Based on my visit, I think Nellcôte may be the most underrated restaurant on Randolph Street.
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Don't let anyone fool you: choosing the perfect place to take an out of town guest requires planning. It may sound easy, but you're looking for something more than just an excellent meal. While the restaurant has to serve knockout food (that's a given), it simultaneously has to showcase something unique about the city.
It's hard not to immediately like a pastry chef who, after being asked if he personally likes the dish in question, answers with an enthusiastic "Yeah! Have you had it?" I have indeed had it, and written something of a love letter to it, even.
Have you tried Siberian sturgeon caviar yet? This sustainable roe is popping up on top menus around town.
These new restaurants are literally all over the map, and come from both respected restauranteurs and hungry novices. The only similarity is that I was legitimately surprised by what I ate.
I'll repeat what I've said in the past: in terms of sweets, Chicago is a blessed city. In no particular order—because it was hard enough to pick my favorites—here are my top ten for the year.
Boy, my Atkins diet has not been going well. Yes sir, I've been hitting the carbs pretty hard this past year in search of Chicago's best noodles. And looking back on 12 months' worth of Knockout Noodles columns, I feel confident when I say this is an exciting time to be a noodle lover in this town.
We gathered together a mix of new and old delicacies, which should help get you in the holiday spirit, no shivering on the L platform required.
For the second year in a row, the Green City Market Junior Board held a Halloween charity event. While all for a good cause, it was also an exceptional excuse to see some of Chicago's best chefs all dressed up.
These are the eleven bites that stuck out amongst the other 120-odd things we tried over the weekend at Chicago Gourmet. From sandwiches to salads to carbonated fruits (yes, carbonated fruits), here are the bites we'd happily stand in line again for.
It may not look like French toast, but Nellcôte calls it Pain Perdu ($18 as part of their prix fixe brunch menu). They even take their French chateau concept a step further by topping it with "Crème Chantilly," which is just vanilla-enhanced whipped cream en Français. But they could call this cream bread, and I'd still take every single out-of-towner here for the next 10 years.
Last night, some of the best chefs in Chicago set up shop in Lincoln Park for the Green City Market's Chefs' BBQ Benefit, which helps raise money for educational initiatives at the market. The original plan was to try and eat every single dish, but considering there were over 80 restaurants at the event, I had to make do with sampling as much as I could. I did pretty well.