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Posts Tagged ‘d.c. crenshaw’

D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

It’s rare to find a restaurant in the burbs that I really like which is not in the city. I found such a gem in the western suburbs a couple of weeks a go. Prasino, the new eco-friendly restaurant in LaGrange, promotes “green” and is doing it very well.

Prasino (means “green” in Greek) is the first eco-friendly restaurant for Chicago’s western suburbs. With an eco-chic design, and family friendly environment, this 200-seat restaurant is committed to promoting organic agriculture and supporting local growers & artisanal food producers whenever possible. General Manager Peggy Maglaris Kopley was inspired to start the concept after her husband was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2007, that brought the family’s attention back to the importance of “all things fresh.” She soon started buying organic products from the grocery store and attributes her husbands recovery to his organic diet.

Prasino’s menu appears to have similar menu items that you can find at other restaurants, but the key is that they’re organic and healthy. For example, their “Blue Crab Nachos” appetizer are served on baked yukon gold crisp with steamed blue crab, mango salsa, and cilantro bearnaise. The “Grilled Fresh Monterey Calamari” features blistered cherry tomato, braised cannellini beans, baby spinach, sea salt crustini, and a truffle mustard vinaigrette. Prasino has an attractive list of meat and seafood entrees, but I chose to sample the “Miso Chili Glazed Alaskan Black Cod” and the “Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna”. Both dishes were extremely fresh, delicate and complemented by steamed basmati rice and baby bok choy. The flavors were light but present and the wasbai cream added a pleasant touch to the tuna. Side dishes range from “Grilled Asparagus” to “Roasted Cauliflower Gratin”. I thought the “Asparagus & Corn Risotto” made with truffle oil and lemon butter would be a dream, but it turned out to be a little too salty.

Prasino has a drink menu that works for everyone. Besides the standards of specialty coffees and teas, other organic highlights include fruit and veggie blended juices, sodas, smoothies, bottled beers and ciders, and sparkling wines. They have nice red and white wine selections, but Prasino’s specialty alcoholic cocktails take the blue ribbon. Be sure to order my two favorites, the “La Grange Manhattan” and the “Rose Hipster”. Top off your dinner with the apple waffles or bread pudding, although the latter of the desserts was very average.

Prasino is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has affordable prices. The atmosphere has a friendly family feel and the service was good. It’s a great place to dine with kids and is located steps from the Metra station in downtown LaGrange enabling easy access from the city and other suburban areas. My wish is for Prasino to bring their concept to the city. Check out Prasino at http://www.eatgreenlivewell.com. Visit www.efete.net/blog.html to view my “Tru” ratings for Prasino.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

After a disappointing experience at the grand opening of the new restaurant Epic, in the downtown River North area of Chicago, I was a little hesitant to return for dinner.  The event that evening was far too crowded and a little unorganized that left me pondering the concept of the new hot spot.  I didn’t know whether they it was a club or a restaurant, so I decided to go back and check it out, after receiving a sincere message from their Maitre De.

Upon arrival, I again had the same thoughts.  Is this a club or a restaurant? But as soon as we were seated in the main dining area, the concept became very clear.  The downstairs bar area provides more of a lounge atmosphere with hip music, couches and hi top bar seating.   The upstairs space is where the feasting takes place.  The entire place is massive complete with four levels, including a rooftop terrace.  Epic’s design is simple and straightforward.  The architecture has a loft like appearance with elements of exposed brick, steel and concrete.  It didn’t wow me, but it got my attention.

Epic’s dinner menu is filled with beef, chicken, pork and fish entrées.  Seafood items plaster most of the appetizer section and they have a nice selection of salads and side dishes to choose from.  Since I’m a connoisseur of lamb shanks, I opted for the “Spiced Lamb Shank” entrée.   Our waiter assured me that their lamb shank would be right up there with the best that I’ve had.  Well, I wouldn’t necessarily give it those props, but it was definitely tender and succulent.  The combination of spices complemented the shank and the lamb jus was pungently flavorful without sweetness.  My dinner guests enjoyed the “Chilean Sea Bass” and “Salt Crusted Market Fish For Two” entrées.  The presentations for both dishes were done well.  The “Brussels Sprouts” side dish prepared with bacon, honey and chestnuts tempted my taste buds.  The sweet and savory combination helped me forget that I was eating brussels sprouts for a moment, but sprouts are sprouts.

Dinner was capped with dessert.  The “Chocolate” and “Pumpkin & White Chocolate” desserts were sampled.  The former consisted of flourless cake, mousse and hot fudge, and the latter was made with toasted white chocolate cake, roasted pumpkin ice cream and chestnut caramel.  Both desserts were solid, but didn’t have me licking the plate.  The service started off a little slow, but picked up as the dinner progressed.  The atmosphere was festive, which helped the cocktails to flow more readily, although, I wouldn’t recommend Epic for a quiet evening at dinner.  Expect to drop $50 per person on dinner before getting your keys back from the valet and be prepared to hang out for after dinner cocktails in the downstairs bar area.  Overall Epic’s cuisine was solid with a good atmosphere and decent service.  My final “Tru” rating is TTt.

