Bite Me: Food That Looks Good Enough to Eat

You should eat something. Here are our favorite dishes from around Chicago.

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Niu B's Bone-In Lamb Chop Robata Skewers
nWhat are they? Grilled skewers seasoned with Sea Salt, Pepper and Yakitori Saucen
nSuggested pairing: Old Fashion of the East made with Yamazaki 12 year Japanese Whiskey, Fee Brother’s Whiskey Barrel-aged Bitters, Orange Flam Swatch ($12)n
nHow much is it? $8
nNiu B Sushi & Noodles, 888 S. Michigan Ave, 312-922-1127, @SushiNiu
WHAT'S IT CALLED? The Victorian Ice Cream Sundae
nWHAT'S IN IT? Hennessey VSOP cognac, Tahitian vanilla ice cream, Guittard Complexite 70 percent chocolate ice cream, 24-carat gold leaf and 24-carat gold dust, caramelized golden peanuts, dark chocolate croquant, hot fudge and salted caramel. The sundae is topped with a hand-crafted chocolate crown and served in a Wedgwood Crystal Bowl that you get to take home.
nCOMES WITH: A bottle of 2003 Dom Perignon.n
nCOST: $1,000
nWHERE TO FIND IT: The Langham Hotel's Pavilion Restaurant, 330 North Wabash Avenue, Chicago, (312) 923 9988, @LanghamChicago
Ani's Takoyaki
nWhat's in it? Octopus beignets, tonkatsu sauce, bonito, kizami. Takoyaki is Japanese street food snack that originated in Osaka. At Ani in Lakeview, Chef Shin Matusa adds togarashi puffed rice for added texture inside with the octopus. After the beignets are cooked on the stove top, they are cooled and then quickly flash fried to give them a crispy exterior, then finished with tonkatsu sauce and bonito flakes.n
nSuggested pairing: Ani's house sake, Ichi No Torii (brewed exclusively for Ani and Arami) $10 per glass; $27 for 300 ml bottle.n
nHow much is it? $9
nAni, 3056 N. Lincoln Avenue, 872-206-8553, @AniChicago
Packing House's Milk Braised Lamb Shoulder
nWhat's in it? 7 oz portions of Pat Lafrieda lamb shoulder are cured overnight, seared and simmered with whole milk, stock, vegetables and spices for 4 hours. After the meat is left to sit overnight to reabsorb the stock, it's served with a spring pea salsa verde and potatoes emulsified with buttermilk, cream and butter.
nSuggested pairing: La Couffe, which is offered on draft.n
nHow much is it? $23
nExecutive Chef Amanda Barnes says: "This dish is a classic italian way to braise meat. I really haven't encountered a meat that doesn't respond well to this technique, even whole chicken! The milk adds a creamy sweetness to the dish that is accentuated with the potatoes. The potatoes are essentially a medium to suspend butter. The pea pesto is an acidic counterpoint to all that heavy richness. It's really more of a combo like if pesto and salsa verde had a baby with peas. It is also an opportunity to add another classic pairing of mint and lamb."n
nPacking House, 1113 W Randolph St, 312-929-4787, @packing_house
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Hubbard Inn's Crab Cake Benedict
nWhat's in it? Eggs benedict served with Dungeness crab, spinach and maltese sauce.
nSuggested pairing: Steep Escape cocktail, crafted with Belvedere Lemon Tea Vodka, St. Germain, fresh lemon, Bolivar Chamomile bitters and Brut Champagne.n
nHow much is it? $15
nExecutive Chef Bob Zrenner says: "Champagne and crab is a delightful way to share a brunch at the end of a summer weekend!"n
nHubbard Inn, 110 W Hubbard St, (312) 222-1331, @HubbardInn
Bohemian House's Roasted Duck
nWhat's in it? Charred kohlrabi, plums, poppy seed vinaigrette & smoked walnuts
nSuggested pairing: Jolly Pumpkin from Saison – it has an interesting level of complexity and tartness that cuts through the richness of the duck and works perfectly with the dish.n
nHow much is it? $24
nExecutive Chef Jimmy Papadopoulos says: "This dish was inspired by my first plate of Czech Roasted Duck. We cure the duck legs with toasted caraway, garlic and marjoram, before they are slowly cooked in duck fat for 12 hours, and then pan roasted, to crisp the skin. The dish has a beautiful balance of salty, sweet, bitter and sour."n
nBohemian House, 11 W Illinois., 312-955-0439, @BOHOCHI
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Tortoise Club's Grilled Shrimp and Guacamole
nWhat's in it? Grilled Gulf Shrimp with Guacamole and house tortilla chips seasoned with espelette pepper.
nSuggested pairing: Craft 5 Rabbit Golden Ale or our Oaxacan Sunset tequila cocktail.n
nHow much is it? $12.95
nExecutive Chef Gray McNally says: "This dish is the perfect starter for any meal, but is also a great option for a light lunch or snack while enjoying a cocktail at The Bar or on The Patio."
nTortoise Club, 350 North State St., (312) 755-1700 @TortoiseClub
Weber Grill's Cedar Plank Grilled BBQ Atlantic Salmon
nWhat's in it? Chipotle peach BBQ sauce glazed, peach & spring green salad, candied pecans, cilantro lime vinaigrette 24.
nSuggested pairing: Domaine Serene Pinot Noir -- the light tannins and earthiness work well with the fats and oils of the fish.n
nExecutive Chef Larry Donahu says: "Copper River Sockeye Salmon is one of my favorite wild salmon varieties. Wild Sockeye account for only about 5 percent of all wild salmon. For me, it represents the start of summer when I can get fresh Copper River Salmon and experiment with layering different flavors by using fresh herbs and different wood chips to become part of the seasoning."
nWeber Grill, 539 N State St, (312) 467-9696 @thewebergrill
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Municipal Bar & Dining Co.'s Kale Salad
nWhat's in it? Kale, grilled asparagus, tomatoes, walnuts, carrots, cucumbers, wheat berries and citrus-honey vinaigrette.
nSuggested pairing: Double M cocktail -- The Absolut Mandarin in this particular Municipal Mule really compliments the citrus-honey vinaigrette.n
nMercadito Corporate Chef Guillermo Tellez says: "Our new Kale Salad is a perfect dish to enjoy this summer. It's light, refreshing, and loaded with fresh vegetables. The citrus-honey vinaigrette is full of flavor, and adds just the right amount of acid and sweetness to the dish."n
nMunicipal Bar & Dining Co., 216 W. Ohio St., (312) 951-2125 @municipalchi
Falafill's Harra Falafel
nWhat's in it? Classic Chickpea Falafel, Carrot Labneh Yogurt, Brown Butter and Spicy Walnut Tahini Sauce.
How Much Is It? $6.50
Suggested pairing: Falafill's new Blackberry Jasmine Iced Tea $1.95n
nOwner/Chef Maher Chebaro says: "Our monthly guest chef has done it again! This June, we're thrilled to feature Ana Sortun's wrap creation with a crunchy, savory bite of falafel paired with a sweet carrot sauce. It's the perfect summer combination."
nFalafill, 3202 N Broadway St, (773) 525-0052 @falafill
Kanela Breakfast Club's Crunchy French Toast
nWhat's in it? Challah bread rolled in crunchy Corn Flakes, topped with berries, served with creme anglaise on the side.
How Much Is It? $10
Suggested pairing: Strawberry Basil Lemonade: fresh squeezed lemonade, Moscato, muddled strawberries, lemon, and basil ($8) or one of our specialty Julius Meinl coffees.
nChef Alexandria Swieton says: "The thick cut challah bread adds a sweet and luxurious spin on a traditional French toast. The Corn Flakes are crunchy and playful, and the combination of the two make for a very unique yet fun breakfast. Topped with our very own creme anglaise and seasonal berries, you can't go wrong with this amazing play on a childhood favorite."n
nKanela Breakfast Club,Lakeview and Old Town locations, @Kanela_Chicago
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Fig & Olive's Fig Gorgonzola Tartlet
nWhat's in it? Prosciutto, fig, walnut, arugula, and tomato on a think puff pastry.
nSuggested pairing: A nice glass of Pinot Noir or something light during summer like Chardonnay.n
nChef Pascal Lorange says: "It is a great dish for summer -- very light and fresh. The prosciutto is from Spain and Gorgonzola from Italy. This is one of the most, if not the most, popular items on the menu!"n
nFig & Olive>, 104 East Oak St, 312-445-0060, @FIGandOLIVE_USA
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LUXBAR's P.E.I. Mussels
nWhat's in it? White wine, fennel-shellfish broth, espelette, oven dried sun gold tomatoes, fennel, parsley and fennel pollen.
How much is it? $12.75
nSuggested pairing: 2012 Mas Grand Plagniol Costieres-de-Nimes Blanc (Rhone Blend: 50% Roussanne, 40% Grenache Blanc, 10% Viognier). This wine works well with this traditional style mussels dish, because of its simplicity, balance and fresh lemon notes. It has a slightly floral nose with a mouth-coating texture and decent minerality.n
nExecutive Chef Shaun Connolly says: "Our guests enjoy our P.E.I. Mussels, as they are a light, yet satisfying starter and perfect for sharing. There's nothing better than sitting over a pot of delicious food with friends and family. Especially now that it's patio season!"
nLUXBAR, 18 E. Bellevue, (312)642-3400, @LUXBARChicago
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Quartinos' Knife Cut Artisan Italian Sausage
nWhat's in it? served with Roasted Bell Peppers & Onions, Garlic and Olive Oil. This sausage is made without any machinery, with pork cut BY HAND. It's part of the new collection of nine Salumi Artiginale (all made in-house).
nSuggested pairing: Prosecco, Lambrusco, Pinot Grigio or any aromatic dry Italian white wine. Another surprising pairing for this would be the Carpene Malvoti Prosecco Rose, found on the menu at Quartino. It’s light aromatic qualities, and effervescence lend themselves perfectly to this artisan dish.
nExecutive Chef John Coletta says cutting the pork by hand not only makes the sausage TASTE even more spectacular, it also pays real homage to his family recipe.n
nQuartinos, 626 N. State St., (312) 698-5000 @QuartinoChicago
Gibsons' 42 Chop
nWhat's in it? 32 ounces of dry-aged Gibsons USDA Prime Angus. The chop is brushed with corn oil, seasoned generously with Gibsons roasting salt and placed in the broiler at 1800 degrees.
nSuggested pairing: Gibsons recommends their Gibsons Reserve Cabernet, which was blended and developed exclusively for and by Gibsons Restaurant Group. It's an excellent match with the Gibsons 42 Chop, with bright notes of black plum, bright cherry and currant. The supple tannins in this 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec blend are perfectly complemented and softened by the plentiful marbling in the steak. ($19/glass, $77/bottle; the bottle will be offered for $25 throughout the "25 Days of Gibsons": March 27 - April 21)
nHow much is it? $99 (will be a permanent fixture on the menu starting April 21; it will be $25 in honor of Gibsons Silver Anniversary on April 21 only)
nExecutive Chef Randy Waidner says: "We feel the Gibsons 42 Chop is the ultimate expression of our core values at Gibsons Restaurant Group: quality, value and long lasting sustainability. It was chosen for its depth of flavor, impressive plate presence and unmatched value."
nGibsons, Chicago, Oak Brook and Rosemont locations, @GibsonsSteak
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Links TapRoom's Brunch You In The Fry
nWhat's in it? Handcut fries topped with tarragon pork, mushroom & goat cheese gravy, and roasted red peppers.
nSuggested pairing: Owner/beer director Michael Quinlan suggests the Half Acre Over Ale which is currently on draft at Links ($6 for a 16oz pour and $4 for a 9oz pour). "Like the Brunch You In The Fry, Half Acre Over Ale places a unique spin on traditional style. Over Ale features tasting notes of a Brown Ale style such as dark chocolate, toffee, and bready flavors that all complement the dish. Also, you get a steady burst of slightly piney hop flavor from the Over Ale that pairs well with the tarragon pork and helps cut thru the fat and richness of the mushroom and goat cheese gravy."
nHow much is it? $8
nAdditional: It's built to share among a group of people and is available during brunch at Links each weekend (11:30am-3pm SAT, 10:30am-3pm SUN).
nLinks TapRoom, 1559 N. Milwaukee Ave, (773) 360-7692, @LinksTaproom
HughE Dillon
Quince's Duck
nWhat's in it? Paired with celery root, turnip, salsify, brioche, quince and truffle.
nSuggested pairing: Wine Director Scott Quint suggests the 2009 St. Gregory Pinot Noir (Mendocino, CA) ($13 glass). "This Pinot is light and pretty. It hits nice, smoky notes (brioche, curry) and complements the earthy salsify and sweet quince mousse."
nHow much is it? $29
nExecutive Chef Andy Motto says: "In many ways, the duck dish is a reflection of the dining room at Quince. Our crackling, wood burning fireplace was the inspiration for the toasted cinnamon brioche purée. The delicate, light pink quince mousse is reminiscent of the room's subtle colors. Overall, the dish is warm, inviting and beautiful, just like Quince."
nQuince at the Homestead, 1625 Hinman Ave #102, Evanston, IL (847) 570-8400, @quince_evanston
HughE Dillon
Cichetti's Saffron Risotto
nWhat's in it? Melted Leeks, Fried Farm Egg, Saffron, Butter, Onion, and Parmesan Cheese
nSuggested pairing: The Cidre Nouveau from Virtue Cider is a light, dry beverage with no residual sweetness and the right amount of acidity -- not too overpowering.
nHow much is it? $14
nChef Michael Sheerin says: "It's a really simple but delicious, satisfying dish."
nCichetti, 671 N St Clair St, (312) 642-1800, @CicchettiChi
HughE Dillon
Takito Kitchen's Roasted Winter Squash
nWhat's in it? The squash is served with black beans, smoked pork belly, pepitas and Urban Till cilantro.
nSuggested pairing: Caliente Margarita or 5 Vulture beer
nHow much is it? $6.50
nChef David Dworshak says: "I like this dish because it represents the change from summer to fall. This dish is the three sisters garden on a plate, which is a gardening technique of planting corn, beans and squash together so their growth characteristics benefit each other. By using a kimchi pickling method, I can serve summer corn and winter squash on the same plate."
nTakito Kitchen, 2013 W. Division (773) 687-9620, @takitokitchen
Bistronomic's PEI Black Mussels
nWhat's in it? The dish is prepared with a basil puree, piquillo peppers, and served with baguette croutons.
nSuggested pairing: Domaine de la Quilla Muscadet Loire Valley 2011
nHow much is it? $15
nChef Martial Noguier says: "The mussels is a good dish to share with the table. People love putting the warm bread to soak up the garlic broth. It's a dish that's good year-round during any season."
nBistronomic, 840 N. Wabash (312) 944-8400
HughE Dillon
State and Lake's Seared Whitefish
nWhat's in it? Lunch -- Wild Lake Superior White fish, smoked tomato aioli, pumpernickel oat roll
nDinner -- Pan Seared Wild Lake Superior Whitefish, Sunchoke Lyonnais ( root of a sunflower, sliced thin and butter braised with onions and thyme) garnished with oil cured olives and wild arugula peston
nSuggested pairing: Lunch -- Great Lakes Edmond Fitzgerald Stout
nDinner -- Newton unfiltered Chardonnayn
nHow much is it?$13 at lunch and $22 for dinner.
nChef Evan Percoco says: "The sweet flaky and mild white flesh of the wild lake Superior Whitefish make it an ideal ingredient due to its versatility. Its sweetness is a perfect vehicle for acidic flavors."
nState and Lake, 201 N State St, (312) 239-9400, Twitter: @theWitChicago
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Cantina Laredo's Torta de Carnitas
nWhat's in it? Griddle baked sandwich with slow-roasted pork, fried egg, apricot spread and goat cheese.n
nSuggested pairing: Passion Fruit Rita - Herradura Silver Tequila, passion fruit syrup, fresh lime $11.75
nHow much is it? $13.99
nChef de Cuisine Kennon Reed says: "Torta de Carnitas is a great addition to our new summer menu. This delicious dish features slow roasted pork, house made apricot jam, goat cheese and two fried eggs on a toasted bolillo and is available during lunch, dinner and weekend brunch."
nCantina Laredo, 508 N State St, (312) 955-0014, Twitter: @CantinaCHI
WAVE's Alaskan Halibut
nWhat's in it? The halibut is pan roasted and served over a bed of fregola sarda with soffritto, lemon zest, and herbs. Artichokes are served over the top of the fish and five littleneck clams are served around the fish. The clams are cooked with white wine, shallots, garlic, butter, lemon juice, and parsley. The cooking liquid from the clams forms the sauce for the dish.n
nSuggested pairing: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris
nHow much is it? $29
nExecutive Chef Greg Elliot says: "Fregola goes really well with clams and the artichokes were a natural seasonal fit to accompany the halibut, which is a great springtime fish. There is some nice spice from the calabrian chili in the soffritto that goes into the fregola, and the sauce brings some nice acidity from the cooking liquid from the littleneck clams. The clams are cooked with wine wine, shallots and garlic, and then finished with a little lemon juice and fresh parsley."
nWAVE, 644 N Lake Shore Dr, (312) 255-4460 , Twitter: @waverestaurant
Tatiana Walk-Morris
Baker & Nosh's Grilled Ribeye Sandwich
nWhat's in it? The grilled ribeye is seasoned with salt and pepper only. Once it's grilled it gets painted with house-made chimichurri (parsley, garlic, red chili, apple cider vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil) and topped with arugula. It is served on fresh Ciabatta baked that day.n
nSuggested pairing: Mango Arnold Palmer - mango iced tea and fresh squeezed lemonade.
nHow much is it? $10
nBaker/Owner Bill Millholland says: "I wanted to include a grilled ribeye sandwich on the summer menu purely for nostalgic reasons. When I was growing up in Indiana, my mom would take me to a local grocery store called O'Malia's and the butcher would be outside doing the same thing all summer long -- cooking ribeye steaks to order for shoppers and enticing them with the smell of grilled meat. I thought it would be a unique addition to a neighborhood bakery in Uptown."
nBaker & Nosh, 1303 W Wilson Ave, 773-989-7393, Twitter: @bakernosh
Tatiana Walk-Morris
Ferris & Jack's Sausage Trio
nWhat's in it? A Polish sausage topped with Red Dragon whole grain mustard cheddar and grilled Spanish onions, a Sheoygan Bratwurst topped with house made sauerkraut and whole grain mustard and a Chicago hot dog with Spanish onions, dill relish, diced tomatoes, pepperoncini, and yellow mustard. All are served on brioche buns.
nSuggested pairings: Guests can pair with a beer flight featuring Goose Island 312, Bell's Oberon and Perennial Saison de Lis.
nHow much is it? $10
nGM Stephen Ellingson says: "The sausage trio is our homage to classic Midwest sausages. The Polish sausage and bratwurst are made specifically for us by our friends at Slagel Family Farms which helps tie us back to our Midwest roots even more so."
nFerris & Jack, 166 East Superior St, 312.787.6000
Sullivan's Steakhouse's Porcini-Shallot Crusted Strip
nWhat's in it? 6-ounce Strip steak with a porcini and shallot crust, served over horseradish mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach, then finished with a traditional bordelaise.n
nSuggested pairings: Sullivan's Steakhouse Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($55), Duckhorn Merlot ($78), Three Sticks Pinot Noir ($129)
nHow much is it? $22
