Valentine’s Day 2011 Menus

food-themed vintage Valentines – cute!

Love is in the air, Chicago!

Time to start booking your romantic table for two for Valentine’s Day.  Our favorite area restaurants have some great Valentine’s Day menus and specials that will put you and your honey in the mood for romance!

KEEP CHECKING BACK – We’ll be updating this post often!

If your favorite romantic spot isn’t  listed here, let us know and we’ll do our best to get their Valentine’s Day menu for you.

01.19.2011 – Takashi & mk Restaurant menus just added!

01.20.2011 – Nia menu added!

01.25.2011 – Sunda & Rockit added!

01.27.2011 – Vivo added!

02.03.2011 – Ai added!

02.04.2011 – 33 Club, Chen’s, Koi, Phil Stefani’s, Red Light, Riva, Shokran’s added!

02.10.2011 – The Bristol added!

 

33 Club

3-course dinner, $39 per person.  Available Feb. 12 – 14.  Call 312.664.1419 for reservations.

Menu highlights include flash fried kumamoto oysters, pan-roasted diver sea scallops, 5-hour prime rib, maine lobster ravioli and red velvet cake  or ginger crème brulee for dessert.  In addition, on Sunday and Monday only, 33 Club will feature any bottle of wine on the menu at 33% off during both lunch and dinner which guests can pair with the Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu.

 

Ai Japanese Restaurant & Lounge

4-course menu, $88 per couple.  Includes 2 complimentary glasses of champagne.  Available Feb. 11 – 14.  Call 312.335.9888 for reservations.  Click here for Ai Valentine’s Day Menu.

 

Bonsoiree

8-course menu, $135 per person.  Available Feb. 11 – 14.  Seating extremely limited.  Call 773.486.7511 for reservations.  Click here for Bonsoiree Valentine’s Day Menu.

 

The Bristol

3-course menu, $45 per person.  Available Feb. 11 & 12 only.  The Bristol will be accepting reservations for their special Valentine’s Day menus only.  Call 773.862.5555 for reservations.  Click here for The Bristol Valentine’s Day Menu.

 

Chen’s

$25 per person, excluding tax and gratuity.  Available Feb. 11 – 14.  Call 773.549.9100 for reservations.

Specialty menu includes a Sushi Tuna Rose Appetizer, an appetizer comprised solely of tuna and served in the shape of a rose, followed by the Dragon and Phoenix Entrée, featuring the Dragon: crispy chicken covered in tangy sweet and spicy pepper sauce and the Phoenix: shrimp sauteed with vegetables in white wine sauce.  This entrée for two brings longevity to the relationship.  Guests can indulge in chocolate cake for dessert, and a glass of house red wine, white wine or sake rounds out the menu.

 

The Drawing Room

4-course menu for $55 per person.  Cocktail pairings are available for an additional $22 per person.  Menu COMING SOON.  Please call 312.266.2694 or visit OpenTable for reservations.

 

Devon Seafood Grill

3 course dinner for two – $85 per couple.  Spoil your sweetie with oysters, scallops, filet mignon and lobster tail!  Available Valentine’s Day Weekend, Feb. 11 – 14, 2011.  Reservations recommended.  Please call 312.440.8660.  Click here for Devon Seafood Grill Valentine’s Menu

 

Fleming’ s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

Special entrees and dessert available February 11-14. Reserve your spot now at two Chicago area locations: 25 E. Ohio St., Chicago, IL, 312-329-9463, or 960 Milwaukee Ave., Lincolnshire, IL, 847-793-0333.

To sweeten the deal, you will also receive a Valentine’s Day Card worth $25 toward a future rendezvous at your favorite Fleming’s.

Choose from 2 entree selections and a special dessert, all made for sharing:

Filet Mignon & Crab-Stuffed Shrimp, filet mignon with Madeira sauce, giant black tiger shrimp stuffed with crab and toped with bacon and lemon garlic butter sauce, served with butter poached Portobello mushrooms and Parmesan cheese mashed potatoes (for two, $98.95)

New York Strip & Shrimp Scampi, Prime New York steak, with peppercorn sauce, shrimp scampi with chimichurri herb pesto, served with lemon-scented orzo pasta and French green beans with porcini essence, plus a choice of Fleming’s, Caesar or Wedge Salads (for two, $89.95).

Red Velvet Cake & Chocolate Dipped Strawberries, three-layer red velvet cake with strawberry cream cheese frosting, garnished with two double-dipped chocolate strawberries (for two, $9.95).