   To view my “Tru” rating system for Epic visit www.efete.net/blog.html.
 

 

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

Some business people have the ingredients for success.  They find something that works and try to duplicate it.  Restaurateur Jerry Kleiner is a perfect example of opening several restaurants very similar in style and experiencing a level of success.  His restaurants include Red Light, Carnival, Giocco, Marche and most recently 33 Club.  Those venues are located in the city, but Kleiner has ventured out to Hinsdale to open Il Poggiolo and is making his mark in the burbs.

Salmon Dish

Salmon Dish

Il Poggiolo is located on the site of Hinsdale’s first silent movie theater and means “The Balcony”.    The interior is typcial “Kleineresque”, rich in colors including vibrant red upholstery.  The atmosphere is warm, classy, casual and elegant.  Big picture windows allow for a nice view of the outside.  Like a lot Kleiner restaurants the food is solid.  Nothing will really blow you away here, but dishes are nice, savory, and satisfying.  Favorites to consider are the Arancini (rice balls filled with mushrooms and taleggio) and the Pesce Spada con Caponata (sword fish, vegetables, raisins, pine nuts, capers).  The Lamb Shank special was good, but could have been a little more tender and their Risotto del Giorno with corn, leaks and mushrooms met, but didn’t exceed expectations.  The Pan Roasted Halibut and Pan Roasted Seabass rounded out other solid dishes.  The Fig Tart dessert was something special and comes highly recommended by yours truly.

Il Poggiolois a nice addition to downtown Hinsdale and should continue to provide Kleiner with a string of successful hot spots.  The vibe and location could make it a fan favorite for the locals.  Il Poggiolois located at 8 East First Street in the historic Harold R Zook building.   Log onto www.ilpoggiolohinsdale.com for more information.  Check out www.efete.net for more reviews on the newest and best restaurants in Chicago.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

palmwrap[1]

Palm Wraps

The song “When You Wish Upon A Star” was made famous in the Walt Disney movie Pinocchio and includes the lyrics “Anything that your heart desires will come to you”.  The song has some other inspirational lyrics such as, “If your heart is in your dreams, no request is too extreme.  When you wish upon a star as dreamers do”.  Well the folks at Nozumi Japanese Cuisine must have sang that song a few times, because their “wish” has come true.  Nozumi is the newest Japanese restaurant to open in the North Western suburbs, but the 45 minute drive out to South Barrington is well worth the trip.

The literal translation of Nozumi is “wish”.  Their wish is to take you on a journey of the five senses while exploring their Japanese cuisine.  Nozumi’s culinary team consists of world travelers that give their own interpretation of the menu items, therefore they soar above the traditional approach to sushi.  Nozumi is all about sharing and Executive Chef Andy Park created the menu with that in mind.  Even the Nozumi Menu Box – a collection of five books, or menus, are meant to be shared.  This new approach is distinctly separated into a beverage menu, plates menu, sushi menu, sweets and treats menu, and a chefs daily special menu.  I had numerous favorites out the fourteen dishes that were shared, but the following were at the top of the list.

Scallop Ebisu – seared scallops, saffron cream couscous, asparagus, tomato confit, soy balsamic reduction.

Shinju Crab Cake – Shiso remoulade, scallop puree, sawgani, haricort vert, shitake vinaigrette.

Chef’s Special Signature Roll – Roasted pepper seasoned spicy tuna, cucumber wrapped in nori topped with Japanese sea bream in ponzu sauce.

Togarashi[1]

Togarashi Maguro Penne Pasta

Nozumi doesn’t only serve sushi, but meat and pasta dishes.  Don’t leave the table without trying their tender Taiyou Short Ribs.  The Kobe Steak melts in your mouth and the Togarashi Mauro Penne Pasta has a sun-dried tomato cream sauce and big eye tuna combination that will have you biting your fork.  Dessert is a must with the Shokura Dream chocolate layered cake and the Natsuki Apple Brulee

Nozumi is simple yet stylish.  The sushi bar area is upbeat and vibrant, but a separate dining area appears to be more relaxed and chilled.  The bar area is roomy enough to enjoy a cocktail and an entree without being too crowded.  Owner Fred Hong was certain to hire a staff that was knowledgeable about their cuisine and serious about their service. 

Yes, Nozumi appears to have had their wish fulfilled, but the true test will come from the wish of their customers.  Nozumi is located at 100 W. Higgins Road in South Barrington.  For more information log onto www.nozumirestaurant.com.  Also check out www.efete.net and Fete Select TV  for an inside look at the newest and hottest restaurants in Chicago.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC Chicago Street Team

 Finding the time to play golf is a challenge on many different levels, especially while living in the city.  The first challenge is making the tee time early enough to avoid being on the course the entire day.  Secondly, the location must not be too far from the city and should have easy access away from major traffic.  Thirdly, the golf course itself must be void of a lot of water, trees and brush that will limit the number of balls that I lose.  Lastly, but most importantly is the club house food, which should be good enough to make up for bad shots and a high score.  The Glencoe Golf Club seems to have at least the latter locked down with their newly renovated restaurant Max’s on the Green.