nExecutive Chef Jesus Garcia says: "It’s all about combining flavors. When we encrust our perfectly seasoned steaks with fresh shallots, dried mustard and porcini mushroom dust, the aromas are powerful. Everything that goes into this dish helps me exceed the expectations of my guests. And when they’re happy, I’m happy."
nSullivan's Steakhouse, 415 N. Dearborn Ave., (312) 527-3510, @SullivansSteak
HughE Dillon
Baume & Brix's Steak Frites
nWhat's in it? Flat iron steak, hand cut fries, fried egg and bacon Bernaise (a classic sauce made with egg yolks, shallots, vinegar, butter, chervil and tarragon). The chefs substitute out some of the butter weight for bacon fat. During lunch, it's served alongside a watermelon radish and arugula salad along side the dish.
nSuggested pairings: 2009 Clos du Gravillas Cabernet/Syrah blend, which is rich and spicy with black currant and enough weight to hold up to the steak.
nHow much is it? $22
nExecutive Chef Thomas Bowman says: "It is kind of the everyman's meal. When you have a great steak, hand cut fries and an amazing sauce, what's not to love?"
nBaume & Brix, 351 W Hubbard St,(312) 321-0351, @BaumeBrixChi
Tatiana Walk-Morris
Bakersfield's Ultimate Umami Burger
nWhat's in it? Grass-fed beef patty, roasted tomato, shiitake marmalade, Parmigiano-Reggiano crisp. Prepared on Bakersfield's signature wood-fired grill with hickory and oak. The Ultimate Umami is served with the choice of frites, petite greens, Kennebec chips or seasonal vegetable.n
nSommelier Todd Hoffman's suggested pairings: New World -- Stickybeak Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, California
nOld World -- Vajra Barbera d'Alba, Piedmont, Italy, 2010
nBeer --Any Belgian-style Ale, Amber Ale, or Pilsnern
nHow much is it? Ordinarily $13 at lunch, it's $7 During May's National Hamburger Month promotion.
nChef Frank Mnuk says: "I wanted an awesome burger loaded with ingredients that really drive home what 'umami' is all about. Umami is one of the five basic tastes, best described in English as 'savory.' I you didn't know what umami was before, you'll know after eating The Ultimate Umami Burger."
nBakersfield, 330 E. Ogden Ave., Westmont, IL. (630) 568-3615, @WoodFiredGrill
Tatiana Walk-Morris
III Forks Steakhouse and Seafood's Caprese Salad
nWhat's in it? Heirloom tomatoes with Burratta, balsamic glaze and micro basil, available on the new Rooftop Menu.n
nSuggested pairing: Alderbrook Russian River Chardonnayn
nHow much is it? $9.95
nExecutive Sous Chef Andrea Williams says: "I choose the finest, and most flavorful ingredients to represent a Caprese Salad. With Heirlooms just coming into season, and Burratta's creamy texture, it's the perfect summer salad to savor on our rooftop."
nIII Forks Steakhouse and Seafood, 180 N. Field Blvd., Chicago, IL, (312) 938-4303, @IIIForksChicago
The Signature Room at the 95th's Chorizo Stuffed Pork Chop
nWhat's in it? Pork chop is stuffed with chorizo and served with whipped potatoes, roasted corn relish and ancho sauce.n
nSuggested pairing: Goose Island Honkersn
nHow much is it? $37.95
nExecutive Chef Rosalia Barron says: "The combination of the mild spice in the chorizo and ancho pepper, the freshness of the corn relish, and the tenderness of the pork create the perfect bite. The dish is an example of the global cuisine that can be found throughout the menu."
nThe Signature Room at the 95th, 875 N. Michigan Ave., 312.787.9596, Twitter
HughE Dillon
Mon Ami Gabi's Lamb T-Bones
nWhat's in it? Two Lamb T-bones marinated in garlic and herbs, grilled, and served with a ratatouille of eggplant, zucchini, squash and tomatoes, and finished with a traditional sauce vert.n
nSuggested pairing: 2008 Chateau Laronde Desormes, BORDEAUX SUPÉRIEUR
nHow much is it? $37.95
nChef/Partner Susan Weaver says: "This flavorful lamb dish is the ultimate embodiment of spring. The herbaceous marinade and brightly-flavored sauce vert perfectly complement the mild, tender meat, and contrast with the traditional ratatouille of seasonal vegetables. This is a fresh and satisfying dish I think people will really enjoy."nMon Ami Gabi, Lincoln Park | Oak Brook
Tatiana Walk-Morris
bel50's Short Rib Benedict
nWhat's in it? Short Rib Benedict with poached egg and horseradish hollandaisen
nSuggested pairing: Intelligentsia Coffee available for just $.99 every weekday until 10 a.m.
nHow much is it? $7.95
nChef Brad says: "Since opening last November, our gourmet waffle sandwiches have become our staple, but now that we're open seven days a week for breakfast, we wanted to expand our menu to include other breakfast favorites like our Short Rib Benedict, Denver Omelette and Chicken Chilaquiles." BEL 50, 738 N. Clark, (312) 496-3948 Twitter: @bel50chi
HughE Dillon
e+o's Chilean Sea Bass
nWhat's in it? Chilean sea bass, carrots, mison
nSuggested pairing: A dry white wine pairs well with this dish, chef's personal preference is a Gruner Veltliner.
nHow much is it? $32
nChef Rodelio Aglibot says: "This is one of my most personal dishes; the inspiration goes back to 1993 as a culinary student in San Francisco when I was introduced to Indian cuisine and its techniques. I researched Indian tandoori recipes and ultimately created a malay rub (made with grated carrots, lemongrass, miso and Chinese parsley). I showcased this dish at my second James Beard Dinner and it was a huge success. It’s now my most requested dish."ne+o, 125 Randhurst Village Dr, Mount Prospect (847) 398-3636nTwitter: @eo_restaurant.
bellyQ's Thai Style Fried Chicken
nWhat's in it? The chicken itself is cooked with vapor to keep it moist and cook evenly before it is triple battered and fried for the perfect crisp. After it gets a good crunchy coating, the chicken is tossed in Chef Kim's sweet chili Thai sauce, plated and topped with scallions.n
nSuggested pairing: Boulevard Tank 7 or other lighter ales, such as Sorachi Ace by Brooklyn or Three Floyd’s Gumballhead. Riesling or a Junmai style sake go well with the dish also.
nHow much is it? $9 Dinner, $5 Lunch
nbellyQ, 1400 W. Randolph, (312) 563-1010nTwitter: @bellyQchicago.
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Poag Mahones' Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce
nWhat's in it? Four slices of pan crisped bread pudding enhanced with golden raisins, vanilla and cinnamon and topped with fresh hand whipped cream and Jim Beam whiskey sauce. Extra whiskey sauce served on the side. It’s THAT good.n
nSuggested pairing: Poag’s Irish Coffee made with Bushmills Irish Whiskey $5
nHow much is it? $9 for a full order (4 slices), $6 for a half order (2 slices).
nExecutive Chef Gretchen Hollen says: "Our bread pudding is a hidden gem at Poag Mahone's. One bite is never enough and the whiskey sauce is so good we’ve considered carding people who order it!"
nPoag Mahones, 333 South Wells, 312-566-9100nTwitter: @poagmahone. MENU
Jellyfish's Rocco Taco
nWhat's in it? Hamachi-style tartare made with avocado, rayu (chili sesame oil), ponzu, fresno peppers, red onion, red radish, cilantro and wonton chips as a toast point.n
nSuggested pairing: Jellyfish’s signature cocktail, The Corsage, a play on the classic champagne cocktail.
nHow much is it? $16
nChef Harold Jurado says: "With the clean flavor of Hamachi, I knew I needed to pair subtle textures and flavors that are creamy, spicy and a touch of sweet and citrus. And what better way for all of that to travel then in a crispy wonton shell."
nJellyfish, 1009 N. Rush St, (312) 660-3111.nTwitter: @jellyfishOne11. DINNER MENU
Tatiana Walk-Morris
Joe's Stone Crab's Beef Tournedos Rossini
nWhat's in it? A 6 Oz Filet Mignon topped with seared foie gras and shaved black truffles, finished with brandy bordelaise sauce.n
nSuggested pairing: 2007 Col Solare, Columbia Valley, WA
nHow much is it? $32.95
nExecutive Chef Gary Baca says: "We prepare our Beef Rossini like our signature steaks and then slice it to play off of the classic preparation of the tournedos."
nJoe's Stone Crab, 60 E Grand Ave, (312) 379-5637.nTwitter: @joeschicago. FULL MENU
Tatiana Walk-Morris
Paris Club's Spice Roasted Duck
nWhat's in it? Peking Duck poached in a soy sauce broth and roasted until tender and crispy. Finished with a classic l’orange sauce and served sliced alongside our housemade crepes and julienne vegetables.n
nSuggested pairing from sommelier Ryan Arnold: "The Klipfel Gewurtzraminer, which has plenty of texture, moderate acidity and a classic dry spice finish. The wine is a total complement to Chef Alex's creation, as it softens the spiciness of the vegetables and harmonizes beautifully with the rich flavor of the duck."
nHow much is it? $24.95
nExecutive Chef Alex Ageneau says: "Our Spice-Roasted Duck is exquisite. Served as our Thursday Plat du Jour, it's a modern take on the traditional French l’orange dish with an Asian infusion."
nParis Club 59 W Hubbard, 312-595-0800.nTwitter: @parisclubchi.
Courtesy Belvedere, Flint families
Wickets Bar and Grill's South of the Border Burger
nWhat's in it? 1/2 lb of our private blend of meat (From: Northwest Meat Co. Chicago), oven fired poblano pepper, monterey jack cheese and house made pico de gallo.n
nSuggested Pairing: Victoria Beer, Imported from Mexico
nHow much is it? $10
nChef Jorge Garcia says: "The richness of the meat along with the roasted flavor of the poblano pepper and the cool taste of the pico de gallo give you three distinct flavors and textures in one burger."
nWickets Bar and Grill, Located in the Streets of Woodfield, Schaumburg, 847-619-1400.nTwitter: @wicketsbargrill .
RPM Italian's Mediterranean Octopus
nWhat's in it? Wood Grilled Octopus, Chickpea, Celery, Arugulan
nSuggested Pairing: Vietti, "Tre Vigne," Barbera d'Asti 2010
nHow much is it? $15
nChef Partner Doug Psaltis says: "There is nothing I enjoy more than the smoky grilled octopus paired with chickpeas, crunchy celery and a spicy chili oil."
nRPM Italian, 52 West Illinois St, (312) 222-1888 Twitter: @RPMItalianChi .
Tatiana Walk-Morris
Weathermark Tavern's This Little Piggy
nWhat's in it? 1/2 Pound Angus Burger is grilled how you like it, then topped with a mound of our Sweet & Tangy BBQ Pulled Pork and finished with Homemade Red Cabbage Slaw.n
nSuggested Pairing: Three Floyds Zombie Dust (3 Floyd's Zombie Dust to pair with. It is a medium bodied single hop pale ale showcasing Citra hop from the Yakima Valley, USA)
nHow much is it? $12.50
nChef Jake Lickteig says: "For something with the word 'Little' in the title, this burger is BIG on flavor. We serve it with a steak knife so you have a fighting chance to get all of the different components in one bite. Just be sure to ask for extra napkins, unless you are like me and plan on licking your fingers clean."
nWeathermark Tavern, 1505 S Michigan Ave, (630) 588-0320 Twitter: @WeatherMarkTav .
Corpse Flower
Bakersfield's Fried Oreos
nExecutive Chef Brian Wright says: "Our Fried Oreos are dipped in a housemade waffle batter and deep fried to light golden brown. The result is a pillowy, beignet-like fried Oreo served with house-made chocolate sauce, house-made vanilla custard, and local vanilla bean ice cream from Bobtail Ice Cream Company in Chicago."
nSuggested Pairing: Tenuta Santome Prosecco Extra Dry, Treviso, Italy $9 glass/$36 bottle
nHow much is it? $7
nBakersfield, 330 E. Ogden Avenue, Westmont, IL, (630) 568-3615 Twitter: @WoodFiredGrill .
Tatiana Walk-Morris
Untitled's Chocolate Fudge Mousse
nPastry Chef Hetty Arts says: "A wonderfully balanced combination of smooth 35 percent chocolate and crisp roasted cashews."
nSuggested Pairing: Orin Swift "Saldo", Zinfandel, 2009, Napa Valley, California. A red blend with aromas and flavors of dark cherry, baking spice, and chocolate.
nHow much is it? $10
nUntitled, 111 West Kinzie,n312-880-1511, Twitter: @UntitledChicago . FULL MENU
Tatiana Walk-Morris
Cru Café and Wine Bar's Sautéed Whitefish and Butter Poached Lobster
nBasic Ingredients: Served with pumpkin dumplings, brussels sprout leaves and lobster red wine reduction.
nChef Bernie Laskowski says: "Lobster makes everything taste better. The crispy skin on the white fish is a great accent to the delicate nature of the fish."
nSuggested Pairing: Red wine would complement this well, as it is delicate enough for a dryer softer red and bold enough from a big California cabernet.
nHow much is it? $24
nCru Café and Wine Bar, 25 East Delaware Place ,n(312) 337-4001, Twitter: @CruCafeWineBar . FULL MENU
People Lounge's Gypsy Skillet
nBasic Ingredients: Boar bacon, quail eggs, bell peppers, russet potato hash, aged manchego cheese, truffle oil. Available during weekend brunch, Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
nChef Ralph Steinberg says: "As a child my favorite breakfast to eat with my father was the gypsy skillet. For our brunch menu I have chosen to include a miniature version (since we are a tapas restaurant) using the big flavors of the boar bacon and quail eggs. The acidity in a mimosa offers a nice balance to the richness of the skillet."
nSuggested Pairing: Cocktail Trio: Sangria, Mimosa or Cava (choose any three with the purchase of entree) $10
nHow much is it? $9
nPeople Lounge, 1560 North Milwaukee Ave,n(773) 227-9339, Twitter: @PeopleLounge .
Markethouse's Heirloom Squash Risotto
nBasic Ingredients: Lobster and chanterelle mushrooms, wild rocket, sage, sheep parmesan, and brown butter.
nExecutive Chef Scott Walton says: "Our squash risotto looks and tastes rich, but I hardly use any cream or butter. Instead, I puree the squash for that creaminess to give the dish a rich, deep flavor without all of the unnecessary fat. You won't even miss it."
nSuggested Pairing: Chardonnay
nHow much is it? $23
nMarkethouse, 611 North Fairbanks Court,n(312) 224-2200, Twitter: @Markethouse . FULL MENU
ZED451's Buffalo Chicken and Waffles
nBasic Ingredients: Buttermilk Belgian style waffles, crunchy buffalo fried chicken tossed in honey buffalo sauce, drizzled with maple syrup and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
nChef Curtis Hawk says: "This is a Southern classic. One of my personal favorites. Putting buffalo chicken on top of a waffle was like the first time someone put bacon on a cheeseburger!"
nSuggested Pairing: ZED Bloody Mary (Maple Cajun Bacon, Peppadew, Bread and Butter Pickle, and Basil-Garlic Gouda) $5
nHow much are they?$3 on the ala carte "Cravings menu" (available in the lounge). Included in ZED451's unlimited brunch sampling menu, $29 per person (available in the main dining room)nSaturday & Sunday 10am-2pm
nZED451, 739 North Clark St, (312) 266-6691, Twitter: @ZED451 . FULL MENU
Nacional 27's Tiny Tacos
nBasic Ingredients: Choose three types of tacos, ranging from queso pepper jack, mozzarella, roasted poblano to bbq’d lamb organic agave, avocado salsa.
nExecutive Chef Chico Vilchez: "It's nice to create interesting flavor combinations in such a small package, such as the pork adobado with chicharones. The lamb taco is our most popular and we think is interesting because it features a protein that many people are not accustomed to."
nSuggested Pairing from mixologist Liz Samples: It's perfectly paired with one of our seasonal margaritas $13 (currently watermelon, herradura silver, rhum creole clement, hibiscus-lime agave, lime juice). It's got the right amount of acidity and sweetness to allow you to enjoy the flavors of our tacos.
nHow much are they? Normally $4.95 each, they're half-priced from 5-7 p.m. M-F.
nNacional 27, 325 West Huron St,n(312) 664-2727, Twitter: <a href="Nacional 27" target="blank">@Nacional27. FULL MENU
Libertad's Calabaza Risotto
nBasic Ingredients: Calabaza acorn squash, wild mushroom risotto, chile de rbol, truffle oil.
nChef Armando Gonzalez says: "The flavors are perfect for fall especially with the kick you get from the chile de arbol."
nSuggested Pairing: The Smoked Passion cocktail at Libertad which includes el malpaís mescal, yuzu juice, passion fruit.
nHow much is it? $14
nLibertad, 7931 Lincoln Avenue Skokie, (847) 674-8100, Twitter: <a href="Libertad" target="blank">@libertad7931. FULL MENU
Dawn Penny Russell
Fish Bar's Maine Lobster Roll with Celery Mayo
nChef Michael Kornick says: "It's next best thing to dying on the vineyard!"
nSuggested Pairing: Ommegang White which is a mellow Belgian-style wheat brew that has whispers of sweet orange and a touch of tart lemon.
nHow much is it? Market Price
nFish Bar, 2956 N Sheffield, 773) 687-8177 , Twitter: @fishbarchicago. FULL MENU
Kit Kat's Mae West Chicken & Waffles
nWhat's in it? "Our authentic, southern-style fried chicken is served with braised collard greens, banana horseradish puree and cayenne maple glazed waffle. It is one of our most popular dishes at Kit Kat. The key to this fabulous dish is that the chicken is marinated in buttermilk for 24 hours." -- Proprietor Edward Gisigern
nSuggested Pairing: Brut sparkling wine
nHow much is it? $12.95 includes glass of bubbly
nAvailable Tuesdays from 5:30p.m.-2a.m.n
nKit Kat Lounge & Supper Club , 3700 N. Halsted , 773.525.1111, Twitter: @KitkatLounge. FULL MENUS
Dawn Penny Russell
Sullivan’s Steakhouse’s Sweet Corn & Lobster Bread Pudding
nWhat's in it? Sourdough bread pudding is topped with a sweet corn lobster salad that has been simply dressed with a light cider vinaigrette, basil, salt and pepper.n
nSuggested Pairing: Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches 2010 Chardonnay
nHow much is it? $17
nGM Keith Sansone says: "We are thrilled to debut the Sweet Corn & Lobster Bread Pudding as one of two special harvest offerings at Sullivan’s. This is our take on a savory bread pudding – made with freshly shucked corn and tender lobster meat, a warm yet refreshing dish that reflects the best of Chicago’s harvest. It is only available through the end of September.”n
nSullivan’s, 415 North Dearborn, (312) 527-3510, Twitter: @sullivanssteak. FULL MENUS
What is it? "Jenny's Fave," a stuffed apple pie that will be available in every Chicagoland Giordano’s location from September 15 through December 31.n
nInspiration? Jenny McCarthy has been a longtime fan of Giordano’s stuffed pizzas, even having them shipped out to LA. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Generation Rescue, McCarthy's autism charity.n
nHow much is it? Dine-in (served with vanilla ice cream for $9.95), or it can be boxed up and taken home (without ice cream for $8.95).
Bar Umbriago’s Breakfast Pizza
nWhat's in it? Napolitano style pizza dough topped with mascarpone cheese, caramelized onions and bacon lardons and topped with a fried egg.n
nSuggested Pairing: Build Your Own Bloody Mary for $8. "The tomato juice-based cocktail complements the pizza."
nHow much is it? $10
nChef Michael Ponzio says: "The breakfast pizza is a fun twist on breakfast. It is very popular with our diners because several people at a table can share it.n
nBar Umbriago, 6 W Hubbard, (312) 494-1200, Twitter: @Bar_Umbriago. FULL MENU
Joe’s Stone Crab’s Grilled Tomatoes
nWhat's in it? Thick, ripe slices of beefsteak tomatoes, topped with rich creamed spinach and shredded Dorman's American cheese. Just a few minutes under the broiler and these tomatoes come out cheesy, bubbly, and perfect for serving as a side or an appetizer.n
nSuggested Pairing: Domaine Chandon Etoile Rose
nHow much is it? $8.95
