Chicagoist's Restaurant Week Picks
By Anthony Todd in Food on Feb 9, 2011 7:20PM
The official Chicago Restaurant Week starts February 18th, and with over 200 restaurants participating, it might help to have a few suggestions before you starting making reservations. Restaurants will be offering prix fie menus, costing $22 for lunch and either $33 or $44 for dinner. At those prices, it makes sense to make reservations now. Below, the Chicagoist food staff gives you our recommendations for some great meals and great deals.
- The Berghoff [Loop]: I had the Berghoff's Restaurant Week menu last year, and was reminded why that place is an old favorite. Two words: Weiner Schnitzel. Emphasis on the weiner. Don't miss it. The apple strudel is also consistently good. For anyone who loves German fare like I do, the Berghoff menu is guaranteed to please.
- Chicago Q [Gold Coast]: A relative newcomer, Chicago Q's Restaurant Week Menu looks pretty badass. I would, of course, go heavy on the meat. (Hear that, boys?) The trio of BBQ for an appetizer (Kobe brisket, pulled pork, and pulled chicken) followed by a full slab of ribs. Say it again. Full. Slab. Of. Ribs. That plus dessert for $33 makes Chicago Q worth a stop.
- Mitchell's Fish Market [Glenview]: This is my North Shore shout-out. Dining on the NS is often as good as what you find in the city, without the long waits and uppity attitudes. Mitchell's claims that "Fish any fresher would still be in the ocean," and I'd like to see if it's true. I'd go for the clam chowder, cedar plank salmon, and key lime pie.
As the resident food truck connoisseur, cheap eats chick and perpetually pocket-poor student, it’s rare I find myself in a fine dining setting. But restaurant week brings the ‘best’ out of me—I trade in my worn out jeans and faded shirts for, well let’s be honest, just a cleaner pair of both. So my choices for restaurant week are some of the fancier places my wallet wouldn’t usually be seen in:
- Blackbird: I must be the last foodie in Chicago to finally trek my way to Blackbird. The menu, yet to be announced, builds the excitement and anticipation for my first Blackbird experience. I hope not to be disappointed, as Chicagoist foodies before me haven’t been!
- Province: While their restaurant week menu is tantalizingly appealing (Uh, wild mushroom and manchego flan? Duck ropa vieja? Yes, please!), I have to admit; I’m still seduced by Province bartender Tim Williams’ winning cocktail from the 2011 Cocktail World Cup!
- The Drawing Room: The Drawing Room’s Restaurant Week menu is not only broad but also vegetarian-friendly - a rarity, oddly enough. Choose from among five first-course choices, including Steak Frites (tartare with fries and truffle mayo) and tempura-style Fried Avocado. The four second-course choices nicely range from light to heavy and all sound delicious, too; for example, there’s Mahi Mahi with kumquat-pomegranate vinaigrette, and a Braised Pork Osso Buco with cheddar-whipped polenta, mushrooms and beets. Plus, with all you’re saving on food, you can splurge on a expertly crafted cocktail from the Drawing Room’s champion mixologist, Charles Joly.
- Mon Ami Gabi: We think Mon Ami Gabi is a standout among the city’s French bistros - great energy and atmosphere in the dining room, mirroring the well-done classics on your plate. Restaurant Week is prime time to score many of Gabi’s tasty staples at a handsome discount. Notably, Escargot made the app menu, while Beef Bourguignon and Lemon Chicken Paillard both grace the mains list. And the Dessert Trio lets you sample, you guessed it, three of Gabi’s sweet offerings - namely the Sorbet Du Jour (that’s the sorbet of the day; you're welcome), Chocolate Mousse and Crème Brûlée.
Visit the Restaurant Week website for a list of participating restaurants, locations and menus.