Glencoe Golf Club

Glencoe Golf Club

Larry Estes, President and founder of Catering by Max’s, opened Max’s on the Green with the intentions of making it more than a food venue for golfers.  His hopes are to attract locals to dine at Max’s on the Green throughout the week, regardless of golfing.  The menu consists of breakfast and lunch, but the dinner menu deserves the most attention.  Atypical of most club house options dinner entrees include dishes such as the Salmon Filet, Lobster Ravioli, Pork Chop and Skirt Steak.  The Greg Norman Kobe Burger was delicious and consists of an 8 oz beef burger grilled to your liking and served on a pretzel bun.  Be sure to complement the burger with cheese fries or onion strings.  Although Max’s is known for their Italian Beef the Grilled Chicken sandwich topped with your choice of BBQ sauce or honey mustard is the way to go.   They still have the traditional golf course grub, including sandwiches, salads and wraps and a few dessert menu items.  All meals can be enjoyed inside the restaurant or on the outside deck overlooking the ninth hole.  Max’s transforms into a traditional restaurant setting with waiters and servers only during dinner hours.

The Glencoe Golf Club is located on the North Shore at 621 Westly Rd and is not too far from the city.  The public golf course is gorgeous and scenic.  For more information about Max’s on the Green and the Glencoe Golf Club log onto www.cateringbymaxs.com or www.glencoegolfclub.com.  Check out www.efete.net or Fete Select TV for a review of the newest and best restaurants in Chicago.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC Chhicago Street Team

Most great ideas are inspired by personal experiences or passions.  In the restaurant/food  industry,  many concepts emerge from the love of a particular ethnic food, a visit to another part of the world,  or a need that has yet to be addressed.  Bottom line is that we create based on our own motivations, successes or challenges.  Being known as the “fat kid” growing up was challenge for Matt Matros, but helped to motivate him to shed 60 pounds eight years ago.  His vision after dropping the poundage was to help people everywhere live the healthy lifestyle that they want to live.  His brainchild?  “Protein Bar”, a new food venue downtown Chicago where folks can quickly get a meal with essential proteins needed to live a healthy active lifestyle.

Protein Bar provides quick and healthy items high in protein and fiber, but low in sugar.

Protein Bar provides quick and healthy items high in protein and fiber, but low in sugar.

“Protein Bar” has signature protein drinks, signature whole grain bowls and a plethora of boosts too choose from along with fresh made wraps, soups and salads.  There is also an option to build your own drink or bowl if you’re not feeling any of the signature options, but a must try signature protein drink is the “Wrigley Peeled”, consisting of chocolate protein, a choice of milk, all natural peanut butter and banana.  “Protein Bar” uses either whey, soy, or egg as a protein and has four different types of milk.  Some of their boosts include an “Anti-Oxidant Blend”, “Fat Burner Blend”, “Hangover Blend”, and “Libido Blend”.  Gotta try the “Libido Blend”!  Their whole grain bowl options are steel-cut oatmeal, quinoa, power granola, or Kashi Go-Lean Crunch.  Try the “Crackberry” bowl if you like Acai berries mixed with vanilla protein, yogurt, power granola and a fresh banana.  All items are high in protein and fiber and low in sugar.  The “Chipotle Roast Beef with Guacamole” highlights their wrap selections.

“Protein Bar” provides nutritional facts about all of their menu items, which is very helpful for the health conscious individual.  The menu explains the differences between proteins and compares the nutritional differences between their signature items and similar selections found at Jamba Juice, Starbucks, Duncan Donuts and Chipotle.  Overall, “Protein Bar” is a new favorite of yours truly, another former “fat kid”, and will be a frequent stop on my protein tour.

“Protein Bar” is located at 235 South Franklin Street.  For more information log onto www.proteinbarchicago.com.  Check out www.efete.net for more restaurant reviews and an inside look at Chicago’s newest restaurants via Fete Select TV.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

Many city dwellers perceive Chicago’s suburbs as being foreign, out of touch and not very cosmopolitan. The thought of driving 20 to 30 minutes to enjoy an evening out with friends or just a fabulous dinner is not the norm, since the city has so much of that kind of stuff to offer. Of course suburbanites beg the differ and their dining options continue to increase to include fabulous local restaurants with big city appeal. Glen Ellyn’s Glen Prairie restaurant is one of those new upscale places that has both city folks and suburbanites raving.

Glen Prairie Interior

Glen Prairie Interior

Glen Prairie offers casual sophistication in a warm and comfortable atmosphere. The menu is contemporary American cuisine and their ingredients come from local contemporary American farmers. Starter dishes like “Grilled Sweet Corn and Tomato Bruschetta” and “Buttermilk Fried, Herb Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms” are straightforward and very tasty. The “Wisconsin Pike” and “Bison Ribeye” are entrees that were well prepared and very memorable. Other signature must haves are the “Miller Farms Seared Chicken” and the “Parpadelle Carbonara” served with “Caw Caw Creek proscuitto, slow roasted tomatoes and fresh herbs. Their side dishes are the perfect complement to any meal, but the “Mac N Local Farmed Cheese” is what foodies dream about. A variety of desserts plaster the menu, but their “mini” order option satisfies the sweet tooth with smaller tastings of at least six of their offerings, including the “Bing Cherry, Brioche Bread Pudding”, “Strawberry, Peaches & Cream Trifle”, and “Heavenly Brownie Sundae”. The cocktail menu boasts a plethora of signature martinis and their wine list is solid and affordable. In-fact, expect to enjoy a very pleasant dinner in an upscale environment without breaking the bank.

