New Restaurant Adventures in Chicago

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  • April 25, 2016

In any big city, the opportunity to check out new restaurants is an ongoing adventure. Over the course of the last few months, I have been invited to visit some really wonderful places that I wanted to share with you. Each place has its own vibe and ambience giving you lots of choices for a great meal or fun night out.

Beef & Barley

If you are looking for a neighborhood joint that is comfortable and welcoming but with seriously good food, then, you need to try Beef & Barley. We visited for brunch and from the Bloody Mary’s with the endless bacon option to the punch bowls with a serious kick to the Mimosa Bar, you will start that morning off right.


Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

We were able to preview the seasonal brunch menu which covered everything from flavorful egg dishes to corned beef hash to decadent French toast and a few special surprises in between. Chef Rodriguez’s menu is far from tame. Big flavors in these dishes leave you wanting more even though you CAN NOT eat one more bite. You do. It is that good.

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Baked Eggs

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Lox platter

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Biscuits N Gravy

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Corned Beef Hash

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Dutch Baby with Apples

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

PB & J Bread Pudding French Toast

Gather your friends and come hang out. You will feel right at home in this corner Lakeview spot.

 

Lush Wine and Spirits

I was invited to this wine bar and restaurant in the West Town area for a social get-together having no idea how inviting this space was. When you come in, you will find one side to be a store and the other to be the bar and restaurant. The cozy seating and high top tables make for a comfortable place to hang out with your friends and catch up or even a date night complete with wide assortment of wines and flavorful menu. One wine to try is the Chateau Nomad Trousseau Gris that is created by Lush’s owner and produced in the Russian River Valley.

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Here is just a sampling of the different menu options that we tried. The names will tell you all about each dish!

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Bitchy Mussels

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Homemade creamy avocado dip and chips

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Yuzu marmalade and goat cheese crostini

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Mushroom crostini

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Cheesy slightly spicy popcorn

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Cranky Lobster

 

MadSocial Chicago

In Chicago, the Stefani name is a well-known restaurant brand. And it most definitely carries through to the next generation with the opening of daughter, Gina’s, MadSocial restaurant. This European inspired environment located in the West Loop offers an artistically designed space seen in the woodwork of the bar, lighting and artwork.

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

The menu will please anyone whether you are coming in for a light bite, cocktails and charcuterie or main course. Since going to the pre-opening event, I have been back a few times now. And I am ready to go back again! The wines, meats, cheeses and seafood are simply delicious. The oohs and ahhs from those at my table vouch for this statement. My personal favorites are the Grilled Octopus and the Tuna Crudo. But for a sweet option, the Chicken and Waffles is like none I have ever had. There is a churro pressed waffle as the base which is the standout flavor. And finally, the Crispy Brussel Sprout Salad is so delicious and filled with flavors. For anyone who says they don’t like brussel sprouts, they need to try this salad. It will change their mind!

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Charcuterie

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Duck confit tacos

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Mad Burger

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Steak Tartare

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Tuna Crudo

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Chicken and Waffles

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Grilled Spanish Octopus

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Crispy Brussel Sprout Salad

 

 

Urban Belly Chicago

Chef Bill Kim is known in Chicago for his creative and flavorful dishes that can be found in his two restaurants throughout the city. I was fortunate to be invited to the soft launch of his third location, Urban Belly, Wicker Park.

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

This ideal spot is in the heart of the area just under the El tracks near the busy North Avenue, Damen, and Milwaukee intersection.

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Throughout this casual space, there are elements of design that catch your eye. The lighting, ceiling and stools drew my attention.

We were offered a variety of different dishes highlighting Chef Kim’s ability to create beautiful dishes that contained flavors that can only be described as one bite was not enough. The other factor that I truly appreciated was how some of the dishes were easily able to be altered to be vegetarian friendly.

Restaurants Adventures in ChicagoKimchi

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Marinated eggplant

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Pad Thai

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Sweet Potato and Maple Potstickers

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Pea Shoot Jasmine Fried Rice

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Beef and Cheddar Potstickers

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Pork and Cilantro Pork Dumplings

 

Imperial Lamian

Hungry for Chinese food? Want to experience the beauty of the culture along with fabulous food? Then head over to this newly opened restaurant that is the first U.S based location of Imperial Lamian. I was invited to the media event in preparation for the restaurant’s launch in River North. Honestly, describing where to start here is so challenging. I loved the art and design of this restaurant. The lighting, artwork, booth design and even bathroom fixtures are all incredibly memorable in this multi-dimensional restaurant.

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Then there is the concept of the restaurant in terms of their food. The kitchen is open but with a glass window to observe the immense talent preparing your dishes. Three Master Chefs are creating these unique recipes. One Chef specializes in fresh, hand-pulled lamian noodles, another dim sum and soup dumplings and the third wok dishes. Each is a work of art and taste.

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

From food to cocktails and wines, the menu is extensive. This is not your neighborhood Chinese food restaurant. Come to Imperial Lamian for the fabulous food and ambience but leave with a feeling of being transported to another time and place.

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Spicy Szechaun soup dumplings

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Hand pulled Lamian noodles

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Spiced Lotus chips

Inspiring Kitchen restaurant adventures in chicago

Seared turnip with XO sauce, egg and bean sprouts

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Thousand Mile Journey and Garden of Good

Restaurants Adventures in Chicago

Dessert: Sesame Golden Balls

Have you been to any of these new restaurants? What are your favorite restaurants that you would suggest in your hometown?

Thanks for stopping by!

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10 Comments

  • Paula Schuck says:

    Beef and Barley looks like an amazing restaurant! All the restaurants you featured sound spectacular, but that one really calls to me. The biscuits and gravy are different from any other type I’ve ever seen. Of course they have all that delicious gravy on top, but I’ve never seen them topped with eggs before.

  • Amanda says:

    I absolutely love that I came across this post because I am a Chicagoan who absolutely LOVES to eat. The only restaurant on this list that I have tried before is Beef and Barley. Your pictures have my drooling as well. Can’t wait to look at Open Table and see what reservations are open for dinner in the next couple of weeks before our kids are out of school!

  • I love discovering new places to eat when traveling and I am going to be saving this post for when I get to Chicago. This food looks amazing and the all you can eat bacon option at Beef & Barley sounds good to me. I can’t wait to check these places out really soon.

  • Wow, my mouth was watering the entire time I scrolled through those pictures! How fortunate to be able to taste all that amazing looking food. I bet they were all scrumptious! Looks like I need to head to Chicago sometime soon!

  • roch says:

    For sure, every time we travel, I check the places where the best local delicacies and cuisines can be sampled. Food is one of the things I’m always looking forwarding to trying. Those egg dishes look so good!

  • That’s one heck of a post. So many delicious meals in one article. Thanks for sharing. I had a few favorites picked out but there’s simply too many.

  • Holey Moley! Even though I just ate lunch not too long ago, I find myself hungry again! Those dishes look absolutely amazing. I fI ever find myself in Chicago (which I obviously need to make a trip!) I will hitting up these eateries, no doubt.

  • Jaclyn Anne says:

    Chicago is totally the best city when it comes to food! Whenever I visit Chicago I enjoy their terrific restaurants and awesome food. I will add these places to my list of restaurants to hit up next time I am in town!

    • Inspiring Kitchen says:

      The list is going to grow! So many new places to visit too. Multiple visits necessary! lol Thanks for your message.

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