Get ready to put your new diet on hold (or at least cash in a cheat day or two) because Chicago Restaurant Week has returned — kicking off today Friday, January 27. More than 300 restaurants are participating this year, which means there's something for every palate. So get your taste buds warmed up and check out the kinds of dishes you're in for — plus learn about the chefs behind the magic — at these participating restaurants across the city:
Modern American menu in a vibrant setting in River North.
Chicken Roulade (Chicken Jus Simmered Overnight, Roasted Carrot Puree, Grilled Scallion Chimichurri)
About Executive Chef Matt Wilde
Raised in a rural Minnesota, Chef Matt Wilde was exposed to outdoor activities, such as hunting and fishing, at a young age. These pastimes helped him develop a deep appreciation for fresh, locally grown produce and ingredients. In Chicago, Chef Wilde served as executive chef at American Junkie in 2013 and at The Local Chicago in 2014. Following highly successful tenures at both establishments, Wilde opened a tapas restaurant, Black Bull, in Chicago’s Wicker Park, which was met with great success. In his current role as Executive Chef at adjacent Hubbard Inn and Joy District, Chef Wilde channels his extensive experience and diverse skill set, to lead the culinary teams at both establishments.
Inviting and casual yet refined, with family-style seating and a seasonal menu, in River North.
Lamb Hashwi (Ground Lamb, Hummus, Pine Nuts, Warm Pita)
Meet Executive Chef Ryan Sand
Sand, an Illinois native, attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, before beginning his professional culinary career as Chef de Partie at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Sand went on to work under renowned chef Thomas Keller as Sous Chef at Bouchon Bakery, Chef de Partie at Per Se and finally returned to Bouchon Bakery as Chef de Cuisine. Sand’s skill and vision for Bernie’s Lunch & Supper continues to elevate the restaurant as a must-try during this year's CRW.
French bakery, bar and brasserie in the Loop featuring French specialities and award-winning chefs.
Country Pork Ragú Orecchiette (Kale, Chili, Parmesan, Toasted Breadcrumbs)
Meet Executive Chef Matt Ayala
Matt Ayala is the Executive Chef of Cochon Volant Brasserie, located in the Loop neighborhood of Chicago. In 2013, Ayala was named one of Zagat’s ‘30 Under 30’ for his young culinary talent. His previous work includes Gilt Bar, Schwa, and Moto. Ayala currently runs operations at Cochon Volant Brasserie, in addition to room service, corporate events and banquet service for The Hyatt Centric Loop hotel.
A Michelin-guide-recommended rustic tavern specializing in wild game, craft beers and speciality cocktails, in West Town.
Fried Brussels Sprouts with House Pimento Cheese
Meet Executive Chef Brian Jupiter
Born and raised in New Orleans, Executive Chef Jupiter has always believed that Southern comfort food is a true art form. Pulling inspiration from closely held family secrets and recipes, Jupiter spent his childhood alongside his grandmother in her kitchen. After beginning his professional career at the age of 16, in the kitchen of New Orleans’ famed Aurora Steakhouse, Jupiter eventually moved to Miami to pursue degrees in Culinary Arts and Food & Beverage Management. In 2003, Jupiter made the move to Chicago to fill the role as Chef de Cuisine, and eventually Executive Chef, at Narcisse Champagne and Caviar Salon. In 2010, he became an integral part of the menu development for the opening of Frontier, as Executive Chef of Pioneer Tavern Group.
Global Latin and Indian fusion cuisine in a sleek and sensual space in River North.