Fleming’s will also be featuring a special 99-calorie cocktail, Tickled Pink. The new libation is made with Belvedere vodka, orange juice, raspberry and Mionetto Prosseco for $9.95. The Tickled Pink cocktail is available throughout February and March.

 

Geja’s Cafe

Fondue AND flowers?  You’ll definitely score points with this one!

Reservations for the Valentine’s Dinner Package begin Saturday, January 15 at 9:00 am and continue Monday through Friday from 9-4pm. A credit card payment at the time of reservation is required.  Please call 773.281.9101

The Valentine’s Dinner Package includes Geja’s creamy Gruyere cheese fondue, a glass of  sparkling rose, Geja’s salad with tangy Dijon vinaigrette, entrée fondue of Beef Tenderloin, Lobster Tail and Jumbo Shrimp, Geja’s luscious flaming chocolate dessert fondue with coffee.

Special Valentine’s Dinner Packages
Saturday, February 12th
5:00-7:00                     $95 per person
7:30-9:30                     $95 per person
10:00-                          $95 per person

Sunday, February 13th
4:00 ─ 6:00                 $95 per person
6:30 ─ 8:30                 $95 per person
9:00 ─                         $95 per person

Monday, February 14th
5:00─7:00                   $95 per person
7:30─9:30                   $95 per person
10:00─                        $95 per person

All package prices include tax and gratuity.

For a $25, guests can add a beautiful selection of fresh seasonal flowers to be sent to their valentine as a confirmation of their reservation.  The floral arrangement will be delivered within 2-3 days after the reservation is made to anywhere within the Chicago city limits.  Additionally, Stems will offer participants 3 different flower arrangements available at a discount for table adornment at their Geja’s Valentine’s Day dinner.  Guests will have the opportunity to select this lavish detail for their date upon making reservations at 773.281.9101.  This offer is subject to availability.

 

Koi (Evanston)

$25 per person, excluding tax and gratuity.  Available Feb. 11 – 14.  Call 847.866.6969 for reservations.

Specialty menu includes a Sushi Tuna Rose Appetizer, an appetizer comprised solely of tuna and served in the shape of a rose, followed by the Dragon and Phoenix Entrée, featuring the Dragon: crispy chicken covered in tangy sweet and spicy pepper sauce and the Phoenix: shrimp sauteed with vegetables in white wine sauce.  This entrée for two brings longevity to the relationship.  Guests can indulge in chocolate cake for dessert, and a glass of house red wine, white wine or sake rounds out the menu.

 

mk Restaurant

$62 per person and $71 with cheese.  For reservations please call 312.482.9179

a tasting lovers menu
or a lovers tasting menu

hamachi
crudo of yellowtail, shaved hearts of palm
blood orange, mizzuna
capezzana olive oil

lobster
butter poached maine lobster
baby leeks, caramelized cauliflower
red wine butter

kobe skirt steak
grilled over hardwood charcoal, hedgehog mushrooms
bordeaux spinach, yukon gold potato puree, thyme

pleasant ridge reserve
cow’s milk, firm, nutty, rich, buttery
with a lasting finish… our favorite catch phrases
wisconsin

chocolate
warm double chocolate ganache tart
salted caramel ice cream
pomegranate syrup

 

Nia Mediterranean

Dating a vegetarian?  Don’t fret, Nia has separate menus for meat lovers and veggie lovers!

Available Feb. 12 – 14.  Prepaid – $49 per person.  On site – $59.  Optional wine pairings – $25.  Call 312.226.3110 for reservations.  Click here for Nia Valentine’s Day Menus.

 

Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush

3 course dinner for 2, $90.  Available Feb. 11 – 14.  Call 312.222.0101 for reservations.

Guests will enjoy a romantic 3-course Valentine’s Day dinner for two for only $90 which includes Spicy Jumbo Shrimp, Grilled Beef Tenderloin Chateaubriand and a special dessert.

 

Red Light

$20.11 per person, excluding tax and gratuity.  Call 312.733.8880 for reservations.

Red Light is offering Chicagoans a sneak preview of some of the new menu items  planned for launch in mid-February by their new Executive Chef Ryan Fowler.  He is thrilled to bring a unique spin to Red Light’s Pan Asian menu and is giving Chicagoans the chance to preview some new offerings with a  special 3-course menu available for $20.11 during dinner through Tuesday, February 15.  Red Light will offer both a Vegan and non-Vegan $20.11 prix-fixe preview menu.

 

RIVA Crab House

3 course dinner for 2, $90.  Available Feb. 11 – 14.  Call 312.644.7482 for reservations.