Glen Prairie is connected to the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 1250 Roosevelt Rd, but this restaurant could just as well be connected to a Four Seasons. The service was great and the surroundings were elegant. It’s about a 30-40 minute drive from the city, but the trip was well worth the trip. Glen Prairie serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers a gluten free menu. Click here for more information www.cpglenellyn.com  Also check out www.efete.net and Fete Select TV to get an inside look at the newest and best restaurants in Chicago.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyday was Friday?  Well supposedly the tropical island of Eivissa evokes the type of energy where every night out seems like a Friday night celebration.  Eivissa, the Catalan name for Ibiza, is known for its summer club parties that attract a ton of tourists and a lot of publicity.  It’s no wonder why the owners of the new tapas restaurant Eivissa are attempting to bring that same type of energy to Old Town.  The concept sounds cool, but can the new kid on the block pull it off?  Maybe for partying, but not so much for the cuisine.

Eivissa Cocktails

Eivissa Cocktails

The best thing about Eivissa are their “Islas Baleares” cocktails and “Chupitos” (infused shots).  Their standard red sangria is infused with vanilla beans and Ceylon cinnamon for a warm, spicy taste.   But after the alcoholic beverages nothing else is memorable, except for their Pinxtos, a unique mixture of morsels on toasted bread.  The “Salpicon Aioli”, consisting of different seafood was the winner in this category.  Their classical tapas are just average and be sure to order more cocktails to help wash down the  dry “Croquetas De Jamon”.  The “Carnes-Meats” section featured a duck and asparagus dish.  My advice is to take the asparagus and leave the duck.  The dessert menu featured a tart, rice pudding, and a chocolate churro, but I was too disappointed with the service to move on to the next  course.  Oh, did I mention service?  Two words sum up the service.  Not good.  The communication or lack there of with the server was frustrating.  There was no explanation of the menu and dishes were slower than normal to arrive at the table, despite a sparse lunch crowd.  The restaurant is nicely designed, but a return visit is necessary to determine the vibe.  Eivissa is not a first choice for tapas, but their fabulous drinks may have the Old Town folks sipping libations on their patio throughout the summer.

Eivissa is located at 1531 N. Wells St.  Log onto www.eivissachicago.com for more information.  Check out www.efete.net for more restaurant reviews and an inside look into Chicago’s newest and hottest restaurants.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC Chicago Street Team

Sometimes you just know when you know.  I’m talking about an instance where you experience something and it just feels right.  For example, meeting a spouse or significant other for the first time, selecting a college, interviewing for a job or…umm… tasting a cupcake?  I didn’t know that eating a cupcake could be a life changing experience until recently.  That’s because the newly launched Naperville based Foiled Inc. has the most moist, most fresh and best tasting cupcakes that I’ve tasted.   Hands down!Foiled Cupcakes

 There has been a trend of specialty cupcake shops that have recently opened, but none of them can compare to Foiled Cupcakes.  Owner Mari Luangrath started her company Foiled Inc. to help people enjoy memorable experiences through her cupcakes.   She called a childhood friend that is an Executive  Pastry Chef about her idea and voila they were in business.  Unlike other bakeries, Foiled doesn’t use a storefront, but differentiates itself as being Chicagoland’s first and only exclusive on-line designer cupcake delivery service.  The cupcakes are handmade using only the finest all-natural ingredients, such as traditional foil cupcake wrappers, real butter cream frosting, handmade fillings, and European Garnishes.  They offer twenty standard flavors every day, as well as additional monthly flavor offerings that are available for a limited time.  A few of the unique standard cupcakes offered are:

Ooey Gooey – Chocolate cake, caramel filling, caramel buttercream, ganache topping, and a pinch of sea salt.

Pinkalicious So Delicious – Chocolate cake, raspeberry jam filling, raspberry buttercream, and a dainty raspberry garnish.

The Cinnful Apple – Vanilla cake, baked apple filling, cinnamon buttercream, and sweet cinnamon sugar sprinkles.

Foiled also sets themselves apart from the competition by adding a little humor with each cupcake.  Their signature “Quippies” are little tag lines of humor inserted into the cupcakes themselves for an extra special surprise..  They also offer customized “Quippies” for special occasions.  Cupcakes retail for $38 per dozen and delivery is included.  They can whip up designer cupcakes by the dozen with as little as 12 hours notice.  Foiled delivers in Chicago and the West Suburbs and pride themselves on customer service.  Orders can be made on-line, by phone or fax.  For more information log onto www.foiledcupcakes.com.

