After winning raves with his Asian barbecue fare at the six-month-old Belly Q, chef Bill Kim (also the brains behind Urban Belly and Belly Shack) has just launched brunch at the West Loop spot. “We take things people know or grew up on and put our twist on it,” says Kim of the menu, which includes items such as French toast with Asian caramel ($11) and maple-glazed Togarashi bacon ($6). And the twists don’t stop there — the brunch also features a DJ and cocktails such as the mezcal-based Fists of Fury ($11), mixed with passion-fruit drinking vinegar and absinthe. Here, the chef fills us in on his new menu — and Belly Q’s legendary karaoke nights.
Chicago Chop House The signature New York Strip ($49) and Surf & Turf ($39) are can’t-go-wrong options on a winning menu that has barely been altered since the restaurant’s opening in the ’80s. 60 W. Ontario, (312) 787-7100, Chicagochophouse.com Chicago Cut A favorite of Chicago athletes, Cut butchers and dry-ages its USDA Prime steaks on-site. Stop in for happy hour, where the bar’s cocktail menu is displayed on iPads. 300 N. LaSalle, (312) 329-1800, Chicagocutsteakhouse.com Chicago Firehouse Firehouse’s 110-year history alone makes it worth a trip, as some structural elements — like the two original fire poles in the bar — remain. Go big with the 22 oz. Porterhouse ($53). 1401 S. Michigan, (312) 786-1401, Chicagofirehouse.com Del Frisco’s Chef Jim Teutemacher complements cooked-to-perfection cuts of beef with hearty sides like lobster macaroni and cheese at Chicago’s newest steakhouse, which recently took up residence in the old Esquire building. 58 E. Oak, (312) 888-2499, Delfriscos.com Gene and Georgetti The oldest steakhouse in Chicago has hosted celebs past and present, from Frank Sinatra to Russell Crowe. The atmosphere is elegant, but it’s the food — such as broiled strip loin steak ($49.75) — that keeps ’em coming back. 500 N. Franklin, (312)…
With menu items such as fish and chips, curry fries and scotch eggs — plus an impressive selection of Irish whiskeys — it’s easy to see why The Gage is often mistaken for an Irish restaurant. But that’s seriously shortchanging the Michigan Avenue eatery.
Last year, when Susan McMillan and Amelia Fonti set out to find a chef to bring their new gluten-free restaurant concept to life, they did what some people do when they’re searching for a new sofa: they placed an ad on Craigslist. “Then we had a Top Chef-style cook-off, and Noah was the clear winner,” McMillan says of Noah Sandoval, the 31-year-old executive chef of their Lakeview restaurant, Senza. Now, after six months of building a loyal fan base, McMillan and Fonti are opening up their dinner-only restaurant for a few morning hours to hawk their artisanal breads and pastries.
As the team behind Rockit Bar & Grill, Sunda and the Underground, Brad Young, Billy Dec and Arturo Gomez have proven they can execute both inventive food and a killer nightlife scene. The two concepts come together at ¡Ay Chiwowa!, the latest spot from Rockit Ranch Productions. Situated in the old Martini Ranch space, the late-night bar/restaurant pays homage to its predecessor by serving up kegged cocktails, top-tier tequila, nightly DJs and authentic Mexican eats with a gourmet twist.
Sundays have always been a day to dine with family, and nobody understands that better than Wood co-owners Franco Gianni and Gary Zickel. The pair have been partners in business and in life for nearly 10 years — their past projects include Sushi Wabi and Tank Sushi — and chose the name of the restaurant as an homage to Gianni’s father, who died shortly before the spot’s launch last summer. “He was in the woodworking business, and he always wanted me to be a part of that,” explains Gianni. “This is my tribute to him.”
Lunchtime was made merrier at Splash last week, when chef Vincent Colombet — along with his publicist, Liz Kores— dropped by with a basket full of French baguettes and delicious fillings. Colombet, the brains behind French bakery La Boulangerie, set up a station in the Splash intern area and whipped up baguette sandwiches such as The Spanish (serrano ham, manchego cheese, fig and almonds), the Caprese (greens, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, housemade pesto, balsamic glaze and basil) and the Wisconsin (greens, grilled chicken, brie, apple butter and avocado). We’ve found a new favorite lunch spot. Merci beaucoup, Liz and chef Vincent!
Cough up some major cash and you can lounge on a Brazilian beach, feasting on fresh lobster tail and sipping caipirinhas. Or, do your wallet a favor and get the same flavor — for a fraction of the cost — at La Sirena Clandestina, a 40-seat hot spot that opened last fall. Tucked into a corner of Fulton Market, this unassuming eatery seems more fit in a small fishing town than a big Midwestern city. But that’s exactly what chef John Manion intended. “I wanted it to feel different from the big restaurants you typically find in Chicago,” says Manion, formerly of Branch 27, Mas and Goose Island. His inspiration? A quaint Brazilian city called Buzios that Brigitte Bardot famously visited in the ’60s.