Guests will enjoy a romantic Valentine’s Day 3-course dinner for two, with amazing skyline views, for $90 per couple.  The menu will include two flutes of champagne, served in commemorative glasses as a gift to guests as well as Ravioli Erbette, Grilled Shrimp and Chateaubriand Duet, and a Chocolate Fantasia dessert.

 

Rockit River North

Available Feb 14.  For reservtions call 312.645.6000.  Guests that make a reservation for dinner in the dining room will receive a complimentary glass of champagne for the total number of people in the party.

Executive Chef James Gottwald prepares a candle-lit menu of romantic favorites in the dining room for dinner on Monday, February 14th including Brie Cheese Fondue (assorted baguette, sliced apple, dates, $9); Pan Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops (butternut squash risotto, toasted pinenuts, dried cranberries, $14); Surf & Turf (braised beef brisket, whipped potatoes, jumbo shrimp, asparagus, lobster cream sauce, $21); Flourless Chocolate Cake (with raspberry sorbet, $8).

Guests can also participate in Rockit’s Monday night TasteIt promotion in which select bottles and glass pours of wine are half off.

 

Salud Tequila Lounge

Romance on a budget!

3-course dinner for 2 for $50.  Dinner includes a a specialty cocktail, appetizer, entree, and a shared dessert.  Available Feb. 11 – 15.  Call 773.235.557 or visit OpenTable for reservations.

 

Shokran Moroccan Restaurant

4 courses, $25 per person.  BYOB.  Available Feb. 12 – 14.  Call 773.427.9130 for reservations.

Menu highlights include Chicken Bastilla, Tilapia Tagine, and Lamb Fez.

 

Sunda

Have a romantic dinner (and maybe spot a celeb!)  in one of Chicago’s most stylish restaurants.

Family-style dinner, $120 per couple.  Available Feb. 13 & 14.  Call 312.644.0500 for reservations.

Starting off with complimentary glasses of sparkling wine, the family-style service includes appetizers such as Warm Spinach and Mushroom Salad, Rock Shrimp Tempura, Chef Jesse’s St. Valentine Roll and The Food Buddha’s Classic Crispy Rice with Hand-Cut Spicy Tuna.  Main flavors feature choices of Miso-Bronzed Black Cod and NY Strip Steak. Various side dishes will be offered as well as a Chocolate Dessert.

 

Takashi

A Food Whore favorite!

Seatings from 5:30 until 10:00 pm.  6 courses, $85 per person.  Optional wine pairing for $38.  For reservations please call 773.772.6170.  Click here for Takashi Valentine’s Day Menu.

 

West Town Tavern

2 desserts? Hell yeah!

Valentine’s Day “Fourplay” Dinner for Two, $48 per person, food only. Optional wine pairings, tax and gratuity extra.  Available Monday, Feb. 14.  Regular menu, including their famous Fried Chicken is also available.  Please call 312.666.6175 for reservations.

Shared Starter Platter
Smoked Lobster Tail with Avocado, Mango, Mint and Peanuts
Potato Gnocchi with Chanterelles, Rosemary, Bacon and Gruyere
Roasted Beets, Toasted Hazelnuts, Arugula and Creamy Gorgonzola Vinaigrette

Choice of Entrees
Pan-Seared Wild Gulf Shrimp Risotto with Baby Artichokes, Lemon and Chervil
Sun-Dried Tomato Crepes with Winter Vegetables, Ricotta, Orange and Fontina
Pepper Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Smoked Red Onion Marmalade and White Truffle Fries

Shared Dessert Platter
Fudge Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich with Black Raspberry Ice Cream
Warm Raisin-Cinnamon Bread Pudding with Rum Custard, Caramel and Whipped Cream
Meyer Lemon Tart with Toasted Coconut Praline

Housemade Truffles To Go

 

Vivo

4 course dinner, $55.  Wine pairings, $25.  Available Monday Feb. 14.  Call 312.733.3379 for reservations.  Click here for Vivo Valentine’s Day Menu.

Isacco Kitchen – A World Kitchen in St. Charles

It’s extremely refreshing to see a restaurant of this caliber in St. Charles, IL.; read on and you’ll see why.

James and I just moved to the Western suburbs – if you’ve been following my posts, my husband knocked me up and we quickly made a move out to Batavia where we would no longer endure 3 hour daily commutes to our day time jobs in the western suburbs.  I was completely torn up when we packed up all our things and left our awesome downtown loft…I thought that Olive Garden’s and Chili’s would become my staple restaurants.