Check out www.eFete.net and watch Fete Select TV  for an inside look into the newest and hottest restaurants in Chicago.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC Chicago Street Team

Perennial Chicago

Perennial Chicago

They say that three is a charm, but that’s not necessarily true for Chicago restaurateurs Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm.  That’s because the dynamic duo have already been successful opening two of the best and hottest restaurants in Lincoln Park, BOKA and Landmark Bar & Grill.  Both restaurants have received critical acclaim from local and national publications and continue to be considered two of the more popular spots for great cuisine, cocktails and atmosphere.  However, Katz and Boehm just weren’t satisfied with their two gems and decided to open a third restaurant about a year ago.  Perennial, has lived up to its name and Executive Chef Ryan Poli was added to bring a new casual dining experience to Chicago. 

Perennial’s menu boasts a plethora of approachable dishes such as the Soft Shell Crab” and the “Brown Butter Gnocchi” appetizers.  Both starters are prepared with flavors that are succulent and a presentation that differs from similar type dishes.   The entrees are a perfect mix of seafood, meat and pasta selections, which makes it a difficult task to choose.  However the “Grilled Salmon”, “Alaskan Halibut”, “Compart Duroc Porkbelly” and “Sea Scallops” are all popular dishes that won’t disappoint.  The “Perennial Mac and Cheese” side dish holds it own when compared to other mac and cheese dishes in the city.  An attractive array of desserts and cheeses complements the menu, but the standout is the warm chocolate brownie served with coffee ice cream.

Their specialty cocktail menu is also seasonal and the wine list is manageable.  The service was attentive, but not overbearing and the waiter was knowledgeable about the cuisine, cocktails and wine.  The vibe and crowd is casual elegance and atmosphere is loud enough to enjoy a dinner conversation.  As the summer weather heats up Chicago expect Perennial to be even hotter during the months to come. 

Coffee and Baileys Dessert

Coffee and Baileys Dessert

Perennial is located at 1800 N. Lincoln Ave in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.  For more information log onto www.perennialchicago.com.  Visit www.efete.net to check out more reviews and to get an inside look at the newest hottest restaurants on Fete Select TV.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

Head to any neighborhood in Chicagoland and you’re bound to run into at least one or two sushi spots.  Eating sushi has become as common as grabbing a turkey burger or cobb salad.  It’s tasty, healthy and in most cases affordable.  However, not all sushi is made the same.  In-fact, Sushi Mon’s “pressed sushi” is the only sushi of its kind in Chicago.  Created by Bat, a certified sushi wizard, Sushi Mon has become a popular new hot spot known for great sushi, crazy combinations and an intimate atmosphere.pressed_sushi_banner[1]

Bat honed his sushi skills in LA and brought his creativity to Chicago three years ago.  His pressed sushi consists of compressed rice and ingredients topped off with avocado, slices of succulent fish and tasty sauces.  To experience the true flavors of the pressed sushi, Bat suggests that you try his creations without soy sauce.  Pressed sushi favorites include “Salmon Bliss” made with salmon, seaweed, masago, avocado, and sesame seeds, the “Chicago” consisting of crab, unagi, avocado, masago and spicy mayo, and the “Crazy” created with salmon, tuna, ebi, wasabi mayo, wasabi tobiko, avocado and seaweed.  The menu also allows sushi lovers to create their own pressed sushi.  Sushi Mon still has the usual Sushi Nigiri and Sashimi selections along with a number of appetizers and salads.  Expect to discover fresh sushi at an affordable price.  Average cost for pressed sushi rolls are $12, but other rolls range between $3.50 – $6.95 per roll.  If you’re in the mood for cocktails, be sure to bring your favorite bottle of sake or wine, because Sushi Mon is BYOB.

Sushi Mon is located near Lincoln Park at 2441 N. Clark Street.  Guests can dine-in, carry-out or have their favorite sushi delivered.  For more information log onto www.sushimonchicago.com.  Check out Fete Select TV on www.efete.net for an inside look into the newest and best Chicago restaurants.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC Chicago Street Team

Three weeks a go the buzz was humming about Market, the new West Loop sports bar that was opening on Randolph Street.  Chicago White Sox GM Kenny Williams is supposedly part owner of the new venue along with two other Chicago restaurateurs.  Unfortunately, on opening night the restaurant was serving food, but not beer, wine or cocktails, due to the lack of a liquor license.   However, last week Market received the green light from the city and is making up for time lost by serving great cocktails to complement their terrific food.

Market is a multi-faceted restaurant and sports bar that offers guests traditional American classics with an aesthetic flair by Chef Joe Rosetti.  The menu boasts a variety of appetizers, salads, specialty sandwiches, pizza, burgers and main dishes.  Chef Rosetti’s cuisine is definitely above average  compared to other recently opened luxury sports bar in the city.  The “Mac and Cheese Muffins” and “Popcorn Shrimp” are must have starters.  Their braised beef and BBQ pulled pork “Sliders” are not only very tasty, but plentiful.  Sanwedges to try are “The Body Builder”, piled high with oven roasted turkey  and “The Strip Club”, consisting of Chile rubbed chicken and peppered bacon.  If you like turkey burgers, then try “The Herky”, served with avocado and thick cut turkey bacon and truffled fries.  Folks are raving about the “Mustard and Maple Glazed Salmon” main dish and the giant chocolate chip dessert served warm a la mode style.  There really isn’t a dish that is not worth trying at Market and you will forget that it’s supposed to be bar food.

