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Jul 19, 2007 01:26 PM

CHI : artful yet filling

I live in Minneapolis and will be visiting a friend in Chicago soon. I'd like to take him out for his birthday and I need help. When in Chicago three weeks ago, I ate at Green Zebra and loved it. This is the kind of place I like: several small courses, artful presentation, innovative work with produce, chef driven. My friend appreciates great food and is a bit of a Francophile. However, he is a professional athlete and complains that these types of restaurants are frustrating for him since he is either left hungry OR it becomes frighteningly expensive. And I probably can't afford to feed him until he's full on small plates.

Any recommendations for a place that has has refined chow appeal while also being able to feed someone with a hearty appetite? I've been to Custom House and loved that (next stop for me is Spring to hit all of Shawn McClain's places), but am looking for something slightly less expensive. Our home base is Ukrainian Village and we are public transportation troopers. Thanks!

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  1. Quartino
    626 N. State St.
    It sounds like Quartino will fit the bill. It's small plates Italian.

    702 W. Fulton Market
    Carnivale is Nuevo Latino in a pretty cavernous cool space. Tasty creative food, great drinks at decent prices. Great view from the outdoor balcony as well. Really fun place!

    Jake Melnick's Corner Tap
    41 E. Superior St.
    If Mr. Athlete wants to dress it down and catch some sports and decent bar food, try Jake Melnicks. Decent beer selection, plenty of tv's, great skirt steak and burgers, for reasonable prices, etc.

    1. Lula Cafe is the tops: organic, tasty, reasonable, cool (I hate to sound like a broken record, but I recommend it all of the time).