I first heard of Isacco Kitchen when I saw it walking to a nearby bar (no worries, I drank O’Douls) on my way to watch one of the last games of the NHL playoff’s before the Hawks won the Stanley Cup(!). I was immediately intrigued at the yellow exterior, pretty landscaping and unique spelling of the restaurant name. At first, I didn’t quite understand how to read the name but later learned it was just the letter “A” sideways.

Little did I know, restaurants like Isacco’s exist here!! Just think, “Blackbird, minus the foam”.  Unique and fresh ingredients prepared by highly skilled hands.

This trendy little restaurant was just about to close after their lunch service on a Saturday afternoon when we drove up. Luckily the waiter saw us and quickly ran into the kitchen to double check with Chef if he wanted to continue serving us.  I’m SO glad he did because this was absolutely one of the best meals I’ve had THIS YEAR (see my Macku Sushi review for the other oustanding meal) .  We were also STARVING as we had spent the morning painting our kitchen. We don’t normally eat like this for lunch but we felt it was well deserved!

It was a gorgeus day and not too hot so we opted for a seat outdoors on their cozy patio overlooking a highly professional landscape and herb pots.  J and I perused the menu and immediately a few things caught our eyes.

Should you decide to try Isacco – all of our dishes were superb, fresh and organic!  Turns out Chef Isacco was executive Chef on one of the most prestigious cruise ship lines in the world and has experience cooking using flavors from all over the world.

Let’s begin with the Beef Tartare – You can’t really see but the tartare appears to be properly chopped with the double knife method, then garnished with mustard, chives and seasoning.  Although I’m NOT supposed to eat any raw food, I couldn’t help myself but take a small taste and it was one of the best tartare’s in the city (would you believe that the tartare at Paramount Room is pretty kick ass too?)

I opted for the seared Diver Scallops appetizer and I felt like I was ripping the restaurant off by ordering this – 4 giant succulent scallops seared to perfection and paired with organic greens, ratatouille and mango papaya relish – $11 – I couldn’t make it at home for $11!!!!

One sexy dish…

Our entree’s were also outstanding and a steal for the price:

Rack of Lamb with artichoke salad (it’s artichoke season and these were yummy!), aged percorin, balsamic and crispy potatoes au gratin ($15)  I couldn’t believe there were 4 full chops – again, I can’t do it for this cheap at home!!

Finally, my entree was slightly screwed up – it was supposed to come with gnocchi but Chef accidentally made pasta but I’m REALLY glad because I was more in the mood for pasta than gnocchi’s. DID I MENTION THAT THEY HAND MAKE THEIR PASTAS???  Chef came to talk to us and told us about his Italian pasta roller – and he has every right to be proud because the noodles were soft, tender and had the perfect bite.  Served with perfectly seasoned and melt in your mouth oxtail. One of my favorite cuts of beef.

If you’re in the suburbs looking for a high caliber restaurant, please – try Isacco Kitchen – it’s definitely going to be one of my favorite restaurants in Chicagoland.  I can’t wait to go back for dinner and pay suburban prices for City of Chicago quality food. (Entrees maxed out at $21).

Categories: Restaurants, Lounges  [Edit]

210 Cedar St
St. Charles, IL 60174

(630) 444-0202

www.isaccokitchen.com

Himalayan Restaurant: A Culinary Journey to Nepal

Himalayan Restaurant & Bar

Recently Vivian and I were lucky enough to be invited by Kiran and Jennifer of Himalayan Restaurant to do a tasting of their menu, which is Indian and Nepali cuisine.  Being the food whores that we are, we jumped at the chance to try something new and exciting!  With Kiran, the owner, as our guide, we took a gastromomic journey to Nepal!

Don’t let the location fool you!  Vivian and I visited the Niles location, which is located in a strip mall.  The interior is simple and comfortable.  You might even call it “fancy” since the tables have real white tablecloths!  We went for a late weekend lunch, thinking we’d miss the crowd, but the place was still packed with Indian families having lunch!  We took this as a sign that we were in for a real treat!

