'Tis the season for camping and fireside noshing, but since actual campfires can be hard to come by in city limits, restaurants are bringing the Americana pastime to you. Nothing captures edible outdoor nostalgia quite like a good s'more, something handily available at a number of restaurants in Chicago. And you don't even need to worry about bug spray!
Prime & Provisions (222 N. LaSalle St.)
The crown jewel of neoteric s'mores desserts in Chicago may very well belong to Loop newcomer Prime & Provisions. The chic steakhouse features an interactive s'mores dessert on their menu, and it's quite the stunner. A notable improvement, aesthetically, over most gooey s'mores of childhood yore, the version at Prime & Provisions looks more like a Top Chef science experiment than a nostalgia creation. It consists of a chocolate dome that encases graham cracker, marshmallows and ice cream. It's topped off with a hot chocolate sauce, which actually melts the chocolate dome, releasing aromas of graham cracker and campfire smoke. It's so visceral, you'll feel like you're on vacation in the woods.
Chuck's: A Kerry Simon Kitchen (224 N. Michigan Ave.)
S'mores made their way onto the new summertime menu at Chuck's: A Kerry Simon Kitchen for the season. Upping the ante on this cozy comfort food, the downtown restaurant has adapted it into a bread pudding, studding the dessert with milk chocolate, graham cracker, marshmallow sauce and a s'mores streusel.
The Promontory (5311 S. Lake Park Ave.)
Things are getting smoky at The Promontory. After all, the Hyde Park restaurant bills itself as a hearth-driven American restaurant, so it makes sense that the smoky cooking vessel carries over onto the dessert side of the menu, for a very fitting s'mores variation. The dessert features smoked chocolate soufflé, smoked graham cracker ice cream and brûléed marshmallow.
Kanela Breakfast Club (3321 N. Clark St. and other locations)
Why wait until after dinner to partake in s'mores when there's breakfast to be had? At Kanela Breakfast Club, waffles serve as the perfect blank canvas for a campfire-inspired treat. Thick, crispy, Belgian-style waffles are bedecked with Nutella, crushed graham crackers, caramelized marshmallows and chocolate sauce.
Bee & Tea (1843 W. North Ave. and 818 W. Fullerton Ave.)
The all-American confection adapts an Asian accent at Bee & Tea, the cute bubble tea and bao shop with locations in Bucktown and Lincoln Park. One of their bao sandwiches, in fact, is an apt summery dessert, stuffed with hazelnut spread, marshmallows, and graham cracker crumbs. Then there's the bao itself, conveniently marshmallow-soft and pleasantly chewy.
Photos: Prime & Provisions; Chuck's: A Kerry Simon Kitchen; Kanela Breakfast Club