Market’s main dining room is sports bar chic and has a casual vibe.  The first floor features 20 42′ inch flat screen televisions and one 92′ inch projection screen.  They have three outdoor places to eat and drink, including the Beer Garden, Rooftop Lounge and Sidewalk Cafe.  The summer months should make this a great place to hang and enjoy great weather and food.

Market is located at 1113 W. Randolph in the West Loop.  The restaurant opens for lunch at 11 am.  Log onto www.marketbarchicago.com for more information.  Watch Fete Select TV on www.efete.net for an inside look into the newest and hottest restaurants in Chicago.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

Springtime weather has gotten Chicagoans all in a tizzy.  Hibernation season is over, which is evident by the outside tables being set up at restaurants all over the city.  Sure the seventy degree weather is what’s popular these days, but the talk of the town has been Chicago’s hottest new restaurant, Sunda New Asian.  Brought to you by Billy Dec and Rockit Ranch productions, this hip and modern designed restaurant has been the place to be since its grand opening.  Check out Fete Select TV, as Bill Dec gives me an inside look at the cuisine, cocktails and vibe of Sunda.

 

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC Chicago Street Team

It’s essential to make sure you have the right menu and libations to fit this special occasion. With a distinct menu steeped in tradition, the Kentucky Derby cuisine consists of southern flavors and plenty of bourbon. From Hot Browns to burgoo Chef Bobby Flay has recipes suitable for an elegant brunch or backyard BBQ.

Click here to check out “Bringing Home the Derby Recipes”.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC Chicago Street Team

There are three things that can make a restaurant shine.  Great food, excellent service and a good vibe.  Although many restaurants may have those characteristics, there are very few that truly exhibit an instant homey feel.  The neighborhood spot Rosal’s is all about food and family.  Walking into this family-owned restaurant instantly makes customers want to stay for a while.little20oscar-after1

Rosal’s, located in Chicago’s “Little Italy” neighborhood is named after the dream of  Roseanne and Salvatore Perry, hence Rosal’s.  The 19 year old Italian restaurant is about wonderful Sicilian food served in abundant portions.  The menu is extensive and is sectioned by Antipasti, Pasta & House Favorites, Vitello, Pesce, Pollo, and Carne dishes.  All of the dishes that came out of the kitchen looked absolutely scrumptious, but there are few favorites that may help to narrow the selection process.  The “Grilled Calamari” is a must start with dish.  The “Eggplant Parmigiano” and “Shrimp Alla Anival” are pasta entrees that are very popular among regulars.  Meat dishes such as the “Veal Steppanjohnno”,  “Chicken Scallopini with Prosciutto” and “Grilled Pork Chops” will satisfy any hearty appetite.    The bread on the table is warm when you sit down and the olive oil sprinkled with parmesan dipping sauce is perfecto!  The waitstaff will encourage substituting sauces or adding meatballs that will help make the perfect meal.  Don’t expect a prententious environment, but an intimate, cozy and family atmosphere that saw many tables chatting with one another.

The desserts are tradtional with “Tiramasu” and “Cannoli” on the menu, but the “Peanut Butter Pie” could do the trick as well.  The prices are very reasonable and bottles of wine are very affordable.  Rosal’s is located at 1154 W. Taylor Street.  For more information log onto www.rosals.com.  For more dining options and an inside look into Chicago’s newest and hottest restaurants log onto www.efete.net and watch Fete Select TV.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC Chicago Street Team

Finding a good place to watch the big game can sometimes be a challenge.  The challenge is finding a place that has a good crowd, plenty of televisions, but most importantly great food and drinks.  Chicago has a lot of those places to choose from, but if you just head a little north of downtown, O’Donovan’s Pub & Restaurant is the place to be.xmas-20081

O’Donovan’s, located in the North Center neighborhood, can attract a large crowd.  However, the venue is spacious enough for everyone to get a table or a seat.  The food tastes much better than the average pub in town and the cocktail specials are just what you’re looking for in this economy.  Their menu consists of burgers, sandwiches, paninis, wraps, soups, salads and a variety of appetizers.  But they also have hearty entrees such as “Prime Rib”, “BBQ Baby Back Ribs”, “Brick Chicken” and “Chicken Marsala”.  The mashed, baked and au gratin potato side dishes alone will have you salivating.  O’Donovan’s has weekly drink specials.  Depending on the day, you can enjoy five dollar martinis, five dollar champagne cocktails, or half off a bottle of wine.  There is also a thirty cent wing and two dollar burger and fries night.  Their Sunday brunch features an all you can eat buffet for $13.95 that includes an omelette and waffle station.  O’Donovan’s Easter brunch will increase to $15.95 per adult and $7.95 per kid.