First we started with a few appetizers from the buffet.  Most of the dishes in the buffet are South Indian style, with the traditional sauces such as yogurt sauce and tamarind.  We had lentil soup and a selection of salad and veggies.  I particularly liked the lentil fritters.

lentil fritter

After the buffet came a long procession of dishes from the regular menu.  Kiran was sure to emphasize the traditional Nepali dishes, especially since Vivian and I are both already familiar with Indian food.  The first dish we tried is also an appetizer called Chicken Chowela.  I love the way Kiran described this – he called it “Nepali pub food”!  This spicy dish is traditionally served in the hot summer months, with a rice-based liquor.  This was the first of many homestyle “mom’s recipe” dishes that we tried.  While the spice level was toned down a bit from the traditional way, it still had a great tomatoey, spicy kick.  Although Nepal is a relatively small country, the food is very regionalized.  Chowela is a dish mainly found in Kathmandu.  Quite fittingly, Kiran is from the region in Nepal that is known for their festivals and great food!

chicken chowela

Since Nepal is located between India and Tibet, naturally they have been influenced by their neighbors.  Nepal adopted some ingredients, such as soy, and some cooking styles, such as the use of cornstarch, from its Chinese neighbors.  Himalayan Restaurant offers a selection of Indo-Chinese dishes.  We tried the Gobi Manchurian, which is battered and fried cauliflower with green pepper, onion and a tomato-based sauce.  This dish was easily one of our favorites!  Great big flavors – kind of a sweet aroma with a smoky taste — totally unique.  Super good!  If you’re looking for something unlike anything you’ve tried before, I highly recommend this dish.  It’s so flavorful, I promise you won’t even miss the meat!

gobi manchurian

In the same way that Nepal adopted some Tibetan cooking techniques, they also adopted some aspects of traditional Indian cooking.  While there are lots of similarities between Indian and Nepalese cuisine – they use many of the same spices – there are also some distinct differences.  In general, Indian food is very rich and robust.  Nepalese food may use the same spices, but they simply use LESS of them.  The basic herbs and spices of Nepalese food are ginger and garlic.  Additionally, Nepalese cooking uses clarified butter instead of oil, and there are NO milk-based products in Nepalese cuisine, unlike Indian food which can use ingredients such as cream or coconut milk.

Next we tried the most typical of all Nepali foods – the momo.  Momos are Nepali-style dumplings.  Kiran called it “the hamburger of Nepal” because it’s a dish you can find everywhere, done a million different ways.  The momos that Kiran makes look very similar to the Shanghainese soup dumplings, xiao long bao, like little pouches without the soup!  We tried chicken momos, which are stuffed with chicken, ginger and garlic.  One of the most important aspects of the momo is the sauce.  Kiran serves his momos with a red chile sauce made of chiles, tomato and ginger.  There is another style of pan-fried momo, which is served with a sweeter sauce.  Vivian and I are dumpling lovers – we could eat them ANYTIME—so we both loved the momos.  I’ve actually had momos before, and I like Himalayan’s version, with a fairly thin wrapper (not so chewy!) and a thicker, tastier sauce.  Momos are definitely another MUST at Himalayan Restaurant!

chicken momo

Next, the manager brought out a selection of traditional Nepali dishes that he thought we must try.  We had Bodi Aloo, which is sautéed potatoes and green beans, Khasi Ko Masu, a goat curry which is a basic at ALL Nepali occasions, and the Kadhai Paneer, which is homemade paneer cooked with tomato, onions and bell peppers.  These were served with saffron rice and garlic naan and whole wheat roti.  The goat curry had a great rich sauce, but  Vivian and I were both drawn to the vegetarian dishes.  And we’re dedicated carnivores!  The vegetarian food at Himalayan Restaurant has so much depth of flavor that they would easily safisfy any meat-eater!  Even though I loved the strong flavor of the garlic naan, plain naan or roti are much more traditional.

clockwise fr bottom left: garlic naan, saffron rice, kadhai paneer, bodi aloo, khasi ko masu

By this time, Vivian and I are starting to get full, but then a sizzling plate of tandoori was brought out, and of course we had to try everything!  We recommend the Mix Grill, which comes with tandoori chicken, chicken tikka, lamb kabob and fish tikka.  I’d never had fish tikka before, and with a meaty fish like mahi mahi, it was quite delicious!  MMM, love those sizzlin’ onions!

mix grill

As full as we were, of course we had to have dessert as well.  We tried a drink called Falooda, which is actually a Middle Eastern style dessert, containing ice cream, rose syrup, jelly, some poppy seeds, and noodles!  Lots of interesting textures going on, and it’s kinda fun to suck noodles up through the straw! 

falooda

So what does one drink with Nepali food?  There is tea of course, or lassi, the Indian version of a fruit smoothie.  Himalayan Restaurant is one of the only places importing Haywards 5000 beer in the area, so I decided to try one.  Actually the beer is a great palate cleanser, preparing your taste buds for the next delicious bite!  Himalayan Restaurant has a full bar with a variety of wines.  I like that Kiran has put conscious thought into what types of beverages will pair well with his food, for example a Malbec with a lamb curry.  In fact, he is also planning a wine dinner at the restaurant!  Many people are at a loss as to how to pair ethnic food and wine, and I think it’s great that Himalayan Restaurant is showing us all how it’s done!

