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Chicago Restaurant Week - February 19-28, 2010

This is the big one, with over 150 restaurants participating. 3-course prix fixe meals are $22 lunch, $32 dinner. This year's participating restaurants are listed on the Chicago Convention and Visitors Bureau's website at www.choosechicago.com/eatitup/Pages/R...

For reports on meals during last year's event, see the discussion at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/585615

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  1. This is my favorite week in Chicago - can't wait!!!!

    1. I'm looking at the Merlo on Maple and Chicago Firehouse menus. They look great! Any other menus stand out to anyone?

      1. i'm definitely interested in RW but will need some recommendations. last year i checked out aria (totally underwhelmed), aigre doux (very nice), and onesixtyblue (fantastic). seasoned RW people, post away! help the rest of us!

        2 Replies
        1. re: rebecca_f

          Last year, I did Cafe des Architectes and loved it. However, it's worth noting that they now have their very similar "neighborhood friends menu" Sundays through Tuesdays every week, 3 courses for $29. I also did one sixtyblue and was very disappointed.

          Unfortunately, you won't be able to do Aigre Doux again. They've closed.

          1. re: nsxtasy

            Just did Cafe des Architects on Sunday based on your recommendations from last year and I was equally impressed. My table mate and I ordered the duck confit and shepherds pie for appetizer. The duck confit was a perfectly crisp leg and thigh of duck with a nice citrus salad. My shepherd's pie was heavy (creamy mashed potatoes on top and braised beef blow), but I didn't mind at all since a furious snow storm was whipping outside. I thought my friend's fish entree was a bit bland, but my flat iron steak was delicious and cooked precisely to order. I would ONLY want for a slightly tangier sauce to contrast with all the rich meat and umami mushrooms. Our desserts were equally solid. My friends praline crunch was a dense chocolate cake with crunchy nuts while my mango dessert would have been better had it been less sweet (maybe a mint leaf would have helped).

            -----
            Cafe des Architectes
            20 East Chestnut Street, Chicago, IL 60611

        2. Choosing where to go during Restaurant Week is very difficult. You can't always tell which ones are a great deal, and which ones aren't. Some of the restaurants are priced such that $32 for 3 courses isn't the best deal they have. For example, La Sardine has a deal in which every Tuesday, you can choose any 3 courses from the menu for $25. OTOH sometimes restaurants will feature wines or other bargains in addition to the RW special, or even throw in an extra course. You just don't always know where the best deals are.

          Of course, it's a great time to try a restaurant you've been wanting to try anyway, to see what it's like as well as to see what surprises they have as part of the Restaurant Week menu.

          I'm looking forward to it, but haven't decided on any places yet. It's still early, and a lot of restaurants have not yet made their RW menu available on their website.

          1. just wna say that blackbird is now offering dinner!

            1. I'm new to the area, so I will take any recommendations on where to eat ... where will I get the most bang for the buck?

              9 Replies
              1. re: jgvick

                Some of the restaurants offer significant savings during Restaurant Week, while at others the savings may be minimal. For example, restaurants like Blackbird, NoMI, and Naha normally cost a lot more than the Restaurant Week price; but at La Sardine, they have a special every Tuesday in which you can select any three courses for $25, which is less than the Restaurant Week price. Similarly, Cafe des Architectes offers their "neighborhood friends menu" Sundays through Tuesdays for $29, which is less than the Restaurant Week price. That doesn't mean you don't get great bang for the buck at these places; you do. You just don't save all that much more for Restaurant Week than at any other time. Hope that makes sense.

                In case it helps, here are what I consider to be the best restaurants that are participating in this Restaurant Week promotion, in each of the following categories:

                Contemporary American - Cafe des Architectes, Blackbird, Atwood Cafe, Naha
                French bistro - La Sardine, Brasserie Jo, Mon Ami Gabi
                Italian - Cafe Spiaggia, Coco Pazzo, Pane Caldo
                Steakhouse - David Burke's Primehouse
                Seafood - Hugo's, Shaw's, Catch 35
                Tapas - Mercat a la Planxa, Café Ba Ba Reeba
                Latin Fusion - Carnivale, Nacional 27
                Mexican - Frontera Grill & Topolobampo, Salpicon
                Asian - Aria, Le Colonial
                Fine Dining - NoMI, Seasons

                1. re: nsxtasy

                  Thank you very much for your suggestions ... My plan is to try at least 5 of them during the week. Thanks again.

                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    The Metromix website has its own recommendations for which places to check out during Restaurant Week (as well as which ones to avoid because they have similar promotions at other times). See http://chicago.metromix.com/restauran...

                    1. re: nsxtasy

                      Chicago Magazine weighs in with its own recommendations, including reservation availability, at www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/F...

                      1. re: nsxtasy

                        This was the first one that I tried during Restaurant Week, and I will tell you that I will eat there again this week. The food was incredible. I did the lunch, and for $22, it was amazing. The Kobe Beef Sashimi was incredible ... and the truffel mayo ... OMG!! The Delmonico Steak was so tender ... But I was surprised that the server did not know what "blue" was, so I had to explain to him that it would be considered extra rare. The mushrooms had great flavor, and the basil whipped mashed potatoes were incredble. I did the "King" for dessert, but I want to go back and do the White Chocolate Cheesecake ... I saw that come out, and it looked unbelieveable. I think that I will also do the surf and turf dumplings the next time as well. Overall FANTASTIC!! So I thank you so much for that recommendation ... Oh, and I would do lunch for the special if possible. I just think that it is an incredible deal.

                        -----
                        David Burke's Primehouse
                        616 N Rush Street, Chicago, IL 60611

                        1. re: jgvick

                          I second that! Had lunch there and it was an amazing deal and a great lunch!

                  2. re: jgvick

                    Here's the link to an article in the AV Club of Chicago (no, I have no idea who or what they are either) as reprinted in the Huffington Post. It claims to have applied some formula for the best deals. Worth a look.

                    http://www.avclub.com/chicago/article...

                    1. re: chicgail

                      We're the arts and entertainment section of The Onion. :) Thanks for the referral!

                  3. Phil Vettel, the restaurant critic for the Tribune, reports on his first Restaurant Week meal, lunch at Cafe des Architectes: http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.co...

                    It sounds as though this is planned as a series to run throughout Restaurant Week.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: nsxtasy

                      What a great job. Eating your way through Restaurant Week. And then getting paid for it.

                      1. re: nsxtasy

                        Vettel reports on dinner at one sixtyblue: http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.co...

                        Funny, the two restaurants he has done so far for Restaurant Week are the same two I ate at and posted about on Chowhound last year: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/598661

                        1. Phil Vettel's "10 things to know about Chicago Restaurant Week" - http://www.chicagotribune.com/enterta...

                          1. Some restaurants are extending their participation in Chicago Restaurant Week - some for a few days, some for this entire week, and some for the entire month of March. More: http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.co...

                            1. how much will spiaggia cost>?

                              -----
                              Spiaggia
                              980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jguskadoo

                                This topic is for last year's Restaurant Week. There's a new topic for this year's Restaurant Week, at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/759689 Spiaggia is not participating, but Cafe Spiaggia is. Use the link at that topic and you'll find a link to the menus for Cafe Spiaggia and other participating restaurants.