Chicago Restaurant News
Celebrity chef Rick Bayless partners with an unlikely group for his latest fast-casual eatery, Tortazo, at Catalog at Willis Tower: the Filipino multinational food service company Jollibee Corporation. Expect no Filipino food here, however. The lunch and dinner concept brings to life Bayless' love of Mexican fare with seasonal salads and soups, tortas, bowls and chilaquiles. The menu features local ingredients, including pork sourced from Indiana's Gunthorp Farms and stone-ground tortillas from El Milagro in Chicago. A full bar highlights fresh margaritas, mezcal cocktails, craft beer and wine. Tortazo, Catalog at Willis Tower, 233 S. Wacker Dr., Chicago, IL 60606, 312-962-7700.
The freshest catch on the Chicago riverfront? RPM Seafood, the latest offering from Jerrod and Molly Melman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises and celebrity couple Bill and Giuliana Rancic. The multilevel restaurant is the third and final installment of a trifecta of food and beverage spots from the partners – Pizzeria Portofino and RPM Events are the others. The eatery takes advantage of its waterfront location with a 2,000-square-foot terrace, plus two other private terraces reserved for events. The space is reminiscent of Italian and French seaside towns with blond wood and light cream tones to maximize the open-air feel. Executive chef Bob Broskey (Beacon Tavern, Intro, L20) creates a menu of crudo and tartare, seafood towers, grilled seafood and seafood steaks, complemented by seafood-friendly wines of Burgundy (including famous Chablis houses dating back generations), Bordeaux, Super Tuscans and RPM Private Barrels. RPM Seafood, 317 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654, 312-900-9035.
River West's Milwaukee Avenue demonstrates quality over quantity, strengthened again by the opening of The Dandy Crown, a chic spot for cocktailing in the neighborhood. Driven by Sarah Syman, whose credits include stints at Drawing Room, Public Chicago hotel and Beatnik, the menu boasts classic cocktails, beer, cider and an edited list of European, South American and West Coast wines. The standalone, two-story building plays many parts – happy hour destination, date night place – with its fireplace, midcentury modern furniture and, naturally, images of kings and queens, a nod to the owner's English heritage. No food yet, but small bites could be coming in a few months. The Dandy Crown, 694 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60642, 312-846-6420.
Sharing dishes is dining at the newest spot in Fulton Market: tapas resto Boqueria. The 140-seater led by chef and Barcelona native Marc Vidal presents a seasonal, rotating menu featuring local meats by Slagel Farms and bread from neighboring Publican Quality Bread (think pan con tomate and pulpo a la plancha). Open for lunch and dinner daily and weekend brunch, the eatery celebrates the Spanish dining experience with a glowing tapas bar serving as a focal point. Sip on selections from an all-Spanish wine menu, or Spanish beer and local craft choices such as those created by Off Color Brewing. Boqueria, 807 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607, 312-257-3177.
Moody Tongue Brewing Company has a new home. The brewery moved its headquarters and expanded with a fine dining restaurant and bar to elevate the "beersperience." Former Longman & Eagle chef Jared Wentworth is at the helm, where he helps execute the vision of CEO Jeremy Cohn and President and Brewmaster Jared Rouben. The Dining Room at Moody Tongue, a 28-seater, features a 12-course tasting menu, while a separate tasting room called The Bar at Moody Tongue offers specialty bottles and 16 beers on tap along with à la carte fare. Moody Tongue, 2515 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60616, 312-600-5111.
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High above Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood in a most serious institution – Northwestern Memorial Hospital – works one of Chicago's culinary talents: WoodWind chef Donald Young. The Temporis alum brings a much needed playfulness to the experience, with starters such as tiramisu-flavored cotton candy and chicken chiccaron (à la buffalo-hinted). WoodWind announced his permanent "residency" in October. WoodWind, Northwestern Medicine, 259 E. Erie St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312-283-4270.
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