What Vivian took away from this experience was much more than full bellies and boxes of leftovers!  What sticks in my mind even more than the unique flavor of the Gobi Manchurian is Kiran’s passion for what he does, and his enthusiasm to share his culture with his customers.  While the 2 locations of his restaurant are both successful, he’s not just trying to make a buck.  It’s clear that Kiran and his partners have worked hard to get to where they are.  He truly wants each customer to have an enjoyable experience, and not only to taste great food, but to learn about his culture.

For a true taste of Nepal’s delicious cuisine and culture, a visit to Himalayan Restaurant is highly recommended!

Himalayan Restaurant & Bar – Bloomingdale

398 W Armytrail Road

Bloomingdale IL  60108

(630) 523-5100

Himalayan Restaurant & Bar – Niles

8265 Golf Road

Niles IL  60714

(847) 324-4150

www.himalayanrestaurant.com

Chicago Restaurant Week 2010 – Menu’s posted here!

February 19 marks the beginning of one of the best dining weeks of the year!!! We are SOOO excited to see how the list has expanded over the last three years!!! If you see a * next to the name, it’s recommended!! There is NO EXCUSE for not dining out during Restaurant Week – it’s the perfect Food Whore deal!

Adobe Reader is required to view these menus.  Please let us know if you experience any broken links!!!!

The full and complete list is found at the OFFICIAL website here but fyi, our site is easier to click!

This year, the Chicago Restaurant Week is from February 19-28, 2010 where 3 course GOURMET PRIX FIXE menus are just $22 for Lunch or $32 for dinner!

Make your reservation now at OpenTable!!!

Michelle and I have been participating in this citywide dining event since it’s inception 3 years ago  and we can’t express how much we love it! In fact, our WHOLE PAYCHECK is dedicated to this week!  It’s a great way to check out that expensive restaurant that you never dared to step into before (eh hem, Topolobampo, Spiaggo, Terzo Piano, etc).

CHECK BACK FOR FULL MENU’s – Yes, we’re linking to documents from EAT IT UP but there are menus missing from some of the restaurants – we’re going to try and get them for you – KEEP POSTED!

Here is a list of some of the participating restaurants (so far…) – we omitted some of the less interesting restaurants because that’s how we roll.

676 Restaurant and Bar – surf & turf!

Ai Japanese Restaurant and Lounge – mmm..hamachi carpaccio

Aja Steakhouse

Alhambra Palace Restaurant

Aria

Atwood Cafe – veal tenderloin – don’t see this everyday!

Berghoff Restaurant>

Bice – Chicago

Bin 36

Bistro 110 ></a> – The French Onion Soup is supposed to be to DIE FOR

Blackbird* – sorry, lunch only I am disppointed too!

Blue 13

Boka* – no choices, but solid prix fixe – one of my favorite Chicago restaurants! FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE TORTE was featured as one of Time Out’s top 100 dishes 2009

Brasserie Jo

Brazzaz – The Brazilian Steakhouse

Cafe Des Architectes / CDA – great lunch menu!  tartare, carpaccio, mmm… (btw, the peekytoe crab salad from CDA was on of Time Out’s 100 top dishes in 2009 – maybe you can order it on the side in addition to the 3 course meal!)

Cafe Spiaggia*

Caliterra Bar & Grille – Chicago – the only entree choices are Steak Oscar or NY Strip – YES PLEASE!

The Cape Code Room at the Drake Hotel

Capital Grille – Chicago

Carmine’s

Carnivale

Catch 35

Chicago Firehouse Restaurant – good selection of entrees to choose from

China Grill – Chicago

C-House Restaurant

Coco Pazzo

Coco Pazzo Cafe

Croften on Wells – no red meat on this menu. Looks just “ok”

David Burkes Primehouse at the James Hotel* – probably one of the best deals for Restaurant Week – the Kobe Beef Sashimi is probably one of the best things I have tasted – EVER

Devon Seafood Grill – Chicago* – great for groups – ask for the group tables downstairs – solid food, great service

The Drawing Room @ Le Passage

Fornetto Mei – wow, delicious sounding menu! lunch looks especially enticing for $22!

