Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, the Chicago restaurant scene continues to heat up. So even if Santa doesn’t bring you what you want, a great meal or food experience is just around the corner.
On the North Shore, we welcome the Ten Mile House (1700 Central St., Evanston, 847-905-0669) in Evanston (read our full review here). Lots of people pleasers and updated takes on bar food and BBQ here; don’t miss the Gruyère Fondue with Mushrooms and Bacon. Deka, a French-Russian hybrid brasserie, has opened in Wheeling (401 E. Dundee Road, Wheeling, 847-520-3352). They are trying to bring the North Shore community “a city experience, without the hassle of traffic.” You’ll find a plethora of caviar with warm blini, Cassoulet, Chicken Kiev and French Onion Soup Gratinée. And vodka. Lots and lots of vodka!
Chicago is filled with new restaurants. Ate a super-satisfying meal at Oak & Char (217 W. Huron St., Chicago, 312-643-2427) recently—delicious beverage program, very of-the-moment menu filled with gems you didn’t know you craved, like the Goat Strozzapreti with pistachio gremolata and mint ricotta. It was amazingly flavorful. The perfect winter dish. Had another great pasta at Acanto (18 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-578-0763), located just across from Millennium Park, and so handy for downtown shopping and the art museum. Still dreaming of the Black Peppercorn Rigatoni with spiced lamb ragout, as well as the outstanding Veal Parmigiano.
Change is in the Air
Have you checked out the remodel at O’Neil’s (1003 Green Bay Road, Winnetka, 847-446-7100)? They’ve got a new look, a new menu, even a brand new playlist. It’s got a more casual feel, and the prices reflect it. Change is good!
Jerry’s (505-507 Chestnut St., Winnetka, 847-441-0134) has been sold to Steve Leviton, who will close the restaurant for the month of January to remodel the space, which will be then known as “Taste on Chestnut.” Check out their New Year’s Eve Menu and celebrate with them as they say goodbye to the old Jerry’s and usher in the new restaurant.
Speaking of New Year’s…
My inbox is crowded with New Year’s Eve news, and here are some dining events to consider: Bottlefork (441 N. Clark, Chicago, 312-955-1900) is the place to be in River North, with an early seating ($95) and a “Ball Drop” seating ($140) to enjoy chef Kevin Hickey’s delectables, along with paired cocktails, wine or beer. Travelle (Langham Hotel, 330 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago, 312-923-7705) will have two seatings as well (early three-course menu, $95 per person, later five-course menu at $175). Champagne cart, live music and party favors. So festive!
In the ‘burbs, New Year’s Eve is a party at The Happ Inn (305 Happ Road, Northfield, 847-784-9200) with celebratory toasts at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and all bottles of wine will be discounted (25 percent for reserve wines, 50 percent for all others). In Evanston, check out Feast and Imbibe for your celebration. They’ve partnered with Moet & Hennessy, so the champagne will be flowing. Co-owners Heather Bublick and chef D’Andre Carter are offering a Cocktail Party ($75), four-course luxury menu ($95) or “celebrate all night” ($150) options.
Keeping It Fresh
Speaking of Evanston, be sure to check out the Indoor Farmer & Artisan Market, held every Saturday through April 25 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., held at the Evanston Ecology Center (2024 McCormick Blvd., Evanston). Lots of local food artisans and fresh produce to be found.