nExec. Chef Gary Baca says: "When you look at them and see the ingredients you think what's the big deal? But when you actually taste them -- amazing! It's so simple it's almost magical -- kind of like a BLT"n
nJoe’s Stone Crab, 60 East Grand Ave, (312) 379-5637, Twitter: @joeschicago
Urban Union's Malpeque Oysters
nWhat's in it? Oysters served in the half-shell with tobacco, lemon, house mignonette and cocktail sauce.
nSuggested Pairing: “These are clean, briny and salty from the sea water. A glass of Muscadet, dry and crisp with nice acidity, is the perfect wine for oyster pairing.” Chef Michael Shrader
nHow much is it? Market priced but $1 on Sundays
nUrban Union, 1421 West Taylor St, (312) 929-4302, Twitter: @UrbanUnionCHI
Trenchermen's Pickle Tots
nWhat's in it? Pickle tots with chicken breast bresaola, red onion yogurt and scallions.
nSuggested Pairing: Beverage Director Tona Palomino's Baby Momma cocktail, which is comprised of Damiana (an herbal-based liqueur made from the damiana herb that grows in Baja California, Mexico), yuzu, tonic, and burnt lemon.
nHow much is it? $11
nExec. Chef/Owner Pat Sheerin says: "The pickle tots were a conversation Mike and I had on the train one day. It started as a conversation about how to dehydrate pickles to season fries which moved to tots, then morphed into a conversation about fusing the idea of fried pickles and tater tots. It was very much along the lines of wanting to keep familiar flavors presented in an unfamiliar way. So the conversation continued to evolve: thinking about how to make the flavors of ranch more delicious is how the red onion yogurt came about; the dish needed some meat, and everyone always rails against boneless skinless chicken, so we really wanted to make it delicious. Curing and smoking it really intensifies the flavor and changes the texture into something that is better than what it was before."n
nTrenchermen, 2039 W. North Ave, 773-661-1540, Twitter: @Trenchermen
Fulton’s on the River's Lobster Thermidor
nWhat's in it? The Lobster Thermidor is served over steamed clams, mussels, artisan sausage and corn and topped with Béarnaise sauce.n
nSuggested Pairing: Wine -- Aria, Brut Cava, Pinot Noir Rose, Spain. Beer — Finch’s Beer Co., Cut Throat.
nHow much is it? $49.95
nChef Kevin Schultz says: "We've taken our popular clambake to the next level. Inspired by the classic Lobster Thermidor dish, we have created a delectable version that is sure to please all of our guests."n
nFulton’s on the River, 315 North LaSalle, 312.822.0100
Red Violet's Loup de Mere
nWhat's in it?Flash fried bass served with pepper sauce, shimeji mushrooms and pea sproutsn
nSuggested Pairing: Yuzu Kumquat Mojito: Halved fresh kumquats, mint leaves, Bacardi Limon, lime, yuzu honey, hints of oj, and club soda. It's refreshing, light, and not too sweet.
nHow much is it? $26
nChef Gene Kato says: "This is a light version of everything we love about Chinese cuisine - bold flavors, lots of texture contrast and most important-the char flavor that comes with using a wok."n
nRed Violet, 121 W Hubbard St., 312.828.0222
Epic's Seared Scallopsn
nWhat's in it? Pan roasted day boat scallops served with steamed bay carrots, fresh English peas, sweet pea ravioli filled with pureed peas-tarragon-lemon zest, and a rich lobster reduction saucen
nSuggested Pairing: Bieler rose, $10/glassn
nHow much is it? $29
nExecutive Chef Mark Pollard says: "I created this dish to celebrate summer. It's also a play on the classic combination of peas and carrots."n
nEpic, 112 W Hubbard St., 312.222.4940 Twitter: @epicrestaurant
David Burke's Primehouse's Caesarista
nWhat is it? Lunch time tableside Caesar salad service with a specially-trained Caesar barista.
nWhat's in it? Three versions are available, including Classic (standard selection of proteins such as grilled chicken, shrimp, grilled filet or seared ahi tuna), Creative (luxury toppings such as butter-poached lobster, smoked salmon or crab cake croutons) and Crazy (smoked Rocky Mountain oysters or foie gras).n
nSpecial event: Executive Chef Rick Gresh and David Burke will be mixing up Caesars tableside on July 31 to introduce the new Caesar toppings.
nDavid Burke's Primehouse, 616 North Rush St, (312) 660-6000. Twitter: @DBPrimehouse
Mercat a la Planxa's Gazpacho Con Cangrejon
nWhat's in it? A saffron-infused yellow heirloom tomato gazpacho with jumbo lump crab, caviar and saffron aioli.n
nSuggested Pairing: 2010 Martin Codax Albarinon
nHow much is it? $14
nChef de Cuisine Cory Morris says: "Gazpacho is the perfect summertime dish and our Gazpacho con Cangrejo has a hint of Spain. We use saffron to give it that Spanish flavor and vibrant color, crab to add a touch of creaminess to cut into the acidity of the tomato and, of course, caviar for an elegant touch."n
nMercat a la Planxa, 638 S. Michigan Ave., 312.765.0524 Twitter: @MercatChicago
Mercadito's Tacos de Canasta n
nWhat's in it? This Sunday-only special is inspired by Mexican street food tacos, these tortillas are lightly fried in oil and available with fillings such as park carnitas, steak barbacoa, herb-marinated chicken, hongos or wild mushrooms. The tacos are accompanied by cabbage, which adds texture and acidity, black beans, roasted tomatillo salso, crema fresca and cheese.
nHow much is it? Four tacos for $15.50
nExecutive Chef Patricio Sandoval says: "I grew up going to the markets with my mom and grandmother and there was always a line for the tacos de canasta. You never know what you're going to get from the basket or the intensity of the flavors, but they're always delicious."
nMercadito, 108 W. Kinzie, (312)329-9555 Twitter: @MercaditoCHI
The Florentine's Grilled Polenta n
nWhat's in it? Polenta, mushrooms, radicchio and gorgonzola
nSuggested Pairing: Nebbiolo/Merlot Blend, Nino Negri "Quadrio," 2008 from Lombardia
nHow much is it? $7
nExecutive Chef Chris Macchia says: "This dish is a play on a dish I had while traveling in Italy. Polenta is usually served as an antipasto, but I thought it made more sense on our new dinner menu as a contorni. Gorgonzola and mushrooms are a natural pairing and the julienned radicchio tossed in aged balsamic adds texture and bitterness to balance the richness of the cheese."n
nThe Florentine, 151 West Adams St., (312)660-8866. Twitter: @FlorentineResto
Whole Food's Un-Beetable Beet Burger with Sweet Potato Fries n
nWhat's in it? Healthy burger comes with Edamame Guacamole, Red Chili Sauce, and a Watermelon Refresher.n
nSuggested Pairing: Teas' Tea Unsweetened Jasmine Green Tea (available in refrigerated section)
nHow much is it? $7.99 at Whole Foods Market, Lincoln Park location.
nWellness Club Chef Katie Simmons says: "Roasted beets and Creole seasoning flavor this hearty, satisfying burger. Sweet potato fries are roasted with a fiery Mexican spice blend, perfect for dipping in cool edamame guacamole. By using contrasting flavors, a variety of textures, and alluring colors, eating healthy is both easy and delicious. Who knew eating plants could taste so good?"n
nWhole Food, 1550 N. Kingsbury St, 312-202-6444
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Stout Barrel House & Galley's Stout Burger n
nWhat's in it? 80/20 choice ground chuck burger patty, topped with grated Milton Creamery (Milton, IA), Prairie Breeze white cheddar, arugula tossed in a lemon vinaigrette dressing, dijon aioli, on a brioche burger bun.n
nSuggested Pairing: North Coast "Old Rasputin" Stout (Ft. Bragg, CA) 9.0abv
nHow much is it? $15. Price with Egg, $17
nExecutive Chef Chris Curren says: "We wanted to make a simple yet elegant burger that would showcase each components flavors individually, but that would also meld well together. There are a number of different flavor profiles that balance the overall burger very well. People love it and that is really all that matters."n
nStout Barrel House & Galley, 642 North Clark St, Twitter: @StoutChicago.
I Dream of Falafel's Sweet Potato Falafel Wrap n
nWhat's in it? A twist on the traditional falafel -- crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. This falafel is made with slow roasted sweet potatoes, organic chick peas cooked al-dente, combined with a medley of spices that includes cinnamon and brown sugar, served inside a laffa wrap.
nHow much is it? $6.25
nChef Henry Nuguid says: It was an idea that came to me during a brainstorming session to introduce new unqiue flavors to our restaurant. I have always been fond of complex, unexpected flavors working together in harmony and the falafel is so traditional and unique to Mediterranean cuisine, that changing it up was a quite a challenge. We tested out several recipes with sweet potatoes in the restaurant, and the customers just ate them up (literally!) and always came back for more. That's when I knew I had found the perfect combination and the sweet potato falafel became a staple on our menu.n
nI Dream of Falafel, 555 W. Monroe, 331 South Franklin, 112 W. Monroe, 312.379.5637 Twitter: @idreamoffalafel.
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Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab's Whole Roasted Turbot n
nWhat's in it? Whole roasted Turbot, filleted tableside and finished with Ligurian olive oil, Mediterranean capers, and lemon juice.
nHow much is it? $45.95
nSuggested Pairing: Chateau de Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc (Bin #295)n
nVP and Exec. Chef Gary Baca says: "This simple preparation embodies our philosophy at Joe's. We roast the fish whole in olive oil and prepare it with organic, Mediterranean capers, fresh herbs and lemon juice, which brings out the mild, clean flavors. The tableside presentation makes it perfect for sharing."n
nJoe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, 60 East Grand Avenue, 312.379.5637 Twitter: @joeschicago.
La Madia' Sardinian Flatbread Sandwich n
nWhat's in it? Prosciutto and burrata, arugula and market tomatoes.n
nHow much is it? $10
nSuggested Pairing: Tamellini, Soave Classico 09, Veneto, Italy. 4oz pour $5; 7oz pour $8n
nChef/owner Jonathan Fox says: Our Sardinian Flat Sandwiches feature our pizza crust, baked into crispy thin sandwich bread. This allows us to create a unique sandwich that focuses on the ingredients rather than a traditional higher ratio of bread. It is light and fresh!"n
nLa Madia, 59 West Grand Avenue, 312-329-0400 Twitter: @LaMadiaCHI.
AP Photo/Ted Kirk
2 Sparrows' Raspberry Nutella Pop Tart n
nWhat's in it? Housemade dough filled with nutella and topped with raspberry icing.
nExecutive Chef Gregory Ellis says: "The nutella pop tart reminds people of flavors that they have had when they were younger, so it's a great way for us to evoke nostalgic feelings when people eat it. Guests get excited about eating "kids food" as an adult, but what they are eating now is made with the best ingredients and care possible."n
nHow much is it? $4
nSuggested Pairing: Koval Lion's Pride Dark Wheat neat or on the rocks.n
n2 Sparrows, 553 W. Diversey, (773) 234-2320
RJ Grunts' Tuscan Burger n
nWhat's in it? Peppercorn burger patty topped with applewood smoked bacon, poached pear slices, baby arugula, Salemville gorgonzola cheese and roasted garlic mayo all on a buttered and toasted sesame seed bun. Created by Osteria via Stato’s Executive Chef David Degregorio in honor of National Burger Month
nGM Ron Forsman: “The pear and rich gorgonzola cheese give this burger a perfectly balanced sweet and savory flavor profile that will satisfy any craving”n
nHow much is it? $13.95
nSuggested Pairing: Goose Island Green Linen
nRJ Grunts, 2056 North Lincoln Park West, (773) 929-5363 Twitter: @rjgruntschicago.
Frontier's Gunthrop Farms Bone-in Pork Loinn
nWhat's in it? Served with Maple Tamarind Butter, Sweet Potato Gnocchi and Watercress Salad.The gnocchi is prepared in-house using a mixture of Yukon gold & sweet potatoes, cinnamon and nutmeg, and finished off with a sage-infused brown butter. The fresh watercress salad is drizzled with a mustard vinaigrette.
nExecutive Chef Brian Jupiter says: "Our 60 oz Pork Loin is butchered in-house, rubbed and marinated with a blend of oils and fresh herbs, grilled, and then finished off in the oven. This cooking process yields an unbelievably tasty, crispy, crackling outer skin which is then brushed with a tamarind butter, adding a perfectly tangy and sweet finish."n
nHow much is it? $90
nSuggested Pairing: "Chimay Blue Grand Reserve, Belgium (9% ABV, $165, 3L). With it's light creamy head, slight bitter taste, and considerable depth, this serves as the perfect complement to something as impressive and flavorful as this dish. Pop open one of these 3L bad boys and share the love."
nFrontier, 1072 North Milwaukee Avenue, (773) 772-4322 Twitter: @frontierchicago. MENU
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The Barrelhouse Flat's Guajillo Chickpea Frittern
nWhat's in it? House made pita, guajillo chickpea fritter, golden raisin and corriander chutney, herbs and annatto.
nChef Nick Hertel says: "This dish came together in about a day, we wanted to make everything from scratch including the pita. It was late winter so there was not much fresh seasonal produce, the guajillo and golden raisins proved to be perfect after being re-hydrated in flavorful stocks. We make a paste out of the guajillo and add it to the chickpeas, the coriander is toasted to bring out the essential oils then sauteed with shallots and added to the re-hydrated golden raisins."n
nHow much is it? $7
nSuggested Pairing: "Pillow Fight" Beefeater gin cocktail.n
nThe Barrelhouse Flat, 2624 N. Lincoln Ave, 773.857.0421 Twitter: @Barrelhouseflat
Marcus Riley
The Fifty/50's "Wobble Stopper" Bacon Bloody Maryn
nWhat's in it? Reyka Small Batch Vodka, housemade Bloody Mary mix, porter, and housemade BBQ spice rub. Garnished with a piece of house-smoked bacon, celery, green olive, lemon wedge, and lime wedge. Served in a pint glass rimmed with a dehydrated corn and cracked black pepper rim.
nCo-owner Greg Mohr says: "Bacon is my favorite food in the world, so when we opened The Fifty/50, we wanted to use a lot of bacon. But we just didn't want to stick a piece of bacon in a Bloody Mary though -- we wanted it to work with regards to a complete flavor profile. The bloody mix, porter, and the BBQ spices, and the corn rim really compliment the house-smoked bacon. It's by far our best selling specialty drink we do."n
nHow much is it? $8n
nThe Fifty/50, 2047 West Division St, (773) 489-5050 Twitter: @thefifty50
Zest Bistro's Berkshire Pork Chop
What's in it? Grilled Niman raised Berkshire Pork Chop, 24 hour Szechuan peppercorn & rosemary brine, wilted Tuscan kale & Niman Ranch bacon lardons with salt-roasted fingerling potatoes and apple mostarda veal demi.
Chef Tim Canning says: "With my Midwest upbringing this pork chop is always my 'go-to' dish. I like knowing where my meat comes from and that it was treated with extra care. The Szechuan peppercorn brine gives these chops nice subtle heat without being overpowering. Typically, I would pair mostarda with cheese (my favorite thing on Earth), however, in this application, I feel the mostarda works really well as it gives the dish more depth."
Suggested Pairing: Fiddlestix Pinot Noir
How much is it? $18
Zest Bistro at the Lemon Tree Grocer, 935 W. Burlington Ave, Downers Grove, IL, 630-969-9869 Twitter: @lemontreegrocer
M.J. Steakhouse's Killer B's Burger
What's in it? A bacon and blue cheese topped burger is sandwiched between two pieces of the restaurant's signature garlic bread. The entire burger is drizzled with blue cheese fondue and served alongside a bourbon milkshake.
Chef James O'Donnell says: " "I was joking around about how most chefs' favorite foods start with the letter "B". Beef, bacon, bourbon, blue cheese... And that led to what is now known as The Killer B's"."
Suggested Pairing: Bourbon Milkshake
How much is it? $19. Available after 10 p.m. at the bar on weekdays.
M.J. Steakhouse, 505 N. Michigan Avenue, 312.321.8823 Twitter: @MJSHChicago, Full Menus
Sullivan’s Steakhouse's Crab Cakesn
nWhat's in it? Fresh jumbo lump crabmeat is added to a sautéed mixture of onion, red pepper and celery, then finished by folding in fresh parsley and a bit of mayonnaise. Once baked, the crab cake is placed on a bed of sauce made of heavy cream, Cajun spices, Tabasco, Worcestershire Sauce and Garlic.
nChef Jim Teutemacher says: "We only began serving this new crab cake on April 1st. It's the first time in 12 years we’ve changed the recipe. The cake is delicious as ever, always baked and never fried, with a decadent mound of succulent crab meat and very little filler."n
nSuggested Pairing: Flora Springs Chardonnay ($10)
nHow much is it? $15n
nSullivan’s Steakhouse, 415 North Dearborn St, Twitter: @sullivanssteak, Full Menus
Le Colonial's Bo Luc Lacn
nWhat's in it? Salad of warm, seared filet mignon over watercress with red wine vinaigrette
nChef Chan Le says: "This dish literally translates into ‘shaking beef’ -- the shaking is tossing the beef in the wok side to side which gives the tenderloin it’s texture and the flavor is enhanced by the marinade of honey, garlic and pernod."n
nSuggested Pairing: Le Botanique (Gin, hum botanical spirit, house ginger syrup, ginger ale, lime juice, sugarcane and mint)
nHow much is it? $$13n
nLe Colonial, 937 N. Rush Street, Twitter: @lecolonialchi
Old Town Pour House's Bone-in Porkchopn
nWhat's in it? Bone-in pork chop with chipotle maple glaze served with potato puree, cinnamon spiced apples and topped with crispy buttermilk onion strings
nBottleneck Management Corporate Executive Chef Paul Katz says: "This dish has lots of flavors and textures that build upon each other for a WOW mouth feel!"n
nSuggested Pairing: Belgian ales
nHow much is it? $19n
nOld Town Pour House,1419 N. Wells Street, Twitter: @OTPourHouse
Rockit Burger Bar's Farmhouse Burgern
nWhat's in it? A black angus patty is topped with bbq pulled pork slowly braised in housemade bourbon bbq sauce, a fried egg and applewood smoked bacon.
nChef Amanda Downing says: "The Farmhouse Burger is loaded with lots of flavor and combines a ton of favorites –- all between a bun."n
nSuggested Pairing: Half Acre Daisy Cutter Pale Alen
nHow much is it? $12n
nRockit Burger Bar, 3700 N. Clark
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PL8 Simply Asian's Spicy Chili Fishn
nWhat's in it? Sliced marinated whitefish fillets, blackened chilies, snow peas, winter bamboo, button mushrooms, smoked organic tofu, wok cooked in a spicy chili sauce.
nChef Shawn Li says: "I re-interpreted this spicy dish from my heritage in the Sichuan Province, just like my mother used to make it. I finish the dish with fresh garlic and chilies and then hot Sichuan peppercorn oil is drizzled over the top hitting the garlic and chilies searing in the flavors. A true spice lover delight!"n
nSuggested Pairing: Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio from Alto Adige, Italyn
nHow much is it? $15n
nPL8 Simply Asian, @pl8simplyasian, 736 West Northwest Highway Barrington, IL 60010, (847) 382-1988
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SushiSamba Rio's Oysters Jalea n
nWhat's in it? Oysters are dusted with seasoned panko, lightly fried, topped with aji panca and red jalapeño and served in their shells on a bed of rock salt.