Frontera Grill

Fulton’s on the River – Mmm..steak tartare, YES PLEASE!

The Gage Restaurant and Tavern

Geja’s Cafe – nice selection at this restaurant voted “most romantic”.  Fondue anyone?

Gemini Bistro – lots of choices, where do I begin??? good for groups so you can try everything!

The Grill on the Alley – Chicago

Hard Rock Cafe – Chicago – includes coffee, tea or soft drink!

Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse – Chicago

The Indian Garden Restaurant – huge selection! great for groups that are adventurous!

Il Mulino

Jack Binion’s Steakhouse

Japonais* – I love this swanky restaurant!  Great choices too!

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab*

Keefer’s Restaurant What? dinner menu doesn’t feature steak…odd for a steak house!
Kinzie Chop House

La Cantina Italian Chophouse

La Madia – pizza lunch! how fun! Includes a glass of wine too!!! Great menu for picky eaters

La Salumeria del Merlo on Lincoln Ave – note that the ARTICHOKE RICOTTA RAVIOLI was one of Time Out’s 100 Top Dishes 2009! Hope to see it on the menu!

La Trattoria del Merlo – pheasant terrine, handmade pastas…

Landmark – to be frank, menu looks boring but the food is really well done here. I could be wrong.

Lawry’s The Prime Rib

Le Colonial

The Lobby

Lockwood Restaurant and Bar – Mussels, skate wing, wagyu beef burger…nice selection!

Market Restaurant and Sports Bar

McCormick and Schmick’s Seafood

Mercat a La Planxa*

Merlo on Maple – tons of handmade pastas, stewed lambshank..yummy

Mike Ditka’s

Mirai Sushi*

Mon Ami Gabi – Escargots, steak frites, beef bourguignon

Morton’s Steakhouse

N9ne Steakhouse

Nacional 27* – super awesome deal – love it last year!

Naha

NoMI

one sixtyblue – Hope to see MILK-CHOCOLATE SOUFFLÉ on the menu – it was on Time Out’s 100 best desserts of 2009

Osteria via Stato* – great for groups served family style with LOTS of selection.

The Palm Chilean seabass, filet mignon, crab cakes – nice choices!

Park Grill Rabbit, rainbow trout – impressive offerings for sure!

Parrot Cage

Pegasus –

Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush

Piccolo Sogno* – went last year for lunch and loved it.  Such a pretty restaurant with friendly staff and great wine

Prosecco

Pump Room

Rapsody – skate wing or pork belly – crap, how do I choose between those two? YUMMO!

Riccardo Trattoria – honeycomb tripe done Italian style? Clearly the best menu available for Restaurant week! I already made my reservation!! Note weekend reservations not available until 9pm.

Rise Sushi and Sake Lounge

Ristorante We – never even heard of this place but it’s at the W hotel

Riva SIX FRESH OYSTERS is one of the 1st course selections!

Rock Bottom Brewery

Rockit Bar and Grill

Rosebud on Rush

Rosebud Prime Lunch only!

Rosebud Steakhouse Lunch only!

Rosebud Theatre District

Rosebud Trattoria (fka Ballo)

Roy’s

Saloon Steakhouse

Salpicon – um, read this menu and tell me if your eyes are getting crossed.

Salute Wine Bar

Season’s Restaurant – Scampi, pork belly…

Shaw’s Crab House

Shine

Shula’s Steak house

Smith and Wollensky – 10 oz filet mignon!

South Water Kitchen

Sullivan’s Steakhouse

Sushi Taiyo

Sushi Samba Rio*

Tapas Valencia

Tavern at the Park

Tavern on Rush

Terzo Piano – CHOCOLATE SEMIFREDDO featured as Time Out’s 100 top desserts in 2009 – hope to see it on the menu!

Tizi Melloul – Offering a FIVE course meal instead of THREE!!! Wow!  & a Vegetarian Menu!  Fabulous!

Topolobampo* – Lunch only, sad – Yes, we’re curious what the menu is too!

Trattoria No. 10

Tsuki Japanese Restaurant and Lounge*

Tuscany on Taylor

Viaggio Ristorante and Lounge

Viand Bar and Kitchen

Wave

Other Menus:

ARIA
LUNCH
Choose one from Each
Starters:
wild mushroom bisque – white truffle oil, mushroom goat cheese won-ton
salad of fresee, arugula and blue cheese – organic mizuna, ciabatta croutons, haricot vert, braeburn apples, roquefort dressing

Entrees:
vegetable pad thai – tofu, roasted peanuts, preserved radish
romesco crusted salmon – chorizo, white beans, organic baby carrots

Desserts:
maple creameux – chocolate sauce, malted milk crisp, strawberry
pear almond tart – blackberry jam, vanilla bean ice cream

DINNER
Starter & Dessert same as lunch
Entree:
fiery wok seared noodle bowl – chinese broccoli, shiitake mushrooms red chilis, bean sprouts
braised beef short ribs – jade arborio rice

Pinot Days – Save the Date NOW for 2010!