A nice touch that also adds a little entertainment to O’Donovan’s is Al James the magician.  Al provides ‘table-side” magic for guests that includes card, coin and rope tricks.  He creates images with balloons for kids, which makes the restaurant family friendly.   O’Donovan’s outside cafe and beer garden makes it the perfect hangout place during the summer months, which keeps north-siders coming back again and again.

 O”Donovan’s is located at 2100 W. Irving Park Road.  For more information or to make brunch reservations call (773) 478-2100 or log onto www.odonovansbar.com.  For more restuarant reviews and to get an inside look at the newest and best Chicago restaurants, watch Fete Select TV on www.efete.net.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC Chicago Street Team

Lately it seems like I’ve been on an Italian culinary tour around Chicago.  From a fabulous dinner at Prosecco to an intimate meal in the 200 East Supper Club, I’ve tasted a few different pasta dishes and consumed more than a couple of glasses of wine.  Last week I ventured into the Lincoln Park neighborhood to take on yet another Italian establishment.  Let’s just say that my dining experience at Trattoria Gianni was not only enjoyable, but was a perfect nightcap to my birthday celebration.facade_main11

Trattoria Gianni is intimate, homey, authentic and friendly. The ambiance is most comparable to the dinner settings that I experienced while honeymooning in Rome. The cuisine was not too far behind either. Among the Antipasti dishes, the fried calamari and grilled octopus stood out.  Moving to the Primi Piatti side of the menu, the Gnocchi della Nonna, handmade and stuffed with ricotta, and the Conchiglie del Mercante, pasta crumbled with Italian sausage, mushrooms and fresh tomato sauce, were savory and plentiful.   The veal scaloppine, grilled duck breast,  grilled chicken breast, and grilled Norwegian salmon filet were also favorites.  However, the “Costolette d’ Agnello alla Griglia”, their grilled lamb chops marinated with olive oil, garlic and fresh mint, was a noted specialty dish and the highlight of the evening.  The most enjoyable side dish were the roasted potatoes in olive oil garlic rosemary.wine_151

Trattoria Gianni has homemade desserts worth the indulgence.  The Panna Cotta and Tiramisu led the way. Their sorbet and cannoli are good alternatives and the not-quite-frozen hazelnut mouse, topped with chocolate sauce received accolades. The service met expectations and the wine recommendations paired nicely with our many courses.  A live vocalist added a special ambiance throughout dinner, which set off an energetic vibe amongst diners.

Trattoria Gianni will celebrate their 21st anniversary this year with a $21.00 priced fixed dinner every Tuesday night starting March 24th – June 30th.  Trattoria Gianni is located at 1711 N. Halsted St.  Log onto <a href=”http://www.trattoriagianni.com&#8221; target=”blank” http://www.trattoriagianni.com.com for more information or call (312) 266-1976 for reservations. 

To find more dining options and to get an inside look at the newest and best restaurants in Chicago watch Fete Select TV on www.efete.net.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

The word “authentic” is often overused in restaurants when referencing cuisine.

If you’ve ever traveled to Europe, especially Italy, then you probably have a good idea of what authentic food is all about. Chefs that specialize in Italian cuisine don’t always have the luxury of having grown up in the mother country, so they have to draw on their childhood kitchen experiences for inspiration and influence.
Such is the case with 200 East Supper Club‘s executive chef Tony Navarro.

The 200 East Supper Club is located on the main level of the historic Seneca Hotel. It’s a moderately-priced, business-casual spot that features live entertainment Tuesday through Saturday. The ambiance feels somewhat old school, with a splashes of elegant touches sprinkled throughout the main dining room.

Click here to read the rest of this post on nbcchicago.com.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

The runaway success of “Slumdog Millionaire” has made many people curious about exploring the Indian culture. If you’re in that boat, then the food is a great place to start.

Mild, medium or hot? That’s the question the server will pose to you concerning the spice level at
Indian Garden Restaurant
(247 E. Ontario Street). We chose medium, which thankfully turned out to be the correct choice. In fact, Indian Garden is the correct choice if you’re looking for good Indian cuisine and an experience that will take you on a culinary voyage.

Log on to nbcchicago.com to read the rest of this post.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

Bartenders, as we once knew them are becoming extinct.  They are being replaced by professionals that are more creative, specialized and that take their craft a lot more serious.  The  new age bartender has emerged to become a “mixologist” and many of them were on hand at the recent “10 Cane Rum Ministry of Bartenders” at Le Lan restaurant downtown Chicago.b87791

10 Cane Rum is considered by some to be the best rum, based on how it is extracted from the best cane and distilled.   The ability to concoct creative cocktails from this spirit makes it fun for mixlogists.  The Ministry of Bartenders event featured four different specialty cocktails that were paired with appetizers and a three course dinner.  One of the notable mixologists on hand was Adam Seger of Nacional 27.  Adam discussed how he uses organic ingredients to mix up his creations and lent a hand to make a couple of the featured cocktails for the evening.  The cocktails included:

Georgia Peach – 10 cane rum, ginger peach jam, ginger beer, peach bitters

10 Cane Spiced Pear Daiquiri – 10 cane rum, fresh comice pear juice, lemon juice, spiced syrup, (clove, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, black pepper corns, sugar, water) garnish pear slice

Rhubarb Sour – 10 cane rum, rhubarb sour, aperol, lemon juice, egg white

Swan Song – 10 cane rum, tamarind syrup, licor 43, coconut water, lime juice

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Nacional 27 Mixologist Adam Seger prepares a 10 Cane Rum cocktail.