Blackened Tamarind Ribs (Indian-Latin Tamarendo, Cilantro Garlic Quinoa, Tomatillo "Pachadi")
Meet Rohini Dey, Founder and Culinary Director of Vermilion
A leading restaurateur, a proponent of Indian cuisine with her unique Latin twist, and an avid supporter of women — former economist and management consultant Rohini Dey straddles the worlds of business and philanthropy across the U.S. and India. Dey was inspired to break away from her management consulting career by a desire to go entrepreneurial and a conviction that Indian cuisine in the U.S. was either confined to stereotypes, or timid and washed out. She created and developed the Vermilion concept and cuisine, leading the spectrum of entrepreneurial activities across her New York City and Chicago entities. As founder, owner and Culinary Director of Vermilion, Dey oversees the operations and culinary evolution of her restaurants.
Southern-inspired Mexican cuisine in a setting hearkening back to bygone luncheonettes, in Bucktown.
Back To Life Cocktail (Dungeness Crab, Squid and Shrimp Lightly Marinated in Tomato, Orange and Lime Juice and Tossed with Tomatoes, Habañeros, Avocado and Cilantro)
Meet Chef de Cuisine Dennis Bernard
In 2008, Bernard was hand-selected for the opening team of The Publican, where he birthed the legendary Publican brunch program, as well as overseeing the charcuterie program. In 2014, he rejoined One Off Hospitality Group after a brief hiatus to conceptualize Dove’s Luncheonette, where he now serves Southern-inspired Mexican food with the spirit of genuine hospitality as Chef de Cuisine.
Italian seafood in the Gold Coast.
Grilled Gem Lettuce Salad (With Apples, Carrots and Pistachio)
Meet Chef de Cuisine Erling Wu-Bower
Chef Wu-Bower started his culinary career under Chef Paul Kahan’s tutelage, and has worked with One Off ever since. In 2013, Wu-Bower opened Nico Osteria where he combines his love of fresh seafood and ingredient-driven fare to produce a singularly memorable dining experience.
Midwestern and Mediterranean–inspired shared-plates restaurant in the West Loop.
Meet Chef de Cuisine Perry Hendrix
Chef Hendrix's rustic menu, featuring Midwest ingredients from valued local purveyors, takes its cue from the sun-drenched wine regions of Southwestern Europe. Beyond reflecting the aromas, flavors and colors of the Mediterranean in its cuisine, avec has a moderately priced wine list that focuses on the region's boutique vineyards.
Brewery and restaurant with fun, vibrant atmosphere in the northern suburb of Evanston.
Applewood-Smoked Bacon-Wrapped Dates (Stuffed with Spanish Chorizo and Served with a Smokey Blue-Cheese Sauce)
About Executive Chef Debbie Evans
Executive Chef Evans hails from Liverpool, England. She has been working in the restaurant industry for over 20 years. When asked why she is at the Peckish Pig she simply says, "Because it's who I am; an entertainer who loves food, drink, people and life!"
PECKISH PIG | 623 Howard Street, Evanston, IL | 847-491-6778
RESTAURANT WEEK MENU | Reservations not required.
Modern yet rustic Italian in River North.
Meet Executive Chef Massimo Gaffo
Massimo Gaffo was born and raised in Rome, Italy. After attending culinary college, he stayed in Rome for a few years to work at the 5-star Grand Hotel, and shortly after, with Michelin-Star Chefs Gualtiro Marchesi and Davide Oldani. Upon moving to the U.S. in 1997, Gaffo worked as Executive Chef at various restaurants and was an adjunct professor at Kendall College. Rosebud Restaurants had the fortune of adding Massimo to its team in August of 2016. A very hands-on chef, Gaffo loves to make fresh, homemade pasta and has been doing it since the age of 8.
Steakhouse located in the historic McCormick Mansion in the Magnificent Mile.
Prime Rib (or switch it up and try the Mahi Mahi)
Meet Chef Leonard Delgado
"Delgado demonstrated his passion for food at a young age in his mother’s kitchen in hometown San Jose, California. His culinary career began shortly after when he finished high school to start an apprenticeship with certified master pastry chef Max Ackermann in Switzerland, specializing in French and Swiss pastries. Shortly following, Delgado earned an executive pastry chef certification from the American Culinary Federation in 1986. Combining his love for pastries with savory dishes, Delgado brings these impressive skills to Lawry’s The Prime Rib, overseeing the training program for Master Carvers and ensuring each cut of beef is aged to perfection and roasted for natural tenderness." (Food Newsfeed)
Elegant yet accessible Italian fare in the Loop.
