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.
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.
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.
Biscuits N Gravy
Corned Beef Hash
Dutch Baby with Apples
PB & J Bread Pudding French Toast
Gather your friends and come hang out. You will feel right at home in this corner Lakeview spot.
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.
Here is just a sampling of the different menu options that we tried. The names will tell you all about each dish!
Homemade creamy avocado dip and chips
Yuzu marmalade and goat cheese crostini
Cheesy slightly spicy popcorn
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.
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!
Duck confit tacos
Chicken and Waffles
Grilled Spanish Octopus
Crispy Brussel Sprout Salad
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.
This ideal spot is in the heart of the area just under the El tracks near the busy North Avenue, Damen, and Milwaukee intersection.
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.
Sweet Potato and Maple Potstickers
Pea Shoot Jasmine Fried Rice
Beef and Cheddar Potstickers
Pork and Cilantro Pork Dumplings
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.
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.
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.
Spicy Szechaun soup dumplings
Hand pulled Lamian noodles
Spiced Lotus chips
Seared turnip with XO sauce, egg and bean sprouts
Thousand Mile Journey and Garden of Good
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!