nChef Fernando Navas says: "Our Oysters Jalea takes the Peruvian Classic a step further. You have many flavors in one bite - but total balance. The spiciness and acidity of the Torrontes enhances the minerality of the oyster."
nSuggested Pairing: Torrontes, Susana Balbo Criosn
nHow much is it? $14n
nSushiSamba Rio, 504 North Wells St, (312) 595-2300
Potluck Creative
May Street Cafe's Bone in Pork Chopn
nWhat's in it? Pork chop is brined in a Carribean marinade for 24 hours then hand rubbed with our own blend of 5 peppercorn and coarse salt, dried herbs from May Street garden is drizzled with olive oil and grilled to a suggested tempature of medium rare and topped with a melody of roasted pineapple, tomatillo, red pepper salsa and the chop is rested atop our house yucca and chipotle potato mash surrounded bynsautéed baby organic carrots, green beans and chayote with shallots.
nExecutive Chef Mario Santiago says: "Borsa de pero por favor (doggy bag please). There's no way the dog's getting this, it's for me!"n
nSuggested Pairing: 2008 Alta Vista Premium Malbecn
nHow much is it? $24n
nMay Street Cafe, 1146 W Cermak, 312-421-4442
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The Scout's Beer Basted Musselsn
nWhat's in it? Prince Edward Island Mussels basted with Allegash Beer and Smoked Bacon
nChef Chris De La Cueva says: "Our philosophy on our menu at The Scout is taking traditional comfort world cuisine and giving it a modern twist. Our mussels dish is a prime example of this. Instead of using white wine in our broth, we substitute it with Allagash beer and our thick cut bacon."n
nSuggested Pairing: We love to pair our mussels with Joel Gott Chardonnay and of course, a pint of our Allagash beer!n
nHow much is it? $8n
nThe Scout, 1301 S. Wabash Ave., (312) 705-0595
TL's Four Seasons' Black Pepper Garlic Beefn
nWhat's in it? Steamed broccoli, marinated beef with garlic, black pepper and oyster sauce
nSuggested Pairing: 2009 Nieto Malbac, $8/glass, $30/bottlenExecutive Chef Shawn Li says: "This is our most successful new creation of a Chinese dish reborn from your old school Chinese restaurant experience. It has explosive flavor and surprising tenderness through the unique marinade preparation."n
nHow much is it? $13.95n
nTL's Four Seasons, 110 W. Bartlett Ave, Bartlett. @TLsFourSeasons
Chicago Cut's Prime Burgern
nOwner David Flom says: "Prime dry aged beef in a 12 oz burger is unheard of. The essence of dry aging along with the juiciness of prime beef make the ultimate burger. We suggest that you order our burger Medium Rare with Wisconsin One Year Aged Mild Cheddar."n
nSuggested Pairing: The Prisoner by Orin Swift wine, which works well with the burger because there are six different grapes, predominantly Zinfandel. The winemaker, Dave Phinney, is a true artist and has made drinking wine fun. $20 glass or $99 bottle.n
nHow much is it? $12n
nChicago Cut, 300 N. LaSalle, 312.329.1800 Full Menus
Michael Jordan's Steak House's Garlic Breadn
nWhat's in it? Chef O'Donnell uses the classic garlic bread recipe and takes it up a notch with the superstar ingredient of the dish: Wisconsin Roth Käse Buttermilk Blue Cheese, which is made into a deliciously melty fondue for the bread.
nExecutive Chef James O'Donnell says: "Our garlic bread is a fan favorite, so we’re taking it one step further and incorporating it into a new late night bar recipe that's out of this world. Check out more details on Twitter @mjshchicago."n
nSuggested Pairing: Champagne or sparkling winen
nHow much is it? $7n
nMichael Jordan's Steak House, 505 N. Michigan Ave., 312-944-4100
South Branch's Crab Cakesn
nWhat's in it? Jumbo lump crab is lightly folded with green and red bell peppers, dijon mustard, and egg whites, formed into cakes, then lightly pan seared for a slightly crisp outer texture and fluffy inside. It's topped with roasted peppers, avocado cream and saffron aioli, which compliments the flavor of the crab.
nExecutive Chef Paul Katz says: "We use jumbo lump crab meat from a blue crab because of the sweetness and higher fat content, which makes for a more flavorful crab cake."n
nSuggested Pairing: Mohua Sauvignon Blanc or a strong ale like Delirium Tremens or a golden ale like Flying Dog TireBite.n
nHow much is it? $13.99n
nSouth Branch, 100 S. Wacker Drive
Primehouse's Potato Pancakesn
nWhat's in it? Potato pancakes with cheddar scallions, bbq bacon and whipped crème fraiche.
nExecutive Chef Rick Gresh says: "Generally people think steak and baked potato, but I don't think that a baked potato is that exciting to make or eat. So I recreated it keeping similar flavor profiles, but in a different presentation."n
nSuggested Pairing: A glass of Monastrelle would be perfect as a wine pairing, smoked meat and dried cranberry aromas with a touch of spice really makes the bacon pop, while the acidity breaks up the rich texture of the pancakes and all of their fixings.n
nHow much is it? $7n
nDavid Burke's Primehouse, 616 North Rush, 312.660.6000 (View Full Menus)
Waterleaf's Braised Snapper Fillet in Coconut & Lemongrassn
nWhat's in it? Snapper filet with coconut and lemongrass with smoked eggplant and tomato ginger chutney, garnished with radish, sprouts and micro greens.n
nSuggested Pairing: 2009 Talley Chardonnay, Arroyo Grande Valley, California; $11 per glass and $44 per bottlen
nExecutive Chef Jean-Louis Clerc says: "This is a refined and complex yet very subtle dish, marrying smokiness and sweetness -- a hint of citrus with pepperiness from the ginger. The micro greens also give some freshness to the dish."n
nHow much is it? $28n
nWaterleaf, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn IL , 630.942.6881
Mercadito's Dorado Cevichen
nWhat's in it? Mahi mahi, Asian pear, plantain chips, tamarind-chipotle brothn
nSuggested Pairing: The new Manzanasada cocktail -- Tequila blanco, Mescal, Apple cider, Lemon juice, Ginger beer.n
nChef Patricio Sandoval says: "I think people generally associate Mexican cuisine with summer and warmer weather, but there’s a depth of flavors in traditional dishes that are comforting for cold, dreary winter months. Even seafood dishes like our ceviches utilize fall ingredients such as Asian pear for a light, refreshing alternative to the dish for the winter months."n
nHow much is it? $12.50n
nMercadito, 108 W Kinzie Street, 312.329.9555, View Menus
C-House Restaurant's Mac and Cheese with Pork Sausagen
nWhat's in it? Organic White Cheddar from Cider Grove Dairy in Wisconsin, Le Chevre Noir from Fromagrie Tournevent in Quebec, Heavy Cream from Sassy Cow Creamery in Wisconsin, Gigli pasta from L’antica Rocca Italy, House-made sausage made from Gunthorp Farm pork, topped with house-made brioche bread crumbs.
nSuggested Pairing: C-House’s Goose Island, Matilda, Belgian Pale Ale.n
nChef Nicole Pederson says: "What's not to love about macaroni and cheese? This C-House favorite is actually one of the few dishes that stayed on since opening as our seasonal menu changes. It offers a twist on the traditional comfort food with house-made sausage and brioche combined with other local ingredients."n
nHow much is it? $7n
nC-House Restaurant, 166 East Superior St, 312-523-0923, View Dinner Menu
Rio's D'Sudamerica's Lomo Saltadon
nWhat's in it? Sirloin strips seasoned and marinated in a fusion of Peruvian and Asian spices, tossed in the wok along with onions, tomatoes, thin strips of Peruvian yellow peppers and au jus. Served on a fresh French baguette. Make it spicy for a full flavor effect!n
nSuggested Pairing: Quilmes (Argentina), a crisp, light yet a full-flavored pilsner or a good Malbec or Cabernet Sauvigon to complement the all the meat and solid flavors from the sandwich.n
nOwner Dino Perez says: "The Lomo Sandwich is one of the most craved and popular sandwiches at lunchtime or late evening in the streets of Peru and Argentina. This juicy and meaty sandwich can now be enjoyed at Rio's everyday for lunch."n
nHow much is it? $6.00 with fries. Melted cheese and chimichurri sauce $1.50 extra.n
nRio's D'Sudamerica, 2010 W. Armitage Ave., 312-552-0070, View Lunch Menu
NBC San Diego
Tavern at the Park's Duck Confit Egg Rollsn
nWhat's in it?Duck Confit marinated overnight and slow cooked in a low heat oven with plenty of garlic. Carrots, celery, red cabbage, white New York sweet cabbage and seasoned with ginger, soy, brown sugar and sesame oil. Served with a Mango Sweet & Sour Sauce on the side.n
nSuggested Pairing: San Luis Obispo Merlot, Oregon Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, Languedoc Roussillon Redn
nExecutive Chef Mike Clark says: "Any good tasting main ingredient loves being wrapped up with veggies, soy and ginger in an egg roll skin then fried crispy."n
nHow much is it? $12n
nTavern at the Park, 130 East Randolph Street, 312-552-0070, View Full Menus
Quartino's Paparazzi Pizzan
nWhat's in it?A classic Neopolitan thin crust stone oven pizza features roasted chicken, grilled zucchini, cheese fonduta, and fresh thyme.
nSuggested Pairing: 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Vigna Dogarinan
nChef John Coletta says: "This unorthodox yet utterly satisfying Pizza would have the entire deeply rooted traditional Italian pizza world wondering why anyone would dare place a roasted chicken on a Pizza?! Well, the departure from documented traditional pizza preparations are not much different than the contemporary Made in Italy, marketed and highly publicized versions of infusing truffles into Mozzarella di Bufala or a Ligurian Pesto rendition utilizing chestnuts, olives or any other creative licensing attempts." "n
nHow much is it? $13n
nQuartino, 626 N State, 312.698.5000, View Full Menus
Cucina Paradiso's Linguine Pescatoren
nSuggested Pairing: A good Pinot Noir from the California Coast. It's light with bright fruity aromas, typically a velvety texture and hints of berry flavors that compliment the Linguine Pescatore.n
nCo-owner Anthony Gambino says: "This dish has been our family recipe for many generations. Every time we make it, it reminds me of being on the Sicilian coast and buying fresh seafood from the local vendors and taking it home to cook with the grandmothers. There is a lot of history behind this dish."n
nCucina Paradiso, 814 North Boulevard Oak Park, (708) 848-3434, View Full Menus
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Roka Akor's Wagyu Beef Chibi Burgersn
nWhat's in it? Highly marbleized wagyu and prime beef, avocado, burnt tomato, Yuzukosu and wasabi aioli
nSuggested Pairing: Hitachino Nest Beer Aged in Sake Cask or a glass of Bergstrom Pinot Noir from Oregonn
nChef Ce Bian says: "With only 30 burgers available each night, and not featured on the menu, only late night guests in-the-know are able to try our delicious $4 Wagyu beef Chibi burgers."n
nRoka Akor, 456 North Clark St, (312) 477-7652, View Full Menus
NBC 7 San Diego
Quay's Maine Lobster Eggs Benedictn
nWhat's in it? Speck ham, poached eggs, English muffin, truffle hollandaise, served with home fries.
nSuggested Pairing: The Quay, the restaurant's signature Bloody Mary, made with Absolut, "signature" clear mix, celery salt rim and garnished with prosciutto, salami, chorizo, pepperoncini and cherry tomato.n
nGM Zak Dich says: "This decadent brunch item has become one of Quay's top sellers. When combining Maine Lobster and Prosciutto Ham with our creamy house-made truffle hollandaise sauce, perfectly poached eggs and just a hint of lemon, the end result is a mouth-watering rich and buttery seafood breakfast. The richness of the lobster and saltiness of the prosciutto speck create a heavenly combo leaving customers wanting more!"n
nHow much is it? $15n
nQuay, 465 East Illinois, (312) 981-8400, View Full Menus
Le Colonial's Goi Bun Son
nWhat's in it? Grilled sea scallop salad with garlic noodles, roasted peanuts, and lime vinaigrette.
nSuggested Pairing: Pascal Jolivet Sancerre, 2010 —- emphasizes the fresh herbs in the salad while allowing the simplicity of the scallops to be showcased, not overpowered. Its chalkiness and acidity play up the delicate yet contrasting flavors of the salad.n
nChef Chan Le says: "As we move quickly into the fall weather, the goi bun so is a great dish to enjoy the lingering flavors of summer as well as the comfort of the noodles for the fall. It features two types of noodles -- crispy egg noodles and rice noodles, which combine to create a unique texture along with the citrus contrast of the lime, meant to be drizzled over the dish just prior to enjoying."n
nHow much is it? $12.50n
nLe Colonial, 937 North Rush St, (312) 255-0088, View Full Menu
Smith & Wollensky's Cracklin' Pork Shankn
nWhat's in it? Pork Shoulder cured with salt, sugar and pepper, and slow cooked until tender and then fried to crisp the outer skin. The tender fall-off-the-bone shank is brushed with a pineapple mustard glaze and served with creme fraiche sauerkraut and firecracker applesauce with pickled Serrano chilies.
nExecutive corporate chef John Piccolino says: "We slow cook the pork shoulder until tender and then fry the outer skin, making this dish the ultimate in comfort food. The Cracklin Pork Shank was previously voted as the number one dish by USA Today and now our new twist on this classic Southern food will be a favorite this fall."n
nHow much is it? $33 on the lunch menu and $35 on the dinner menu.
nSmith & Wollensky, 318 North State St, (312) 670-9900. View Full Menu
AP Images/NBC 4 New York
Bistro at Pinstripes' Gnocchi & Yellowfin Tunan
nWhat's in it? Handmade ricotta gnocchi tossed with garlic and herbs, layered with arugula, and topped with raw ahi tuna marinated in lime juice, cilantro, and extra virgin olive oil. Garnished with calabrese pepper sauce.
nSuggested Pairing: Hanna, Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River -- $9 glassn
nExecutive Chef Cesar Gutierrez says: "The layer of flavors with the combination of hot, cold, and spicy are a great balance. With every bite you discover a new taste."n
nHow much is it? $18n
nBistro at Pinstripes, 1150 Willow Road, Northbrook or 100 W. Higgins Road, South Barrington, View Full Menu
Glenview House's Pot Roast Nachos n
nWhat's in it? Eight hour braised beef shoulder with guajillo and achiote infused braising liquid, pulled and shredded, served on house fried tortilla chips, with black beans, chihuahua and poblano cheese sauce, fire-roasted corn salsa, and garnished with cilantro creme fraiche and chives.
nSuggested Pairing: HB Oktoberfestn
nExecutive Chef Grant Slauterbeck says: "The pot roast nachos are our most popular appetizer. What we did with the nachos, is something very similar to the way I create most of our menu items: what do I like to eat, and how can I push it up 4 or 5 levels so that others can enjoy it in a restaurant setting? In this case the braised beef shoulder is quite a step up from ground beef. I love the acidity that tomatoes lend to that cheap nacho cheese sauce so we made a beautiful salsa with fire-roasted corn, and roasted poblanos to add depth of flavor to a rich Chihuahua cheese sauce. Every "great" nacho has sour cream, but we use a lime creme fraiche. Basically, what would I eat at 3 in the morning, put on a plate that you and your family can enjoy at 7:30 p.m."n
nHow much is it? $10n
nGlenview House, 1843 Glenview Road, Glenview, View Full Menu
Cantina Laredo's Enchilada de Avocado n
nWhat's in it? Avocado and artichoke enchilada topped with tomatillo sauce on bed of spinach.
nExecutive Chef Larry Sinclair says: "The rich flavors of avocado and artichoke hearts balance well with our verde sauce. I recommend pairing it with one of our signature margaritas, in particular, the Cinco Rita - a well balanced blend of five tequilas, with a crisp tart finish of fresh squeezed lime."
nSuggested Pairing: Giro Silver Tequila Sauza, Hornitos, Herradura and Cazadores Silver Tequilas with Cointreau Orange Liqueur, lime juice and agave nectar -- $11.50
nHow much is it? $12.29n
nCantina Laredo, 508 North State St, 312.955.0014, View Full Menus
Elate's Octopus Confit n
nWhat's in it? Octopus, chorizo, eggplant, shiso and yuzu.
nChef Mike Noll says: "The flavors are fun together. Spanish with a touch of Japanese. The fatty confit octopus marries well together with the slightly bitter charred eggplant and the spicy crisp chorizo. The yuzu pudding then adds a nice acidic element. Finally shiso, which is one of my favorite herbs, adds a great freshness."
Suggested Pairing: 2010 skouras, moscofilero from Peloponnese, Greece (its sustainably produced) Glass - $10 / Bottle - $42
nHow much is it? $13n
nElate, 111 West Huron, 312.202.9900, View Full Menus
D'Noche's Black Bean Tamalesn
nWhat's in it? Traditional Mexican corn masa mixed with black bean puree stuffed with Sweet Fried plantains (Maduros) and chihuahua cheese (white mexican cheese). Served on a bead of black beans, drizzled with sour cream and finished with pico de gallo.n
nOwner Esam Hani says: This dish creates a perfect balance of sweet and salty. The recipe adds an unexpected Cuban twist to the traditional Mexican Tamales with the addition of maduros and black beans. Like all of our menu at D'Noche we combine Latin american flavors in every dish!
Suggested Pairing: The Spanish Quarter, Chardonnay/Albariño 2009, Spain; Peach citrus and floral notes with a long finish
nHow much is it? $7.95n
nD'Noche Latin American Kitchen & Bar, 2710 N. Milwaukee, 773.289.4274, View Full Menu
Quartino's Heirloom Tomatoesn
nWhat's in it? Assorted cherry-size Heirloom Tomatoes are cut in half and tossed with a first-press Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Hand torn basil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepperare added and immediately placed onto a bed of baby wild arugula.n
nChef Chef John Coletta says: "This is what tomatoes are all about -- drippy, delicious, mouthwatering taste!"
Suggested Pairing: Light fruit forward wines such as Pinot Grigio, Soave or Dolcetto D' Alba.nHow much is it? $7.75n
nQuartino Ristorante, 626 N State, View Full Menu
Burger Boss' 8am Burgern
nWhat's in it? Cage-Free Fried Egg, Applewood Smoked Bacon, American Cheese, Organic Ketchup, Boss Sauce, Lettuce, Tomato, Briochen
nOwner Anthony Gambino says: "The 8am Burger combines the best of breakfast, bacon and eggs, with Angus beef and a soft brioche bun. Paired alongside a cold craft beer, you're catching all the highlights of the day."n
nHow much is it? 1/3 lb – $7.19 or 1/2 lb – $8.19n
nBurger Boss, 7512 W. North Ave., Elmwood Park, IL, View Full Menu
Thomas Zizzi
Paris Club's Goat Cheese Au Gratinn
nWhat's in it? Goat cheese with tomato and pequillo pepper, cumin, fennel seeds, roasted garlic, harissa paste and peston
nSuggested pairing: Beaujolais Nouveau or Kronenbourgn
nChef Tim Graham says: "This is a great dish to start or complement any meal.Served warm with our signature, sliced French bread, it's perfect for sharing. Stop by Paris Club between 4 and 5:30 p.m. for happy hour and you can enjoy the Goat Cheese Au Gratin or any of our small plates at half-price, any day of the week."n
nHow much is it? $6.95n
nParis Club, 59 W Hubbard, 312.595.0800, View Full Menu
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Roots Handmade Pizza's Stuffed Artichokesn
