Chef Mark Chmielewski abides by the philosophy that less is more. But his new restaurant, Ovie, is anything but minimal. Housed in Ogilvie Transportation Center, the spot encompasses white-tablecloth dining, martinis, grab-and-go sandwiches, a happy hour wine bar and a soon-to-open banquet room.
The native New Yorker took inspiration from the commuter experience in the Big Apple. “People leave 30 minutes early to get a martini before getting on the train home. That’s the kind of place I want to be,” says Chmielewski. He brings the romance back to train travel with an airy dining room, a soundtrack of jazz music and nearby rumbling trains and a menu that accommodates a variety of dining styles. You’ll also find updates on classic cocktails such as the Ovie martini, a blend of Belvedere vodka, vermouth and orange bitters ($11) — an ideal way to decompress after a busy day.
Chmielewski, formerly of The Signature Room and Smith & Wollensky, lets the ingredients shine on unfussy dishes like the Caprese salad, made with heirloom tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella, basil and a light drizzle of balsamic and olive oil ($9); and lightly breaded fritters of wild mushroom risotto, which allows the earthy flavors to resonate in the arancini ($9). Or take the later train for unhurried options like wild mushroom ravioli ($17), filet mignon ($28) or pan-roasted duck served with a sweet potato puree and Brussels sprouts ($23).
But at Ovie there is no need to slow down for a gourmet meal. On-the-go items such as a house-smoked corned beef Cuban ($9), made with lightly salted corned beef, a layer of melted Gruyere cheese, Thousand Island dressing and sauerkraut, will make even the longest commute bearable.
Open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m. (312) 902-1111, 120 N. Canal; Oviebarandgrill.com