One Night in Chicago - Something Fresh
Hi there, i'm arriving in Chicago soon and will be spending only one night there before i continue on to my final destination nearby. I'll be travelling over two days so going to be pretty tired/lagged and not looking for anywhere formal or too fancy.
i am basically looking for somewhere that's serving fresh & light food, which i'll undoubtedly want after eating microwaved stuff on my journey. Small plates, sushi, salads, best local produce would be great - but if there's anything a Brit in Chicago shouldn't miss, i'd consider that too.
going to head to somewhere like scofflaw after, for cocktails, so anywhere in the centre of town or around logan square (or in between) works well.
Lula is great and located steps from the city's Blue line (easy transit). Great produce (local/seasonal is key for them), though the menu is pretty traditional as far as starters/entrees -- but you could make a light meal with a couple of starters, for sure. Scofflaw is well deserving of all its accolades but it's not necessarily the most accessible location. A cab from Logan Square shouldn't be hard to find - but getting back from Scofflaw might require calling one when you're ready to leave. I would not necessarily recommend walking to/from Scofflaw.
Yusho is near Logan Square, too, and is really, really good. Very innovative cocktail program, lots of small plates with strong Japanese influences. Longman & Eagle may not work well for the kind of food you're looking for (it runs a little on the heavy/meaty side - though there are some lighter dishes on the menu -- check it out online and see if speaks to you), but the bar program is very good, too. It's likely to be very crowded and pretty lively, but maybe that would be a plus for you. Great selection of bourbons, too.
To the southeast of Logan Square (meaning the actual square - er, traffic circle), there's The Whistler -- tiny cocktail bar with a lot of interesting options. It will likely be very crowded from 8ish and on ward, though there is a patio that can relieve some of the crowding (of course, if this heatwave is still going on when you get here...). No food and there's often live music covering an eclectic mix of acts, it might be worth checking out their online calendar first to see if it sounds compelling (or something to avoid). Revolution is a brewpub a little further down the street and serves up the city's best beer at the moment. Lots of house-made options, as well as some interesting guest taps -- they also have a couple of cask options if you want a taste of home while traveling. But I'd stick to beer here -- their cocktails are... not their strong suit.
How about some ceviche and other light dishes at Topolobampo? I really liked the duck salad and mariscos de sabor (shrimp, squid, scallops) at lunch a few days ago. It's "business casual" but you can also dine at the bar. Some of the produce comes from the chef's own garden IIRC.