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Chicago Restaurant Week: Megan's Picks

By Megan Tempest in Food on Feb 16, 2010 5:00PM

2009_02_20_CRW.jpg (Ed. Note: Now in its third year, Chicago Restaurant Week starts Friday and runs through February 28. Over 160 restaurants throughout the greater Chicago area will offer 3-course fixed price dinners for $32 and 3-course, fixed price lunches for $22. Last year we offered suggestions for restaurants to visit during Restaurant Week. We're doing the same this week, starting with selections from Megan Tempest. — C. Sudo)

  1. Blackbird - delicious food, fun atmosphere, and excellent staff - Blackbird is classy, but casual. For Restaurant Week, I’ll be going to taste the warm baby octopus confit with black chickpeas, Asian pear, hazelnuts and eucalyptus. Entrees include roasted squab and smoked sausage, sweet potatoes and juniper almonds, as well as braised short ribs with flageolets, fig broth and golden turnips. Both sound equally mouthwatering. For dessert, I’ll be indulging in the pear sorbet with brown butter streusel and butterscotch sauce.
  2. At the request of some visiting out-of-towners, Chicago’s historic Berghoff is also on my agenda for Restaurant Week. While the likes of “Wiener Schnitzel” and “Hanger Steak” may not suit your palate (they certainly don’t mine), the Berghoff serves up plenty of vegetarian-friendly, warming comfort food. I’ll be trying out the roasted mushroom sachette (little purses) with tarragon white wine sauce, the alsatian onion and apple soup with melted muenster cheese croutons, and the seared salmon served on a bed of red and green lentil ragout. For dessert - the granny smith apple strudel with a flakey, buttery crust sounds pretty amazing, as does the chocolate fudge cake layered with crumbled toffee, dark chocolate ganache, and salty caramel sauce. Salt and chocolate, does it get any better than that?
  3. Finally, I recommend checking out West Town’s May Street Market. This cozy little restaurant always seems to fall below the radar amongst Chicago’s fine diners. Their Restaurant Week menu is highly enticing - butternut squash with lemongrass soup and steamed wild cod filet with zucchini jacket, quinoa, dried cranberry, tomato salad and coriander sauce. For dessert, the Flight of Cupcakes is not to be missed - it includes chocolate five spice with peanut butter icing, lavender vanilla with earl grey icing and carrot with orange ginger icing. Delish.