If there is ANY Chicago festival that you missed this year, it is definitely the 3rd Annual Pinot Days event at Navy Pier last weekend. Just imagine Michael Jackson’s “Neverland Ranch” – but without rides – instead, it is a happy place for wine loving adults with table after table of wine producers pouring some of their best Pinot Noir concoctions. With over 300 wines to taste, I nearly made it to about 35. I don’t think it is humanly possible to consume even just a small 1oz taste of all the fabulous wines they had there.

The price of a ticket is $50 – seems hefty right? Wrong! This isn’t like other tastings that I have been to where the lines were long and the wines were terrible. These were ALL TOP QUALITY WINES with average wholesale prices around $15-60. Yes, I did say WHOLESALE price – which means that the retail prices are at least a 50% markup – or if having the same wine in a restaurant, we’re looking at least a 100% markup in not 200%. (But for next year, look out for online coupons that will save you 10% on the ticket price!)


Brut made with Pinot Grapes

Most of the wines featured at the show were from North America but there were a few German brands showcasing their Pinots also. Did you know that Germany is the 3rd largest producer of Pinot’s in the world? German Pinot’s often exude a brighter flavor with less “earthiness”. My most interesting find was the Blanc de Noir Brut, Wilhelmshof – a bubbly Pinot! Delicious! I also learned about a German wine family “KELLER” who, according to Greg Meuller from the Candid Wine stand claims that there is not a bad bottle from this estate. In fact, by buying the Keller bottle, you’re guaranteed a GREAT wine. I was able to try the 2005 and 2007 Spatburguner Trocken from the Reinhessen Region. And yes, it was spectacular at a retail value of $30.00 (not to be mistaken with the Keller Estates in the Sonoma Coast).

Some of the great wines I tasted include the following:

2007 Pinot Noir –
Ketchum Estate $38-48/bottle
Le Cadeau “Equinoxe” & “Cote Est” $45-60/bottle (super small 14 acre winery that produces the #1 Pinot in Oregon per NY Times!”
MacMurry Ranch “Central Coast”, “Sonoma Coast” & “Russian River Valley” $19.99-$24/bottle

One outstanding wine – both James and I agreed on this one:


Waits-Mast La Encantada Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills $49/bottle

From the Waits-Mast Website: Purchase at http://www.waitsmast.com/our_wines

Our 2007 La Encantada Pinot Noir is our first Pinot Noir from Santa Rita Hills and we’re excited to begin with some high-caliber fruit. The vineyard is owned by Richard and Thekla Sanford (of Sanford Pinot Noir fame) and along with his other vineyards, La Encantada was one of the first vineyards in Santa Barbara County to be certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). This wine is a bit more dark and brooding. It shows more smoke and spice on the nose, some good tannins and a deep ruby color, leaning towards crimson. The palate unfolds with lush sweet cherry and blackberries, spice, floral notes and a hint of cola. The La Encantada has great structure and will be a great wine for sharing with friends and for tucking away in the cellar.
• Vineyard: La Encantada Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County, CA
• Clones: 115/667/777
• Alcohol content: 14% by volume
• Fruit: 100% whole berry (no stems)
• Barrel aging: 11 months in French oak, 33% new (Francois Freres, MT)
• Bottled: August, 2008
• Production: 25 cases
• Drink now through 2017
• Release date: Spring, 2009

With all this wine drinking, I was glad to see Frontera Food’s exhibit showcasing their grocery brands. There were a few other vendors like the Floriole Bakery (who also sells at the Green City Market) who had petite bites of their Balsamic Cherry Brownies designed for pairing with Pinot. City Olive and Viola Imports was also there with a nice selection of condiments for eating and drinking. My favorite pairing of the day? The simple spread of truffle tapenade on a plain cracker – it really made the Pinots I drank stand out! (Yup, we spent WAY too much money buying this stuff! It was all SO GOOD!)

 

The 2010 date for Pinot Days has not yet been released but I guarantee you, I will mark my calendar (as will all my friends) to go to this event!