Butternut Squash Soup (Roasted Squash, Apples, Maple Cream, Truffle Oil)
Meet Executive Chef Zachary Walrath
In 2006, Chef Zachary Walrath moved to Chicago from his hometown of Rock Falls, Illinois, to start culinary school. He graduated with his Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts from the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. He gained experience working at various restaurants in Chicago and in 2010 joined the culinary team at the newly opened Wit Hotel, where he worked under Chef Todd Stein before he was recruited by Stein to join him as Chef de Cuisine at The Florentine. Now as the Executive Chef, Zachary has developed his own unique approach to the menu, adding a contemporary touch to traditional Italian cuisine and incorporating influences and inspirations he finds while dining out at various restaurants in Chicago.
Casual Italian restaurant in Andersonville.
Manzo Meatballs (Made with Ground Beef, Braised Beef Cheeks, Pomodoro and Whipped Herb Ricotta)
Meet Executive Chef Fred Ramos
"Executive Chef Fred Ramos (Printer's Row; Gioco; Angelina Ristorante) is at the helm of Bar Roma's kitchen. Ramos brings extensive knowledge of Italian cuisine and presents classic Roman dishes like Cacio e Pepe (Spaghetti alla Chitarra, Pecorino, Fresh Ground Black Pepper), Carciofi alla Giudia (Fried Baby Artichokes) and Abbacchio Scottadito (Wood-Grilled Lamb Chops), in addition to an array of Polpette (Meatballs), Hot and Cold Antipasti, House-Made Pasta, Seafood, Steak and Chops, Sides and Dessert." (Chicago Food Magazine)
Contemporary Mexican cuisine, interpreted. In Logan Square.
Ceviche Tostada (Sea Bass, Shrimp, Guacamole, Habañero)
Meet the Team
Dos Urban Cantina is a partnership between two husband and wife teams: Executive Chef Brian Enyart (14-year veteran of Frontera Grill/Topolobampo) and Pastry Chef Jennifer Jones Enyart (Charlie Trotter’s, Frontera Grill/Topolobampo), as well as Michael Rotolo (20-year Lettuce Entertain You veteran/Joe’s Stone Crab) and Erika Martinez Rotolo (RPM Italian/Lettuce Entertain You). Inspired by the boldness and bounty of Mexico, the menu is an original interpretation of Mexican cuisine that embraces contemporary flavors and ingredients.DOS URBAN CANTINA | 2829 W. Armitage Avenue | 773-661-6452
RESTAURANT WEEK MENU | RESERVE A TABLE
American, smokehouse fare with an upscale twist, in River North.
Cake Shake Really Chocolate Fudge Cake
Meet Corporate Chef Jeremy Tannehil
Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Tannehill (Corporate Chef of Public House) was lured into the culinary world when his passion for the industry and food was recognized through his previous jobs. One of the first in the kitchen every morning, Tannehill is constantly developing the Public House menu overseeing and managing all aspects of the food program. Often getting his inspiration from trips to the farmers market to see what is seasonally available and at home gardening, Tannehill is continually coming up with new menu items and concepts helping drive traffic and keeping customers coming back to Public House wanting more.
PLUS! A cool give-back: This year, the DineAmic Group (Public House, Siena Tavern, Bar Siena, Prime & Provisions) will participate in Chicago Restaurant Week 2017 with lunch and dinner prix fixe menus and will include all of the restaurant favorites. Plus, there will be a brunch component where DineAmic Group will donate $1 per menu ordered to the Auxiliary Board of Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and commenters and do not reflect the views of Choose Chicago.