nBasic Ingredients: Slow-roasted artichokes stuffed with fresh herbs cheeses, bechamel, and breadcrumbs. Drizzled with garlic oil and served with creamy mustard sauce.n
nSuggested pairing: Roots House Brew made by Two Brothers Brewing Company.n
nCo-owner Greg Mohr says: "The stuffed artichoke we’re doing at Roots Handmade Pizza is a play off a childhood favorite my mom used to make for the family for Sunday dinners. Like all of the menu at Roots we wanted to take these classics from my favorite home town restaurants in the Quad Cities and my mom’s cooking and elevate them using fresh scratch made ingredients every day."n
nHow much is it? $10n
nRoots Handmade Pizza, 1924 W. Chicago Ave., View Full Menu
Park Grill's Sea Scallopsn
Basic Ingredients: Thyme roasted scallops with preserved lemon puree, summer squash caponata with pinenutsn
nSuggested pairing: Rose from Domaine Hourchartn
nExecutive Chef Bernie Laskowski says: "The spicy quality of a caponata lends itself well with summer squash. The meaty textures of our east coast sea scallops hold up with the sweet and sour flavors. Its hearty, light and summery."n
nHow much is it? $13n
nPark Grill, 11 North Michigan Avenue, View Full Menu
NBC 5 News
Edwardo's Stuffed Spinach Pizzan
nBasic Ingredients: Edwardo's stuffed pizzas are available with traditional or wheat dough, made in-house daily. It is then stuffed with fresh chopped spinach, a blend of mozzarella cheese and covered in a seasoned light tomato sauce.n
nSuggested pairing: Sofie by Goose Island. The crisp, light effervescence of Sophie perfectly cuts the cheesiness of the pie.n
nQuotable: "Edwardo's philosophy is to use only the finest and freshest ingredients available from our purveyors. The spinach pizza is the star of our concept that has built a name for itself with those who were raised right here in Chicago."n
nHow much is it? Sm. $17.25; Med. $20.25; Lg. $24.25n
nEdwardo's, Various locations, View Full Menu
Taco Joint's Hongos Tortan
nBasic Ingredients: Sautéed mushrooms and roasted corn simmered in a citrus-guajillo salsan
nSuggested pairing: The new Watermelon Margarita: Ocho tequila reposado, Cointreau liqueur, watermelon puree, lime juice, simple syrup, fresh basil leaves. Shaken and served on the rocks or straight up -- $10n
nOwner Edgar Castaneda says: "The torta is a traditional Mexican "street food" sandwich - this particular version is a great option for vegetarians with the perfect mix of sweet & spicy flavors."n
nHow much is it? $7n
nInside Tip: This dish is also available at sister restaurant ZOCALO during lunch hours 11:30-5pmn
nTaco Joint, 1689 N. Halsted, View Full Menu
Le Colonial's Banh Mi Sandwichesn
nBasic Ingredients: Your choice of BBQ Pork, Seared Chicken Breast or Lightly Fried Tofu sandwiches are topped with pickled cucumber, daikon, fresh onions, carrots and red jalapeno peppers. As part of the Summer in Saigon menu, it's served with a choice of two sides including a mixed greens salad, Goi Cuo (soft salad rolls) or a bowl of Pho.n
nSuggested pairing: Iced tea or iced Vietnamese coffeen
nExecutive Chef Chan Le says: "I wanted to add Banh Mi to the menu for summer because it is a great way for guests to experience a different take on Vietnamese cuisine. The different textures and flavors, such as pickled diakon and carrots, though not traditionally added to a sandwich, make it a very unique dish for our guests to enjoy."n
nHow much is it? $20n
nLe Colonial, 937 North Rush St, View Full Menu
LOKaL's Roasted Beet Saladn
nBasic Ingredients: Arugula, goat cheese, toasted walnuts, citrus vinaigrette.n
nSuggested pairing: Vinho Verde-Vera (Portugal) $10n
nInside Tip: Take advantage of LOKal's "Arrive at Five" promo and get the salad and wine pairing for only $10. On Fridays and Saturdays between 5-7 p.m., any app and drink is 10 bucks.
nHow much is it? $9n
nLOKal, 1904 W North Ave, View Full Menu
Shaw's Crab House's New England Lobster Roll n
nBasic Ingredients: Maine Lobster Meat, Mayonnaise, Parsley on a Brioche Bunn
nSuggested pairing: Rudi Pilchler Gruner Vetliner
nSupervising GM Bill Nevruz says: "When Shaw’s researched this famous sandwich, the classic version fit into Shaw’s philosophy of quality and simplicity. Our sandwich is cooked meat from live Maine lobsters mixed with Hellman’s mayonnaise and parsley and put into a grilled, top-loaded New England hot dog bun. The inclination with a dish like this is to take the classic and add to it. Shaw’s puts the classic on the plate and lets people consider why it’s a classic."n
nHow much is it? $18.99n
nShaw's Crab House, 21 E Hubbard St, View Full Menu
Brian Schmidt
Tokio Pub's Crispy Shrimp Tacosn
nBasic Ingredients: Beer-Battered Fried Shrimp, Shredded Green & Red Cabbage Slaw with Jalapeño Vinaigrette andTobanjan Sauce (Spicy Chili Mayonnaise with Sesame Oil and Soy Sauce).n
nSuggested pairing: Sapporo Reserve in cans, Kirin Ichiban on tap or a sparkling wine.n
nChef Naoki Nakashima says: "This is one of our most popular items. Who doesn't love fried shrimp, homemade tortillas, and a cold, bubbly drink?"n
nHow much is it? $6n
nTokio Pub, 1900 E. Higgins Road, Schaumburg, View Full Menu
Emily B
cibo matto's Ribeye Three Waysn
nBasic Ingredients: Authentically all natural Niman Ranch beef roasted, braised and grilled with white truffle mash and creamed ricotta spinach.n
nSuggested pairing: 2007 Stefano Farina Barbaresco from the Piedmont region of Italyn
nChef Evan Percoco says: "It is important to work with farmers who are deeply committed to the quality and health of their livestock. In addition to the fine textural and flavor profiles inherent in this methodology, our insistence on a no-hormone, no-antibiotic cultivation product satisfies one of our basic commitments to our guests."n
nHow much is it? $39n
ncibo matto, 201 N. State St, View Full Menu
Dan Chusid
Timothy O'Toole's Pub's Ultimate Chicago Burgern
nBasic Ingredients: Half-pound of prime Angus beef topped with two Chicago-style hot dogs with mustard, dill pickle, atomic relish, tomato, onion, sport peppers and celery salt, served with choice of side.n
nSuggested pairing: Absolut Lemonaden
nChef Corey Grupe says, "The whole idea came about after a conversation about crazy foods we have had over the years. The flavors work very well together."n
nHow much is it? $12.99n
nTimothy O'Toole's Pub, 622 N. Fairbanks Ct., View Full Menu
Chicago Cut's Tristan Tailsn
nOwner David Flom: "These tails are flown from South Africa. They are young lobsters so the meat is sweeter. We broil them with French butter, paprika, sea salt and fresh ground pepper."n
nSuggested pairing: J. Vineyards Russian River Pinot Gris 2009, $37n
nHow much is it? $43n
nChicago Cut, 300 North Lasalle, View Full Menu
Blokes & Birds' Duck Confit Hashn
nIngredients: Duck confit, wild mushrooms, spring onions, confit potatos and two duck eggs served sunny side up. Available for brunch Saturday & Sunday from 11am to 2pm.n
nSuggested pairing: Bloody Birdy -- Tito's vodka infused with bacon, jalapeno and horseradish root, house-made bloody mary mix, garnished with cherry tomato, house-made sausage, olive, cocktail onion, ham, horseradish Havarti cheese, 4 year cheddar, pickle and peppers, served with Young's Double Chocolate Stout back -- $9n
nChef's quote: This dish is an American "comfort food" spin on an English breakfast. It's hearty and delicious and the duck eggs are unique and more decadent than regular eggs.n
nHow much is it? $16n
nBlokes & Birds, 3343 North Clark St, View Full Menu
Dan Chusid
Hoyts' Beer Braised Musselsn
nIngredients: Goose Island 312 Beer Mussels, with croutons, garlic chips, homemade dried tomatoes, fennel, fresh herbsn
nSuggested pairing: Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Alen
nExecutive chef Gabriel Kolofon says: "Hoyt's is a modern American tavern, and a classicntavern dish is mussels braised in beer. We give it a local spin by using 312 for braising. We also boost the flavor by adding oven-dried tomatoes."n
nHow Much is it? $10n
nHoyts, 71 East Wacker Dr (inside Hotel 71), View Full Menu
Christina London
Roots Handmade Pizza's Sausage Pien
nBasic Ingredients: Specially-seasoned housemade sausage served underneath Quad Cities mozzarella cheese blend.n
nSuggested pairing: Roots House Brew made by Two Brothers Brewing Companyn
nCo-owner Greg Mohr says: "Our sausage pizza at Roots is a Quad Cities specialty. It's totally different than any other sausage pizza you'll have outside of the Quad Cities. We make our own sausage in house and grind it twice with special spices. We then spread the heavily fennel-ed crumbled sausage over the entire pizza and top it with our Quad Cities mozzarella blend. All of our pizza dough contains a heavy dose of dark brewers malt, and they all pair well with our malty Roots House Brew."n
nHow much is it? $16n
nRoots Handmade Pizza, 1924 W Chicago Ave, View Full Menu
Brian DePung
The Lucky Monk's White Truffle-Parmesan Friesn
nIngredients: Fresh hand cut Idaho potatoes are tossed in a supreme white truffle oil, seasoned with sea salt and garnished with shaved Grana Padano parmesan cheese, one of the world's first hard cheeses, created nearly 1,000 years ago by the Monks.n
nSuggested pairing: House brewed signature Confessional IPAn
nOwner Jeremy Samatas says: "What customers like most about this appetizer is that it's a departure from the expected. People say that there are many places you can go to get good fries, but this simple twist adds a flavor profile that is truly unique. Pair it with one of our house brewed beers and you've got a great snack!"n
nHow Much is it? $6.25n
nThe Lucky Monk, 105 Hollywood Blvd. South Barrington, IL FULL MENUS
Quince at The Homestead's Pork Bellyn
nIngredients: Pork Belly, daikon, mustard, cranberry, blood orange, bee pollenn
nSuggested pairing: Huerta de Albalá "Barbazul" Cadiz, Spain 2008, $9n
nExecutive Chef Andy Motto says: "I've always liked pork belly and this is an interesting interpretation of this now popular ingredient. Each ingredient in the dish adds something texturally as well as acts as a flavor balance to other items in the dish."n
nHow Much is it? $12n
nQuince at The Homestead, 1625 Hinman Avenue, Evanston, 847.570.8400. FULL MENU
Grant Kessler
The Florentine's Sausage Pizzan
nIngredients: Housemade sausage, havarti cheese, cured tomato, and pickled fennel 16n
nSuggested pairing: Vernacia wine, or Domaine Dupage French style country ale from Two Brother’s Brewery.n
nExecutive Chef Todd Stein says: "The sausage pizza gets it's flavor from the great combination of havarti cheese, pickled fennel, cured tomatoes and Italian sausage. I really enjoy the creamy element the havarti adds to the pizza."n
nHow Much is it? $16n
nThe Florentine, 151 West Adams St, 312-660-8866
Dan Chusid
Markethouse's Pork Shank Benedictn
nIngredients: Poached eggs, Red Hen English Muffin, braised Slagel Farms pork shank, red cabbage confit, Hollandaise sauce and mixed green salad.n
nSuggested pairing: Bubbles and Black Mountain Huckleberries.n
nExecutive Chef Scott Walton says: "Here at Markethouse, we offer high quality, farm-to-table ingredients at a reasonable breakfast price. Our brunch menu features twelve delicious, hearty dishes, each for under $16."
nHow Much is it? $14n
nMarkethouse Restaurant and Bar, 611 N. Fairbanks Ct., FULL MENU
Dan Chusid
Chicago q's Competition Pork Baby Back Ribsn
nIngredients: "It is the unique combination of 'Pig Powder,' our signature dry rub, and slow smoking technique done in our on-premise Wood Burning Smokers over Hickory and Apple Woods. We take these special house ribs and midway during the smoking process add four additional ingredients and apply labor intensive methods to create a beautiful Mahogany Rib with superior tenderness and smoky sweetness." -- Chef/Partner Lee Ann Whippenn
nSuggested pairing: 10 year "Whistle Pig" Straight Rye Whiskey from Vermont with smoky and caramel undertones.n
nChicago q, 1160 N. Dearborn St, FULL MENU
Dan Chusid
Nabuki's Wasabi Filetn
nIngredients: Wasabi marinated center cut filet served over Asian sweet potato puree with steamed asparagus and a veal demi sauce. The filet is topped with fresh wasabi and gently fried shoe string potatoes.n
nSuggested pairing: Either a Huneeus "Faust" Cabernet or a Flowers Pinot Noir.n
nExecutive Chef Juan Perez says: "What's special about this dish is that we use fresh wasabi root. Wasabi root is not sold in the states, so we have to order it directly from Japan. Fresh wasabi root brings a unique flavor to the dish; plus it's not spicy, so if you're not into fish or sushi, the filet a great option. Even kid enjoy it!"n
nNabuki, 18 E. First St. (Hinsdale), FULL MENU
Chizakaya's Beef Liver Sashimi
Ingredients: Water cress, beef liver "sashimi" and sesame vinaigrette. It is thinly-sliced, then drizzled with a sesame vinaigrette and finished with a pinch of salt and petite watercress.
Suggested sake pairing: Big 7, Daishichi, Kimoto Tokubetsu Junmai, Fukushima $9 Dense and profound character, complex aromatics, herbal, medium dry
How much is it? $6
Chef Harold Jurado says: "This dish is unique to Chicago and also indicative of classic Japanese cuisine. The beef liver is locally sourced from Dietzler Farms and a great display of non-sushi Japanese food."
Chizakaya, 3056 North Lincoln Ave, VIEW FULL MENUS
Dan Chusid
Grotto Italian Steakhouse's Apple Crostada
Ingredients: Rustic Apple Pie with Flakey Crust topped with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce
Suggested pairing: Michele Chiarlo Moscato d'Asti 2005/2006
How much is it? $9
Executive Chef Abraham Aguirre says: "The Apple Crostada, a warm homemade Italian-style apple tart, is the perfect dessert for the fall season."
Grotto Italian Steakhouse, 3011 Butterfield Road, Oak Brook, VIEW FULL MENUS
Sunda's Off the Hook
Ingredients: Whole Red Snapper with bok choy, julienne leeks, lotus root, shao xing and ginger sauce.
Suggested pairing: An ice cold beer and for a little more refinement, share a bottle of Ty Ku Junmai Ginjo Sake.
How much is it? $10
Operating Partner Aeron Lancero says: "Our our off the hook symbolizes fish at its freshest, prepared for everyone at the table to enjoy. Flavors, texture and presentation is great or as we have fun saying it is 'off the hook.'"
Sunda, 110 W Illinois, VIEW FULL DINNER MENU
Lauren Lozano
ZED 451's Butterscotch Bread Pudding
Ingredients: The bread pudding consists of brioche or challah, heavy cream, dark brown sugar, egg yolks, butterscotch chips & butterscotch schnapps. The custard is super rich so very small portions are a good idea, especially if you serve the bread pudding with ice cream.
Suggested pairing: An after dinner drink such as a tawny port would be best. Taylor 10, 20, 30 or 40 would work well.
How much is it? $10
Pastry Chef Kate Milashus says: "This butterscotch bread pudding is a "bring them to their knees" type dessert."
ZED 451, 739 North Clark St, VIEW FULL MENUS
RIVA Crab House at Navy Pier's Dollar Oysters
Suggested pairing: Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc, Sonoma
How much is it? $1 each, availabe 11 a.m.-5 p.m. in upstairs bar and dining room only.
Executive Chef Luigi Garcia says: "We are really excited about offering Dollar Oysters along with our seasonal Alaskan King Crab as part of Seafood Month at Riva Crab House. They are served on ice with a special house cocktail sauce and lemon – delicious!"
RIVA Crab House on Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand Ave., VIEW FULL MENUS
Tavern on Rush's Alaskan Red King Crabs
What's in it? Iced with lemon, cocktail and honey mustard sauces or steamed with drawn butter, or even create your own surf-and-turf accompanied by one of Tavern on Rush's Prime aged steaks.
Suggested pairing: Something with bubbles for the chilled Crab Legs, such as Veuve Clicquot. Something crisp and sweet for the Steamed Crab such as the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc.
How much is it? Half $18.95, full $36.95
Executive Chef John Gatsos says: "Crab connoisseurs prefer them chilled with lemon, and a simple sauce, many enjoy them steamed with drawn butter. Personally I love both preparations. If you enjoy crab and haven’t yet tried fresh Red King Crab, legs, now's the time!"
Tavern on Rush, 1031 N. Rush Street, VIEW FULL MENUS
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba's Shrimp and Bay Scallops with Cherry Tomatoes and Green Beans Paella
What's in it? Bomba Rice, shrimp, Bay scallops, green beans, cherry tomatoes, imported Spanish saffron, olive oil, sweet pimenton and fresh garlic
Suggested pairing: Do Ferreiro Albariño Rias Baixas offers well-balanced acidity to compliment the fresh seafood and plenty of depth to stand up to the pimenton and spices. It's currently #210 on Café Ba-Ba-Reeba’s wine list, but any Albariño varietal pairs well.
How much is it? $12.95
Executive Chef Tim Cottini says: "Here at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba we hold the bragging rights to the ‘Best Paella Outside of Spain,’ based on the 2010 Valencia International Paella Competition held in Spain. What makes our Paellas so special are the methods and techniques we have perfected over our 25 years, as well as our commitment to use the best ingredients and freshest locally grown produce whenever possible!"
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba, 2024 Halsted St., VIEW FULL MENUS
Joseph Storch
NoMi's 800 Burger
What's in it? Ground Wagyu Beef with Nueske Bacon on a Rosemary Ciabatta Bun with Pickled Garlic and Shallots, Comte Cheese, Watercress, and topped with Smoked Tomato Aioli.
Suggested pairing: "This is a big burger with a lot of flavor. It needs something that can stand up to it. Oberon has the perfect balance of bright hops and malty richness. The acidity and light orange notes in the beer highlight the pickled onions, and the roundness of the wheat does a great job of picking up the nuttiness in the comte cheese. As for the Nueske's bacon, well, bacon just goes with everything, now doesn't it?" -- Sommelier Aaron Sherman.
How much is it? $25 includes "800 Burger" served with pommes frites and your selection of a domestic beer
Chef de Cuisine Ryan LaRoche says: "The burger, as with anything I create, is an attempt at balance. Fat, acid and salt are three things a good burger can not live (or win) without."
MORE INFO: This Hamburger Hop winner is served in NoMI for lunch, as well as in the NoMI Lounge and NoMI Garden for a limited time.
NoMi, 800 N Michigan Ave., VIEW FULL MENUS
WAVE's Filipino Sausage, Garlic Rice, Tomato Salad & Eggs
What's in it? Ground pork, sugar, chopped garlic, black pepper, salt, dried chili -- depends on the region -- sometimes with vinegar and without sugar and traditionally prepared in link sausage form.
Suggested pairing: Something fruity and refreshing perhaps a mimosa, or even fresh squeezed orange juice would be delicious.
How much is it? $12
Chef Kristine Chef Subido says: "This is my childhood favorite that my parents used to make all the time when I was a kid. We used to eat it for dinner a lot and now it's my ultimate comfort food for breakfast, lunch or dinner! It's even better when it’s extra garlicky with coconut vinegar-chili dipping sauce. This dish is my personal favorite on the Nourish menu!"