Log onto www.10cane.com for more information and recipes.  Watch Fete Select TV on www.efete.net for the newest and hottest restaurants in Chicago.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

The new River North restaurant Blue 13 is heating up Chicago during these cold winter months.  Executive Chef Chris Curren prepares contemporary American food in a casual, urban atmosphere.  The eclectic menu changes seasonally, but the cocktails are consistently on point.  Although the vibe is rock & roll chic and upscale the service is unobtrusive.  Get an inside look at Blue 13 on Fete Select TV below.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

A burger is a burger right?  Wrong;  Well, at least not to foodies and culinary experts.  In-fact, I bet that most folks around Chicago can probably tell you where to find their favorite burger, even if they aren’t foodies.  I recently tried a burger that is vying for the “best burger” title at the “Amstel Light Burger Bash” and I liked it.  I really, really liked it.5512207d252591e7d5c632fa8c8135851

Carol Wallack, is the Executive Chef at Sola restaurant and one of two Chicago chefs (Rick Bayless) invited to participate in the “Amstel Ligh Burger Bash” competition.  Hosted by Rachel Ray, the event takes place  in Miami on Thursday February 19th and is part of the 2009 Food Network South Beach Food & Wine Festival.  The South Beach Festival is one of the premiere culinary and wine events in the country and features some of the biggest culinary stars in the industry. 

Chef Wallack is competing against some top notch chefs, but I think that her “Wagyu Beef Burger” may have a chance.  The signature “Wagyu Burger”, which has taken Chef Wallack over 20 years to perfect, is Allen Brother’s Wagyu Beef, cambazola cheese, house-made bacon, carmelized onions and arugula all squeezed between a soft pretzel roll.  The Chef likes to serve the burger medium, which I normally don’t do, but her suggestion went over very well.  Of course, you can’t have a burger without their truffle fries, which were the perfect complement to the beef.

In celebration of the “Burger Bash”, Sola is serving the delectable burger all weekend  long (February 19th – 22nd).  The burger is normally only served during lunch and dinner on Thursdays and only during lunch on Fridays.

Sola is located at 3868 N. Lincoln Ave. (773) 327-3868.  For more information log onto www.sola-restaurant.com.  Watch Fete Select TV on www.efete.net to check out the newest and hottest restaurants in Chicago.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

Upscale tends to be the trend in sports bars these days.  Or at least the hope is to attract a more sophisticated and trendy crowd that would typically choose a hipper environment to spend their Thursday, Friday or Saturday nights.    The new River North sports bar, Bull and Bear, not only lures the hipsters, but attracts businessmen and women during the lunch hour.91101

The name Bull and Bear obviously recognizes two of Chicago’s major sports teams, but also refers to the financial world and appeals to the CBOT crowd.  The restaurant has a nice layout and designs, but can get a little too close for comfort when crowded.  After talking with a few friends about the menu, I wanted to see if their food matched the upscale vibe.  Well, let’s just say that it didn’t measure up.

The Bull and Bear menu has a ton of starters, salads, main courses, sides and short order options.  There are a plethera of burgers and sandwiches to choose from as well as a few non bar food entrees.  The “Onion Tower” and “Sweet Potato Fries” were typical.  Nothing great, but nothing bad about either dish.  The “Lobster Bisque” was deemed to be a signature item and would have been if it wasn’t served luke warm.    The “Double Cut Grilled Pork Chop” was a little dry and didn’t live up to the waitresses billing,  but my dining guest really enjoyed his “Pulled Hammy” pork sliders.  We were graciously served with a sampling of all of their desserts, which consisted of a chocolate chip cookie draped in vanilla ice cream, cinnamon doughnut holes with three different dipping sauces, peanut butter bread pudding, and a “Thrilla in Vanilla” shake with Filandia Vodka and Godiva Dark Vanilla Royale.  They were all savory, but I wouldn’t necessarily have paired peanut butter and bread pudding together.  The service started off sketchy, due to a mishap with my reservation, but the owner and waitress attempted to make up for it.  Don’t expect upscale service during crowded nights though, because it is still, however, a sports bar.

A unique feature to Bull and Bear are their 5 premiere booths with Personal Table Taps.  Each booth has two taps (1 domestic, 1 import) that dispenses beer, which is recorded on a meter at the table.  The goal is to allow guests to pay-as-they-pour and enjoy a no-wait standard of service.  This feature should be a big hit for beer lovers.

Bull and Bear has only been open for about 3 weeks, so they may still be working out the kinks.  Although they didn’t meet my dining experience expectations for what they deem as an “exclusive luxury sports bar”, I may give them another shot once the madd rush dies down.

Bull and Bear is located 431 N. Wells St.  For more information log onto www.bullbearbar.com.  Also watch Fete Select TV on www.efete.net to check out the newest and hottest restaurants in Chicago.

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