We guess they'll have to change the name to Chicago Restaurant Half-Month because the citywide dining promotion, an initiative of the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, is being extended another week. Chicago Restaurant Week, which was set to wrap up on Friday, Feb. 27, is going to be going stong another seven days until Friday, March 6. If you haven't covered all of the gastronomic ground you hoped to, now's your second chance.
Just a refresher: Chicago Restaurant Week (CRW) kicked off in more than 130 eateries throughout the area on Friday, Feb. 20. The participating venues are offering three-course, prix-fixes lunches for $22 and three-course, prix-fixe dinners for $32 (and some enterprising places are serving up both).
Some (more) places on our to-eat list:
Jerry Kleiner's vibrant Carnivale is pulling out all of the stops for CRW. Served at both lunch (in slightly smaller portions) and dinner, the menu includes your choice of "pozole" (a dish made with pork, chiles and hominy), an empanada with spinach, butternut squash and parmesan or a salad with arugula, olives, blood orange and manchego cheese for your first course; an entree choice of "lomo saltado" (beef tenderloin with aji panca, a type of chile pepper), Arctic char (with black bean puree, Swiss chard and lemon-garlic vinaigrette) or "pinon" (with plantains, vegetable picadillo and mozzarella cheese); and for all-important dessert, take your pick from "budin" (plantain bread pudding), coconut flan or seasonal housemade ice creams.
The hip Ajasteak in River North's super-sleek Dana Hotel and Spa is a chic destination for lunch or dinner. The restaurant is offering both lunch and dinner menus for CRW, both equally enticing. For lunch, make a selection from crispy chili rock shrimp, shiro miso soup with scallion and tofu, and a market green salad with Japanese ranch dressing for starters; a prime burger with sweet pickles and tempura onion rings, a roasted miso salmon with wok-tossed Asian veggies, or a vegetable-and-rice cake noodle stir fry for your main course; and either a milk chocolate parfait with macerated oranges and hazelnut crunch or a mango-raspberry melba with lime granita and gingersnaps for a sweet finale. The dinner menu is similar, with the addition of a few dishes: waygu beef carpaccio and green papaya-avocado-mango maki with shiso as first courses, and charred hangersteak and a savory roasted mushroom pastry with arugula and sweet red onions for entrees.
Lockwood, an elegant oasis in the historic Palmer House Hilton property in the Loop, is featuring sophisticated lunch and dinner CRW menus. Choose from soup of the day, mushroom soup with Kendall Farm's creme fraiche, a Caesar salad or a portabello mushroom salad for your lunch starter course; Scottish salmon served on a pretzel bun with braised endive, pears and whole-grain mustard or the Lockwood burger with fig-peppercorn ketchup and a sunny side up egg for your entree; and either Bertha's brownie served with a glass of chocolate milk mousse, chocolate ice cream and chocolate-shiraz sauce, an apple tarte tatin with star anise ice cream and salted caramel or a classic creme brulee for dessert. The dinner offerings see the addition of Blue Hill Bay mussels as a starter, and free range chicken with Jerusalem artichokes, eggplant and garlic jus, drunken risotto cooked in merlot with bacon and wild mushrooms and Scottish salmon medallions served with olives, fennel, citrus and herb oil with a petite salad as satisfying entree selections.