SPECIAL EVENT: Try this and other Nourish menu items at the Breakfast for Dinner event at WAVE on Sept. 16th. Click here for ticket informaiton.

WAVE Restaurant, 644 N. Lake Shore Dr., VIEW NOURISH MENU
Rick Janes
La Trattoria del Merlo's Rigati di Semola al Ragu Bolognese
What's in it? Grass-feed beef, celery, carrots, onion, extra virgin olive oil, white wine, San Marzano tomatoes, milk and salt & pepper are tossed, cooked together and topped with Parmigiano Reggiano. The dish is served with extruded fresh pasta made of organic eggs and durum flour semola.
Suggested pairing: Barbera d'Alba Paitin for $60 or if you want to splurge, get the Barbera d'Alba Gallina La Spinetta '05 for $110
How much is it? $23
Executive Chef Luisa Silvia Marani says: "My definition of cooking is that it is a passion, a precise exercise using the taste buds and the physical of our minds and bodies in movement all focusing on a final "delicious" objective, ultimately creating a beautiful meal with a pleasant result for oneself and the others surrounding them. A nice meal, nice table and nice company are the best things in life!"

La Trattoria del Merlo, 1967 N. Halsted St., VIEW FULL MENUS
Dan Chusid
Il Poggiolo's Salmone con Carciofi
What's in it? Pan roasted salmon, olive oil poached artichokes, fresh cherry tomatoes, Italian cannellini beans, fresh basil, sea salt.
Suggested pairing: Terrabianca "Campaccio" Super Tuscan. Intense fruit bouquet, hints of cocoa, roasted almonds and berries, with plenty of depth
How much is it? $23
Executive Chef Jim Kilberg says: "The simplicity of the artichokes, cherry tomatoes and white beans along with the superior Tuscan olive oil enhance the rich flavor of the salmon. It really is a perfect summer meal."
Il Poggiolo, 8 East First Street, VIEW FULL MENUS
Brian Siegel
Quartinos' New Aged Risotto
What's in it? This affordable luxury is available to the customers of Quartino in a variety of formats, such as Shrimp Risotto with Zucchini & Sun-Dried Tomatoes; Tuscan Sausage Risotto with Oven Roasted Tomatoes & Fresh Peas; Roasted Portobello Mushroom Risotto; Asparagus Risotto; and Risotto Milanese.
Suggested pairing: Works well with a fragrant Italian Vini Rossi; Bianchi or Rossato e Frizzante
How much is it? $10
Chef John Coletta says: "Acquerello organic Carnaroli risotto from Piedmonte, Italy is aged for a minimum of 1 year. It's a satisfying creamy decadent experience with a firm texture that is consistently achieved."
Quartinos, 626 N State, VIEW FULL MENUS
Consumer Reports
Pinstripes' Grilled Tarragon Shrimp
What's in it? Gulf white shrimp are marinated in a tarragon pesto, grilled, and placed atop a wild arugula salad tossed with horseradish vinaigrette, pecorino, salt and pepper. Served with pea hummus, which is made with fresh peas, tahini paste, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.
Suggested pairing: A nice Pinot Grigio from Santa Margherita
How much is it? $10
Chef Mark Grimes says: "This is a great dish for a cocktail party for your guests to enjoy and easily share. You can leave the shrimp out and it makes a very flavorful vegetarian dish as well. A nice Pinot Grigio from Santa Margherita will go great with this one!"
Pinstripes, Northbrook and South Barrington locations, VIEW FULL MENUS
Jerry's Fried Chicken and Bubbly
What's in it? The chicken is seasoned with Old Bay, cayenne pepper and a light touch.
Suggested champagne pairing: Prosecco
How much is it? $21 -- champagne availbale by the glass or bottle.
Chef Jonnie Wills says: "It's not my grandmother's recipe -- it's my own." "
Jerry's, 507 Chestnut St., Winnetka, 847-441-0134 VIEW MENU
Sushi Samba's Short Rib Bao
What's in it? Tender short ribs coated with aji panca barbecue topped with drained pickled vegetables in a pork bun.
Suggested Pairing: "I would suggest an ice cold beer, Kirin Ichiban, or a nice spicy red, perhaps a Zinfandel for a wine pairing. As cocktails go I think the Hakata would stand up nicely. The acidity will help cut the fatty richness of the short rib. " -- Chef Dan Tucker
How much is it? $8
Chef says: "The short rib bao are a great addition to the menu. It's always fun to take something that is so Chicago and twist it with the flavors and style of SUSHISAMBA."
Sushi Samba, 504 N Wells, (312)595-2300VIEW MENUS
Dan Chusid
NoMi's Composition of Heirloom Tomato
What's in it? Mozzarella di Buffala, Shallots and Chianti Vinaigrette
Suggested Pairing: "I'd suggest a glass of the 2007 Betts & Scholl O.G. Grenache from Barossa Valley in Australia. The tomatoes need a wine that has a dash of acidity, and the ripe flavors need a full-flavored wine that won't overwhelm the weight of the dish. The grenache is the perfect match: full in flavors of red berries and hints of spice, while staying light and velvety in the mouth. The acidity is balanced and the texture works to create a delightful finish." -- Chef Christophe David
Chef David says: "Never put tomatoes in the refrigerator. It ruins them."
NoMi, 800 N Michigan Ave, (312) 239-4030VIEW MENUS
WAVE's Homemade Pop Tart
What's in it? Fresh fruit preserve, flour, little sugar, unsalted butter, cold milk and dusting of powdered sugar.
Suggested Pairing: A cold glass of milk.
How much is it? $3.50 each
Executive Chef Kristine Subido says: "Growing up I was never allowed to have Pop-Tarts. My friends used to eat them on the way to school and that was the only way I could taste it. There was a good reason why my mom didn't let us have them -- too sweet! This is my little way of having pop tarts without feeling guilty. Fresh, honest ingredients make all the difference."
WAVE, 644 N Lakeshore Dr, (312) 255-4460VIEW NOURISH MENU
Dan Chusid
Sunda's Braised Pork Belly on Crispy Rice Patties
What's in it? Braised pork belly is served atop crispy rice patties, poached eggs and Sunda's special egg sauce. You'll only be able to get this bad boy at Sunday brunch.
Suggested Pairing: A Bloody Mary, which can be garnished yourself at the self-service bloody mary bar.
How much is it? $14
Executive Chef Rodelio Aglibot says: "This is our version of a Asian eggs benedict -- poached eggs, rice cake and pork. It's hard to top that."
Sunda, 110 West Illinois St, (312) 644-0500VIEW BRUNCH MENU
Ceres' Table's Banana Bread Pudding
What's in it? A sweet, sugary and creamy brioche mixture is blended with a banana puree, baked in the oven and served warm with chocolate sauce.
Suggested Pairing: Ceres serves two after-dinner wines that are perfect for this dessert -- a late season Torrentes and a late season Tardio. How much is it? $5
Pastry Chef Leticia Zenteno says: "This is a gooey, delicious dessert that is good year round!"
Ceres' Table, 4882 North Clark St, (773) 878-4882 VIEW FULL MENU
MARKETHOUSE's Morel Mushroom Risotto
What's in it? Fresh English Peas, Morel Mushrooms, Wild Ramps, Rocket Arugula, Arborio Rice, Shallots, White Wine, Vegetable Stock, Sheep Parmesan, Brown butter
Suggested Pairing: "I would pair it with a glass of 2006 J Pinot Noir. The aromas of bright red cherries and subtle notes of damp earth and spices complement the flavors of the dish." -- Chef Scott Walton
How much is it? $15
Chef says: "The Morel Mushroom Risotto is one of our seasonal dishes. I am all about fresh ingredients, so I use the Rocket Arugula from our rooftop garden. You may find this dish on our Sunday $20 prix fixe menu. The menu changes weekly depending on what is available at the farmers markets."
MARKETHOUSE, 611 North Fairbanks Ct., 312.224.2200 VIEW MENUS
Martha Sarno, Sarno Photography
Nacional 27's BBQ'd Lamb Tiny Tacos
What's in it? We season and slow braise the lamb shoulder for 12 hours, then mix the lamb with a homemade blue agave barbecue sauce, jicama and carrot. Then we fill some mini taquito shells with the lamb filling and place it on a cool bed of guacamole. The homemade barbecue sauce has ancho pepper, chipotle pepper, guajillo pepper, vinegar, hoisen and blue agave syrup. The tacos are garnished with a little chopped cilantro.
Suggested Pairing: "I would recommend the richly balanced El Corazon Margarita (Corzo Silver tequila, pomegranate, passion fruit, blood orange and a kosher salt and tellicherry pepper rim, $14) or a bold red wine from Spain." -- Bar Chef Adam Seger
How much is it? $3.95
Chef Tim Hockett says: "This dish is a playful, tasty version of traditional lamb barbacoa found in Mexico. It combines the spicy lamb with a crunchy taquito shell, cool guacamole and a sweet barbecue sauce, making for a great appetizer."
Nacional 27, 325 W. Huron, 312-664-2727 VIEW DINNER MENU
Charlie Wojciechowski
Hub 51's Green Chili Cheeseburger
What's in it? Half-pound prime ground chuck and sirloin, grilled to order and served with roasted poblano chiles, grated sharp cheddar cheese, chipotle mayo, onions and pickles.
Suggested Wine Pairing: Klinker Brick Zinfandel from Lodi How much is it? $13 Chef Mike Bellovich says: "This is my favorite burger in the city. We start with a half-pound of prime ground sirloin and top it with a roasted poblano pepper which adds a great smokiness. We top it with grated aged cheddar that we purposely don't melt to really bring out the sharp flavor. This with a cold beer, like Goose Island's Matilda, is a perfect summer meal."
Hub 51, 51 W Hubbard, 312.828.0051 VIEW MENUS
Dan Chusid
China Grill's Duck Two Ways
What's in it? A pan seared breast with chocolate-orange sauce and Moo Shu Confit of leg with spicy hoisin sauce.
How much is it? $23 Chef Cliff Ostrowski says: "The Duck Two Ways is one of our most popular dishes, especially now that it's available in a smaller portion and diners don't have to share!"
China Grill, 230 N. Michigan Avenue, 312.334.6700 DINNER MENU
NBC 7 San Diego
Sable Kitchen and Bar's Grilled Local Lamb Chops
What's in it? Lamb Chops are marinated in olive oil, garlic, mint, grilled, and served with Mint Chimichurri (red wine vinegar, fresh mint, parsley, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper) and Corn Succotash (edamame, fresh corn, diced red peppers, garlic, olive oil).
How much is it? $25 Chef Heather Tehune says: "Above all, I love the colors in this dish. The lamb highlights quality ingredients and is prepared in a simple way to let them shine and the vibrant colors pop."
Sable Kitchen and Bar, 505 N State St, 312-755-9704 DINNER MENU
NBC 4 New York
Gemini Bistro's Swordfish Provencal
What's in it? The swordfish is simply grilled and topped with a fresh, flavorful sauce of olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, red wine, Kalamata olives, sweet basil and capers to create a Mediterranean-inspired seafood dish.
Suggested Pairing: Sancerre - a light and crisp white wine perfect for summer but substantial enough to hold up well to the swordfish. How much is it? $23 Executive chef/owner Jason Paskewitz says: "I wanted to lighten up our swordfish entree for summer because it's a great time for grilling outdoors, and swordfish is the perfect grilling fish. My style of cooking has a Mediterranean influence, so I added Kalamata olives and sweet basil to a classic Provencal sauce."
Gemini Bistro, 2075 N Lincoln Ave, 773.525.2522 FULL MENUS
Orchid's Steak Sushi Combo
What's in it? Three Filet Mignon sushi (nigiri) are placed on top of rice and seared right at the customer's table so you can enjoy it while it's still warm and control how you want it to be done. Served with a choice of Sweet Filet Maki (avocado, mixed green with marinated Filet Mignon, drizzled with unagi sauce) or Spicy Filet Maki (cucumber, radish sprout, cilantro, mixed greens with marinated Filet Mignon wrapped with mamenori and drizzled with chili sauce).
Suggested Pairing? Since it's steak sushi it will go great with any red wine. If you have Sweet Filet Maki, go with a full body red and with the Spicy Filet Maki, go with a sweeter fruity red wine. Or just go with a Sweet and Sparkling Sake. How much is it? $20 Chef Heather Kim says: "Even non-sushi eaters will enjoy this new Filet Sushi. It's a delicious twist on traditional beef sushi."
Orchid, 201 Stratford Square Drive, Bloomingdale, IL 630-671-0000 FULL MENU
District's Vanilla Shrimp

