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Staff Picks: Chicago Restaurant Week 2012

By Caitlin Klein in Food on Jan 20, 2012 4:40PM

2011_01_restoweek.jpg Restaurants across the city are accepting reservations for the fifth annual Chicago Restaurant Week. Many participating restaurants already have menus available online. Our food staff has recommendations for the undecided. See what we’re looking forward to this year and let us know if we missed the spot you’re dying to try. Restaurant Week runs from February 17-26.

Our Top Recommendations:
Perennial Virant
Chicago Q
The Palm

MInna An

Perennial Virant: I haven’t been to Perennial since the addition of Virant, but if their award-winning gnocchi recipe has stayed the same, you can just sit me down for a five course dinner of gnocchi, gnocchi, gnocchi, gnocchi and some more gnocchi. I’m going to take full advantage of this year’s restaurant week, visiting the places on my list of “places to try” that I haven’t been able to get around to quite yet. Amongst my growing list, my top choices for restaurant week include Farmhouse, C-House, bistronomic and Cité (for their supposedly great views). One thing is certain—with a list growing longer of restaurant week places to try, it looks like I’ll be subsisting on canned soup and saltines until then!

Roger Kamholz

Boka: What’s the keyword when it comes to Restaurant Week? Value. And you won’t find many values more valuable than the $33 three-course Restaurant Week dinner menu at Michelin-starred Boka, where a regularly priced entrée alone is likely to run you at least three Hamiltons. Boka’s menu for RW 2012 features three first-course choices (I’d definitely opt for the beef cheek ravioli with crayfish and celery root hash, and lobster jus - jus’ sayin’); three mains, including an herb-crusted whitefish with black truffle, brussel and prawn slaw, sweet potato and chestnut jus; and a chocolate praline terrine for dessert, which is topped with hazelnut ice cream, coffee foam and candied hazelnuts. And get this: you can foie gras your entrée course for an additional $11. AKA., a Hamilton and a Washington. AKA, value.

Molly Durham

Chicago Q: I'll have to go with Chicago Q on this one. Almost solely for the fact that they have a "BBQ flight" on the menu. Kobe brisket, pulled pork and pulled chicken.... just for an appetizer? Add a full slab of ribs as the entree and some milk and cookies for dessert and you've got yourself a dream meal. Any restaurant that gets that down with some southern home cooking has won my heart.

Caitlin Klein

The Palm: I already have reservations at the Palm. I agree with Roger - restaurant week should be about maximizing value. Yes, the Palm is a chain, but it’s a chain I can’t afford to eat at very often. I think the Palm is a solid resto week choice because of the classic appetizers (lobster bisque, Caesar, arugula salad, or the soup of the day) and the significant entrée choices (veal marsala, ahi tuna steak, 9 oz. filet, or jumbo lump crabcakes). The dessert choices are cheesecake and key lime pie for dessert, yawn, but I’m banking on the Palm maximizing quality where they lack in ingenuity. Don’t mess with a good thing. I will have the filet mignon, darling.