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!