What's in it? Four jumbo shrimp dusted with savory vanilla powder served hot with a slightly spicy melon-cucumber shrimp ceviche, sweetened with agave nectar and served with freshly fried tortilla chips.
Suggested Pairing? All Saints cocktail -- Absolut Citron and St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, muddled with cucumber and lime. How much is it? $11 Chef Charles Andersson.says: "Going into the warmer months, we wanted to offer a light, yet fully flavored appetizer that would pair well with either a crisp glass of white wine or a quintessential summer beverage, like the All Saints. The inspiration was to move away from the typical deep fried food associated with most bars (though we have that too; who wants to watch a game without chicken wings?) and do something more refined and feminine. I want people to know that District is a place that fits any taste."
District Bar, 170 W Ontario, (312) 337-3477 DINNER MENU
Alexis Espinosa/The Dallas Morning News
RBGrille's Seafood Cobb Salad

What's in it? lobster, scallops and shrimp with hickory bacon, avocado, chopped egg and tomatoes over bibb and iceberg lettuces in an avocado vinaigrette.
Suggested Pairing? Chicago Gold Pale Ale. The hops blend perfectly with the avocado vinaigrette and seafood. How much is it? $14.95
Chef Christopher McCoy says: "This dish reminds us all that the warm weather, and a new season for fresh seafood, is here."
RBGrille, 1 West Grand Ave, (312) 243-1113 FULL MENU
CrossRoads Bar & Grill's Delta King

What's in it? A 1/2 pound Angus burger patty topped with crispy bacon, American cheese, coleslaw, BBQ pulled pork made with BarBQphoria sauce, lettuce, tomato and red onion all served on a fresh brioche bun.
Suggested Pairing? Scapegoat Pale Ale draft How much is it? $11.99
The Chef says: "We wanted to take a classic American burger and make it bigger and better, so we piled it high with fresh ingredients and then topped it off with our signature BBQ pork."
CrossRoads Bar & Grill, 1120 West Madison St, (312) 243-1113 FULL MENU
Frasca Pizzeria's Guinness Pizza

What's in it? The celebratory wood-fired pizza is made with a Guinness-crust, then topped with potatoes, bechemel and white onions.
Suggested Pairing? A pint of Guinness, what else! How much is it? $8
Owner Josh Rutherford says: "A great beer enhances the flavor of any product, which is the case with the Guinness pizza crust that we offer on St. Patrick's Day at Frasca Pizzeria. Baking the dough in our wood-fired oven really brings out the stout characteristics of the beer."
Frasca Pizzeria, 3358 North Paulina St, 773-248-5222 FULL MENU
Sunda's Devil's Basket

What's in it? Wok Tossed Crispy Soft Shell Crabs, Dried Chilis, Shallots, Scallions, Toasted Garlic
Suggested Pairing? O'Reilly Pinot Gris How much is it? $16.
Chef Rodelio Aglibot says: "This dish was inspired by a trip to Hong Kong"
Sunda, 110 W Illinois St, (312) 644-0500 FULL MENU
Marcus Riley
Gilt Bar's Roasted Bone Marrow Toast

What's in it? Toasted bread with roasted bone marrow, served alongside red onion jam and coarse salt.
How much is it? $12.
Owner Brendan Sodikoff says: "We use this term for our food called 'best ugly.' You look at it and some of the things are really rustic and charred and dark ... I like this kind of look. It suits the space and it suits the times."
Gilt Bar, 230 West Kinzie St, (312) 464-9544
Broward Sheriff's Office
Park 52's Shrimp and Grits

What's in it? Shrimp are sauteed with a vegetable stock, honey and a pinch of cayenne pepper and served atop grits cooked in vegetable stock, white wine, truffle oil and parmesan amd cream cheese.
Suggested Pairing? Lucashof Reisling - Pfalz 2007 How much is it? $15 for brunch/lunch, $24 for dinner
Chef Alain Njike says: "Our cuisine is prepared with the passion from the story it represents. Park 52 Shrimp & Grits, unifies the tradition of true soul food from it's African roots, with French and American influences, to create a unique essence only found at Park 52."
Park 52, 5201 S Harper Ave, (773) 241-5200 DINNER MENU
Cuna's Amish Chicken

What's in it? Grilled Amish chicken breast with acorn squash, arugula, and French green lentils that are cooked down with onion, carrot, garlic, celery, and thyme and lightly dressed in a parsley, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil.
Suggested pairing: Ferrari-Carano's 2009 Fume Blanc, which like all of Cuna's bottles of wine are are half off every Sunday. It's a 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma County that has citrus, mango, kiwi, and lime aromas that are complemented by flavors of vanilla, guava, and grapefruit.
How much is it? $14
Chef Kendal Duque says: "Our Amish chicken comes from an Indiana farm. It's rich with a lot of natural chicken flavor and has just right amount of fat. It pairs perfectly with the lentils to give it that winter warmness, and the acorn squash brings out just enough sweetness. It's a very simple dish."
Cuna, 1113 W Belmont, FULL MENU
Rockit Bar & Grill
Rockit's Rockit Burger

What's in it? Kobe beef, melted brie, fried shallots, medjool date aioli and red onion all served on a brioche bun and served with truffle fries.
Suggested pairing: Charles & Charles 2007 Red, which is one of the wines being featured by Cream Wines during this month's Half-Price Monday Wine Nights at Rockit Wrigley. A blend of cabernet sauvignon and syrah, the wine is dark, almost black, with a brooding nose of blackberry, cranberry, tobacco and sweet oak.
How much is it? $19
Chef James Gottwald says: "The brie and date are components of a composed cheese plate that I have always loved, and it made sense to me to balance it with a succulent kobe burger, on a brioche bun."
Rockit Bar & Grill (downtown and Wrigleyville locations), FULL DINNER MENU
Sushi Taiyo's New Style Sashimi
What's in it? Thin sliced tuna, salmon or yellowtail dressed with your choice of sauce: wasabi-herb, miso citrus, or soy-ginger. Sample a combination of fish for $1 more.
Suggested pairing: Setsugetsa Bijin 300ml Sake $15 or Crossings Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand) $9 glass, $38 bottle
The owner says: "Inspired by my husband's trips to Hong Kong, Tokyo and Shanghai, this dish features fresh and unique flavors. The citrus sauce pairs perfectly with our recommended sake or Sauvignon Blanc" -- Sandy Yu
How much is it? $12 for appetizer portion, $22 for dinner
Sushi Taiyo, 58 East Ontario St., (312) 440-1717
Gregory Shamus, Getty Images
Prasino's Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna
What's in it? Fresh Ahi Tuna sprinkled with sesame seeds and seared on both sides in hot sauté pan with no oil. It's drizzled with teriyaki sauce and served with a cucumber and radish salad flavored with scallions rice wine vinegar and salt & pepper.
Suggested pairing: Ginger Mint Lemon Drop -- Koval Rye Vodka, koval Ginger Liquor, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup, and mint sprigs. The Classic Lemon drop with Spicy and Sweet Additions.
The Chef says: "Lead to inspire and cook with passion." -- Scott Halverson
How much is it? $24.95
Prasino, 93 South La Grange Ave., La Grange, IL (708) 469-7058
Epic's Seared Scallops
What's in it? Dry scallops are seared in clarified butter until medium and caramelized. The fricassee is made with braised salsify, black trumpet mushrooms, leek fondue, house preserved lemon and shallots, and the scallops are placed on top of the fricassee. The plate is garnished with fried salsify for texture, micro beet greens and sauced with a light mushroom emulsion.
Suggested pairing: F. Weins-Prum Graaxher Domprobst / Misek 2004 (a Riesling spatlese).
The Chef says: "This dish represents the colder seasons, salsify, black trumpets...all fall/winter flavors. I learned this sauce from Chef Claude Troisgros almost 10 years ago and I'm still using it today – it’s a part of my permanent repertoire." -- Stephen Wambach
How much is it? $26
Epic, 112 West Hubbard St., (312) 222-4940 FULL MENUS
Aja's's Charred Chicken and Braised Pork Soup
What's in it? Slices of charred chicken thighs, braised pork and rice cake noodles swimming in aromatic chicken broth seasoned with ginger, cilantro and garlic and garnished with watercress, dried woodear mushrooms, cilantro and scallions.
Suggested pairing: A crisp, dry white wine that offers some citrus notes that bring out the fresh lime in the soup, like a California riesling or New Zealand sauvignon blanc.
The Chef says: "This soup is a great combination of aromatic southeastern Asian flavors. I love to infuse simple soups with a ton of fresh herbs and savory nuances." – Chef Joshua Linton
How much is it? $9
Aja, 660 North State Street 888.301.7952 FULL DINNER MENU
Le Colonial's Cari Tom
What's in it? Sautéed jumbo shrimp with Japanese eggplant in a coconut curry sauce.
Suggested pairing: 2007 Helfrich Gewurztraminer from Alsace, France. The Cari Tom has a mingling of intricate sweet and spice flavors, and a touch of creaminess on the palate. The aromatic, tropical spice notes of Gewurztraminer are an excellent match for the Cari Tom and its lively flavors.
The Chef says: “The Cari Tom demonstrates the Vietnamese style of curry-making, the Cari Tom is traditional fare in Vietnam. The flavors are extremely well balanced, in the sweetness of the coconut and the spice of the curry.” – Chef Chan Le
How much is it? $22
Le Colonial, 937 North Rush St., (312)255-0088
Ja' Grill's Jerk Chicken and Waffles
What's in it?You'll find this on the Sunday Brunch menu. A home made waffle is paired with Ja' Grill's succulent jerk chicken, seasoned with all-spice, herbs and spices and a whole bunch of other things they can't tell you about. Top it off with the rum butter syrup.
Suggested pairing: Bloody Mary
The Sous Chef says: "You can't go wrong pairing the best jerk chicken in the city with our fluffy waffles. A traditional Caribbean dish meets an American brunch dish with delicious results." -- Jose Marban
How much is it? $14 for a quarter chicken, $16 for a half.
Ja' Grill, 1008 W Armitage, (773)929-JERK.
Mezé Tapas Lounge
Mezé's Boursin Stuffed Peppadew
What's in it? South African pickled sweet peppers with garlic infused herb goat cheese with a bit of extra virgin olive olive to balance it out. Garnished with grilled vegetables and balsamic vinaigarette.
Suggested Pairing: Pairs perfectly with a crispy Chardonnay or Reisling.
From the Chef: -- "This dish is unique because of the contrasting flavors. Most of the people we recommend it to are pleasantly surprised by how good it is." -- Antonio Lopez
Price: $7
Mezé Tapas Lounge, 205 North Peoria St. 312.666.6625. VIEW FULL MENU
Tocco's Tortelli Con Tartufo
What's in it? Homemade tortelli filled with spinach and ricotta, sauteed with a touch of cream and sliced black truffles.
Suggested Pairing: Pairs perfectly with a glass of Barbera d’asti.
From the Chef: -- This dish remind's Chef Bruno Abate of his childhood in Italy when he would help his mother prepare tortelli. His mother told him white truffles complemented the dish perfectly, but they couldn't afford them. He experimented with various recipes until he mastered this signature dish.
Price: $16
Tocco, 1266 North Milwaukee Avenue (773)687-8895
Opera's Peking Duck
What's in it? This is a three part presentation. The duck breast is sliced and served with mushu pancakes, two sauces of sweet plum hoisen and Chinese mustard. Second is the leg and thigh with Chef's sauce of the day. Third is the shredded duck made in a stir-fry of chow fun noodles, gailon, egg, oyster sauce, and shitake mushrooms.
Suggested pairing: Pinot Noir, Apaltagua, Curico Valley, Chile, 2008
Chef's quote: This Pinot Noir has a brilliant ruby color and emphasizes aromas of cherries, raspberries, and soft notes of oak. It shows smooth and elegant tannins with a sophisticated finish. Pure, simple, tasty and perfect with Peking Duck. -- Erica Fischer
Price: $32
Opera, 1301 S. Wabash 312.461.0161 CHECK THE FULL MENU
Usagi Ya Sushi
Usagi Ya Sushi's Snowball Maki
What's in it? Sushi rice and white tuna with delectable white truffle sauce.
Suggested pairing: The Purple Haze, a combination of warm sake and Chambord.
Price: $14
sola, 1178 N. Milwaukee Ave. (773) 292-5885. CHECK THE FULL MENU
Sola's Ginger Glazed Salmon
What's in it? Roasted with a ginger/soy glaze, the dish is served with an edamame puree made with edamame, water, salt and pepper. The sauce is a house made teriyaki finished with butter and garnished with truffle oil.
Suggested pairing? "I like it with the A to Z Pinot Gris, but some drink it with a pinot noir. I'm a white wine girl!" -- Chef Carol Wallack
The chef says: "I call it a girl's best friend because it's all protein and no carbs!"
How much is it? $27
sola, 3868 North Lincoln Ave. (773) 327-3868. FULL MENU
Jacky's on Prairie's Stuffed Squid
What's in it? A squid is stuffed with Japanese bread crumbs, pine nuts, celery, onions and capers, baked for one hour and then grilled. It's served over grilled fingerling potatoes and tossed with cured black olive and sun dried tomato tapenade. The plate is finished with Meyer lemon sauce and topped with frisee and baby arugula.
Suggested pairing? A Cabernet Franc such as Clos Rougeard's Saumur-Champigny from 2003, because the earthy, herbal notes emphasize the nuanced grilled and olive flavors of the dish. Or try a sweeter white wine from Alsace such as a Domaine Gustave Lorenze’s 2007 Gewurztraminer.
The Chef says: "The inspiration for the dish is the Provencal Dish called Encornets Farcis (stuffed Squid) – I added other flavors to make it a more rounded dish."
Jacky's on Prairie, 2545 Prairie Ave., Evanston, 847.733.0899. FULL DINNER MENU
Bistro 110
Bistro 110's Tart Flambe

