes your choice of three Dovetail 0.3L servings of beer.
Ēma, 74 W. Illinois, another LEYE restaurant, is having its first-ever wine dinner on March 29 at 6:30. For $75 a person (plus tax and gratuity) you’ll be treated to a mezze feast of Ema favorites and specialty dishes crafted by Chef CJ Jacobson and accompanied by wines from Sandhi Winery in Santa Barbara, California. Leading the event is winemaker and James Beard beverage book winner Rajat Parr, author Secrets of the Sommelier, and recipient of the 2015 James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Professional. Call 312-485-5778 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve.
As a thank you to customers in celebration of 19 years in Chicago’s bustling Theater District and across from City Hall, 312 Chicago, 136 N. LaSalle, and Chef Luca are offering *all* dinner entrees for $19 each as well as $19 bottles of select red and white wine. Starting on their anniversary, 3/12/17 and evenings through Tuesday 3/14, you can get everything at the party price – check the list below. Reservations are encouraged.
Kal’ish, 1313 W. Wilson, a short-order vegan restaurant that promises a 100% animal-free menu, opens in Chicago on January 14. That day at 1 pm you’re invited to stop by for complimentary samples of the restaurant’s hot cocoa, cookies, grilled cheese and tomato soup. Gina & Andy Kalish, operators of the Ravenswood Event Center, are excited to be opening the restaurant in the neighborhood they’ve called home for over 20 years.
“We’ve always wanted to open a vegan restaurant that could satisfy vegans and omnivores alike,” says Gina. “Kal’ish offers indulgent plant-based alternatives to favorites found at traditional fast food restaurants.”
Diners can expect a wide range of animal-free takes on classic Americana dishes, including gluten and nut-free options. Kal’ish makes from scratch all meat-like protein replacements, using legumes, roots, nuts, yeasts, wheat, vegetables, starches and more to find the right flavor combinations. To do so, the kitchen has become somewhat of a laboratory, testing ways to create animal-free versions that any eater would enjoy. Favorites from the menu include:
K Burger: a classic beefy patty, horseradish kale mayo, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion, served on a classic bun
Pulled Pork-N-Jack: pulled braised jackfruit, smoky sweet q sauce, purple slaw and pickles, served on a classic bun
Chili Cheese Fries: skin-on salted fries topped with savory house chili, cheese sauce and spicy pico de gallo
Farmer Brown Plate: steamed and griddled vegetables with Midwest curry on a bed of brown rice
In addition, Kal’ish also offers an all-day breakfast menu and Sunday brunch, with options including:
K-Eggs, Potatoes & Toast: a plant-based riff on traditional scrambled eggs with griddle potatoes and onions and a side of buttered toast
Clucker Crisp & French Toast: just like fried chicken & waffles, but plant-based
Biscuits & Sausage Gravy: southern classic fluffy biscuits with homemade vegan gravy and fennel sausage
Take out or eat in the bright, minimalistic space, designed by vegan architect Ferdinanda Marcic.
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.
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.