What's in it? The pizza dough, made of semolina, yeast, oil, salt and water, is covered with a large spoonful of creme fraiche, topped with sliced onions and pieces of bacon. It's cooked for about 10 minutes at 500 degrees in the wood burning oven.
Suggested pairing: Drink with a local brew, Two Brothers Domain Dupage French Country Ale, made beer de guard style. It's a caramel malt that pairs well with the sweet onion and smoky bacon. Wine lovers try the Martin Schaetzel Pinot Blanc. This Alsace wine has great minerality with a round, full mouth feel and is all organic.
The Chef says: "The Tarte flambee is a traditional recipe from the Alsace region of France, where I was born. It's a simple recipe that is most often and traditionally prepared in a wood burning oven. Since we have the chance to have a wood burning oven in Bistro 110, I wanted to offer this dish as a tribute to my 'origins.'" -- Chef Dominique Tougne
How much is it? The Tarte Flambee is part of Bistro 110's Five for Five $5 pizza menu. They're available after 5 p.m. in the bar area, along with table seating.
Bistro 110, 110 E Pearson St, (312) 266-3110. FULL MENU
People Lounge
People Lounge's Costillas

What's in it? Tempranillo-braised short ribs, orange juice and cumin-glazed carrots, sugar snap peas and roasted fingerling potatoes.
Suggested pairing: A hearty Cabernet like Windmill Cabernet Sauvignon ($9 glass/$36 bottle).
The Executive Chef says: "The slow-cooked short ribs have always been a favorite of mine because of the flavors that can be introduced through the braising process, and of course, the falling off the bone tenderness that results. The orange juice and cumin give the carrots life, with acidity, sweetness, and spice that highlight some classic Spanish ingredients. The snap peas provide a fresh, crispy texture, and the potatoes complete this dish with their starchy, hardy, goodness. When you put it all together you basically have a classic beef stew and who (amongst you meat eaters) cannot say, that a good stew hasn't warmed you stomach and soul on a cold winter day?" -- Ralph Steinberg
How much is it? $12
People Lounge, 1560 N. Milwaukee Ave, (773)227-9339. VIEW FULL MENU
Labriola Bakery Cafe
Labriola Bakery Cafe's Arugula Spinach and Mushroom Pizza

What's in it? This pie is handmade and baked in an all wood burning oven at 650 degrees. They use garlic infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Academilla Barilla, Grande Mozzarella Cheese, oven roasted portabella mushrooms and baby spinach. After baking, baby arugula is spread out across the pizza, allowing the heat to warm the fresh greens. It's then finish with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Suggested pairing: Delibori Pinot Grigio/Pinot Bianco Italian white wine
Chef's quote: "The Arugula Spinach and Mushroom Pizza is our version of a traditional white pizza using our specialty formulated pizza dough based on our artisanal bread." --Rich Labriola
How much is it? $12.95
Labriola Bakery Cafe, 3021 Butterfield Road, Oak Brook.
Eivissa's Paella (VIDEO)

What's in it? Chicken, chorizo and pork, arborio rice, saffron and various vegetables.
Suggested pairing: A glass of Eivissa's fresh Sangria
The Chef says: "Paella is a traditional Spanish dish, and something that you'd present to you friends and family with love and affection." -- Chef Dudley Nieto
How much is it? $8.95
Eivissa, 1531 N. Wells St., (312) 654-9500. FULL MENU
Zocalo's Trio de Guacamole
Most people are familiar with traditional guacomole, but at Zocalo, you can get three unique twists on this popular dish.
What's in it?
Tradicional: Freshly diced avocado mixed with tomatoes, red onion, cilantro and serrano peppers.
Rojo: Avocado mixed with roasted tomatoes, roasted onion and a roasted red jalapeño salsa
Fruta: Avocado mixed with fresh papaya, mango, habanero peppers and walnuts
All are served with corn, sweet plantain and malanga chips/
Suggested pairing: Zocalo offers more than 120 tequilas made with 100 percent blue agave. Start here.
The Chef says: "This dish definitely offers something for everyone and is truly a crowd pleaser." -- Gustavo Castañeda
Zocalo, 358 W Ontario, 312-302-9977.
Gemini Bistro
Gemini Bistro's Steamed PEI Mussels
What's in it?
Pancetta, Fresh Herbs, White Wine, Crusty Bread
Suggested pairing:
A Paul Priere Sancerre 2007 from the Loire Valley pairs beautifully with the mussels. It is a Sauvignon Blanc with floral and fresh fruit characteristics that makes it a very versatile food wine. The crisp acidity compliments the saltiness of the pancetta in the broth and brings out the richness of the mussels themselves.
Chef Quote:
"This dish is a classic bistro item, and is perfect to share at the table as an appetizer." -- Jason Paskewitz
Gemini Bistro, 2075 N Lincoln Ave., (773) 525-2522. FULL MENU
Taxim's Païdákia Me Pligoúri
What's in it?
The Mint Creek Farms rack of lamb is marinated in the traditional Greek "ladorigani" marinade of fresh oregano, lemon and Messinian extra virgin olive oil. After marinating, the lamb is grilled over oak wood and served with a side of bulgur wheat pilaf and skordalia sauce with oregano and pine nuts.

Suggested pairing:
Domaine Skouras 2006 "Megas Oenos" or Old Vine Aghiorghitiko (St. George).

The chef/owner says:
"My uncle Vaggelis was the best grillsman in our family. He used to have the whole clan drooling around his outdoor fire while he lovingly basted his paidakia with lemon, oregano and the best olive oil." -- David Schneider

How much is it?

Taxim, 1558 N Milwaukee Ave., (773) 252-1558. VIEW FULL MENU
Nick Saraga
Bar Novo's Smoked Rib Nachos
What's in it?
Flash fried tortilla chips are individually and generously topped with Gloucester-Cheddar Cheese, Shaved Prime Rib, and finished with fresh Heirloom Tomato Salsa and Guacamole.

Suggested pairing:
Bar Novo's White Mai Tai with Appleton White Rum, Don Q Limon, Cointreau and Orgeat.

Why should you eat it?
"When groups have been ordering the Prime Rib Nachos, they try to stick with just one, but they end up ordering another serving because they are that addicting. The White Mai Tai is the perfect sweet complement to the smoky prime rib and the sharp cheddar cheese." -- Matt Ochse, Director of Restaurants.

How much is it?

Bar Novo (Renaissance Chicago Hotel), (312) 372-7200. VIEW FULL MENU

Jake Melnick's
Jake Melnick's Ultimate Tailgate Burger
What's in it?
This double-decker burger starts off with a hand-made ground beef patty topped with Jake's house chili and cheddar cheese, then a middle bun and another ground beef patty piled high with shredded lettuce, salsa, guacamole, jalapeños, pepper-jack cheese and sour cream, finished with a top bun and a buffalo wing garnish, all held in place with a steak knife.

Suggested pairing
Keep it simple -- Bud Light

The chef says:
"We love football season here at Jakes. It's one of the best places to watch football in Chicago! I wanted to develop a burger for all of our football and burger-of-the-month fans that screams "Ultimate Tailgate." Burgers, beer, chili, nachos and wings all one meal. To me, that's football!" -- Robert Andrea

How much is it? The Ultimate Tailgating Burger is paired with fries and that Bud Light for $9.95.

Jake Melnick's Corner Tap, 41 E. Superior,
Duchamp's White Lobster Pizza
What's in it?
Maine lobster, royal trumpet mushrooms, taleggio, lemon zest and herb salad.

Suggest Pairings:
Wine: Kracher Pinot Gris
Beer: Delirium

The Chef says:
"My grandmother was ahead of her time in the kitchen. She was making white pizza before it was recognized in restaurants. She was very inventive with her recipe, using things like caramelized cauliflower and other unique flavors. I think that innovation transpires with my version of the dish, too. It’s all about using fresh ricotta, and the lemon zest gives it a refreshing taste. The taleggio and lobster add rich flavors as well.

How much is it?

Duchamp, 2118 N Damen Ave., (773) 235-6434. VIEW FULL MENU
XOCO's Seafood Caldo
What's in it?
Shrimp, mussels, catfish, red chile broth, potatoes, grilled knob onions, pea shoots, cilantro, lime.

Suggested pairing:
Pair this dish with the new blend, Topolovino Syrah. They are available exclusively in Topolobampo or Frontera Grill by the glass or bottle. Both are specially crafted by sommelier Jill Gubesch in collaboration with Qupé winemaker Bob Lindquist and Verdad winemaker Louisa Sawyer.

The chef says:
"XOCO is offering these amazing made-to-order caldos that feature everything from roasted vegetables to seafood to pork belly. The seafood caldo is a classic street food favorite. Full of flavor, vibrant and zing—this soup is perfect paired with our own house blend syrah." -- Rick Bayless, chef and owner, Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, XOCO Chicago.

How much is it?

XOCO, 449 N. Clark Street (enter on Illinois), (312) 334-3688. VIEW FULL MENU
Japonais' Hawaiian Hamachi
What's in it?
Hamachi, yuzu, soy sauce, spicy tobiko, tempura shallots, chives and ginger with hot oil drizzled on top.

Suggest Wine Pairing:
Pascal Jolivet Sancerre

The executive chef says:
"It's a refreshing dish with various textures and flavors that explode. Great starter dish." -- Jan Ichikawa

How much is it?

Japonais Restaurant, 600 W. Chicago Ave., (312)822-9600. VIEW FULL MENU

Red Light
Red Light's Jackie's Chocolate Bag
What's in it?
Jackie's Chocolate Bag is a rich chocolate "bag" filled with Belgian white chocolate mousse, fresh berries and a house-made raspberry sauce.

Suggested pairing: A 2 oz Godiva White Chocolate Shake.

The chef says: "I was inspired when watching a Julia Child show in which she featured a big bag of chocolate truffles. I translated that into the Chocolate Bag and it was a huge hit. Many have tried to copy the Chocolate Bag but they try to use a chocolate mold. Ours at Red Light are each hand made so the chocolate is really light and the whole dessert is really special." -- Jackie Shen

How much is it?
$10, but the Godiva White Chocolate Shake is included in the price until Oct. 11.

Special offer: When the 250,000th Chocolate Bag is sold, the lucky customer will receive a Chef's Tasting Dinner for four complete with paired wines and a private Chocolate Bag instructional session with Chef Shen in Red Light's kitchen.

Red Light, 820 W. Randolph, (312)733-8880. DESSERT MENU
Roti's Kabob Platter
What's in it:
The Roti Kabob Platter can pair off with a selection of Chicken, steak or an Atlantic Salmon kabob. The kabobs are marinated with fresh herbs, olive oil, a hint of garlic and a touch of lemon. It's nicely seared with a caramelized exterior and a moist succulent inside. The kabobs are served atop a freshly baked Rice Pilaf with a hint of spice, chicken broth and Turkish seasoning. The Israeli couscous also makes a nice substitution for the pilaf. The dish is also adorned with fresh greens, Ruby red tomatos and freshly diced cucumber salad, seasoned with lemon juice, vinegar and honey.

Suggested pairing:
The kabob platter can be paired with Roti's Pomegranate "White" Sangria (has that sexy rose tint to it) or the popular Red Sangria, both garnished with fresh fruit and just enough kick.

The Chef says: "The Roti Kabob Platter is the best of all worlds. Our customers love the fact that freshly cooked kabobs served with rice and tomato cumber salad can also be stuffed into a pita for a sandwich. Choose your own sauce and enjoy!" -- Chef Barry Brooks

How much is it?
$6.50 for chicken, $7.50 for steak and $8.50 for salmon.

Roti, 310 W. Adams, 10 S. Riverside and  additional locations in Northbrook and Vernon Hills. 312-236-3500. VIEW MENU
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ZOCALO's Crepas de Cajeta
What's in it?
Warm caramelized apple crepes served over a cajeta caramel sauce and complimented with dulce de leche ice cream.

Suggested pairing:
Choose one of the Añejo Tequilas from ZOCALO's extensive list.

Chef quote:
"Cajeta is a thick sauce/paste made from caramelized sugar and goat's milk. Cajeta is considered a specialty of and popularly associated with the city of Celaya in the state of Guanajuato. It is typically used to compliment fruits, ice cream or a simple slice of bread. Since our menu's focus is on regional Mexican cuisine, we wanted to make sure we incorporated this sweet staple from Celaya in our menu." -- Gus Castaneda

How much is it?

ZOCALO Restaurant and Tequila Bar, 358 W. Ontario. VIEW MENU
David Burke's Primehouse
Primehouse's Loaded Baked Potato Waffle,
What's in it?
The waffle is made with potato flakes as opposed to regular waffle batter (so it's much more savory), and topped off like a loaded baked potato with your favorite items including: Shredded cheddar cheese, bacon bits, sour cream, chopped scallions, grilled beef, sautéed garlicky shrimp. You can also get add-on toppings like 207L beef tips, garlic shrimp or fried eggs with truffles.

Suggested pairing:
Pairs perfectly with a signature Primehouse dry-aged steak of course, but from a drink perspective, order a Pinot Noir or a hearty ale.

The Chef says:
"We normally don't serve baked potatoes, so this is my version of a loaded baked potato served in an unusual and creative fashion Primehouse style, which is what we are known for here." -- Rick Gresh

How much is it?
$7 by itself, toppings extra.

David Burke's Primehouse, 616 N. Rush St., (312)660-6000
Nacional 27
Nacional 27's Center Cut Ahi Tuna
What's in It? Fire roasted corn, avocado, cilantro salsa.

Suggested Pairing: Just ask master mixologist Adam Seger.

How much? $22.95

The chef says: "Our tuna incorporates and showcases the bold and exotic flavors of Latin America and Nacional 27. We spice rub and sear only the freshest center-cut ahi tuna. The smokey flavors of the rub are balanced with a puree of avocados, lime juice, cilantro and jalepenos. The dish is topped with a zesty, fire-roasted corn and piquillo chili salsa. This is the perfect autumn dish!" -- Francisco Vilchez

Nacional 27, 325 W. Huron, 312.664.2727 View Full Dinner Menu
Sushi Samba
Sushi Samba's Double Cut Pork Chop
What's in it?
A 14 oz. pork chop is brined in Japanese mustard and apple cider. It's served over a Granny Smith apple, jicama, red jalapeno and lime ceviche. It's then glazed with a Japanese mustard gastrique.

Suggested pairing:
Goose Island's "Pere Jacques," a Belgian-style ale available at Sushi Samba.

The chef de cuisine says:
"In Chicago, a city of meat lovers with a fondness for pig, this is the best pork chop." -- Dan Tucker

How much is it?

Sushi Samba, 504 N. Wells, (312) 595-2500. VIEW DINNER MENU
one sixtyblue
one sixtyblue's Slow Cooked Pork Belly

What's in it?
Danish pork belly with Asian pear, jicama slaw, and a tangerine reduction. It's seasoned with a spice mixture (fennel, coriander, cumin, mustard seeds, cinnamon), drizzled on a reduction of tangerine juice, sugar and champagne vinegar, salted, and slow-cooked in a 300-degree oven for 4 hours. After it's cooled, McDonald slices it and serves it on top of jicama, carrot, Asian pear and fennel slaw drizzled with some of the reserved tangerine reduction.

Suggested pairing:
2007 Dr. Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube (a German Riesling)

The chef says:
"The combination of the fatty pork belly, the acidity of the tangerine reduction, and the crunchy, refreshing slaw that cuts through all the richness of the dish is awesome for the warm weather. I just think it's a really tasty and satisfying thing to eat."

How much is it?
$12 (appetizer)

one sixtyblue, 1400 W Randolph, (312)850-0303. VIEW FULL MENU

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