Thursday, March 14, 2013

Recent Chicago Restaurant Visits: Part 2

As promised, since our dining out has been so extensive lately (perhaps I need an intervention?) here comes Part 2 of my dining in Chicago series. This second installment includes one restaurant that was new to us and the rest are solid places that we always seem to come back to...

Bistro Voltaire
River North

I've been really into French food lately. Maybe it means I am getting old and my taste is more sophisticated. Or maybe I just really enjoy any food involving cheese, bread, and cream. Either way, I was really excited to find a Gilt City deal for Bistro Voltaire. This place is small and cozy with (almost too) closely arranged European-style tables, a blackboard wall, and white tablecloths.  Very French. The service here is a little spotty, but the food was well worth the trip.


I could have just enjoyed a few loaves of the fresh French bread and some wine and been totally happy with my meal. Well, we did order actual food-- we split an appetizer of puffed pastry with mushrooms in a cream sauce (top left) that was really tasty. For entrees, I strayed from my normal ordering habits and tried the scallops.  Great decision! They were perfectly seared and served with parsnip puree, pancetta, red wine reduction, and (my favorite) roasted Brussels sprouts (bottom left). Alex went with traditional Boeuf Bourguignon-- and he cleaned his plate.
Bistro Voltaire on Urbanspoon

Vinci
Lincoln Park

 We have been to Vinci a few times-- on our own and for a holiday party-- and it's always good. It's popular with the theater crowd since the Steppenwolf Theater is just a block away.

I almost always end up ordering off of their nightly specials menu-- they just always sound better! The first time I went it was rosemary shrimp skewers over orzo. This last time it was a rich and delicious risotto with spinach, caramelized onions, gorgonzola, and walnuts (right). My creature of habit husband usually orders their three meat pizza.
Vinci on Urbanspoon

South Water Kitchen
Downtown/Loop

I'm not sure I have ever been here for dinner, but it is one of my favorite downtown brunch spots. We even came here for my bridal brunch.

They have a really vast new American menu and everything I have tried has been good. I'm a huge fan of their thin and crispy flatbreads. I have had a really good one with butternut squash and then this breakfast one with scrambled eggs, peppers, spinach, and cheese (right).
South Water Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Sola
North Center

I have professed my love for Sola here before, but thought it was worth mentioning again-- especially since this time we went for dinner. I LOVE Sola brunch, but their dinner selection is equally delicious. It's upscale American food with a Hawaiian flair.


They had a cobia special that night-- the first time I have tried that type of fish and it was really good. Surprisingly though, our favorite part of the meal was our appetizer. I'm not a big fan of duck, but Alex insisted on the duck confit potstickers. They were really delicious and I could have ordered another plate for my entree.
Sola on Urbanspoon

Grange Hall Burger Bar
West Loop

Grange Hall is the ultimate farm to table burger joint and perfect if you're looking for some comfort food among the more high brow restaurants on Randolph Street. The restaurant is super rustic inside with long communal farm tables, country-inspired decor like quilts, doilies, and vintage dishes, and they are usually rocking out to classic country music (like Alabama's Greatest Hits when we were there recently).


The food here is great-- no frills, local sourced, and full of flavor. I ordered their turkey burger with Thanksgiving-themed toppings like cranberry aioli (below). It was similar to the one I tried at Holstein's in Las Vegas, but better. Alex ordered two apps for his entree and I stole a few bites of both-- mac and cheese with a crunchy homemade potato chip topping (yum) and chili cheese fries like I have never had before. Their homemade thick cut potato fries are topped with a two bean and turkey chili, onions, and real (not pump) cheese (above).


As if we didn't eat enough, Alex noticed that their seasonal pie of the month was his favorite key lime. So, of course we ordered a slice of that too. All of their pies are hand-made so you can understand how good this was. They also serve assorted homemade ice cream flavors and milkshakes too.
Grange Hall Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

These certainly aren't the only restaurants that we have visited lately/ever. You can check out my first installment of these posts here. And, if you're interested in finding out more, check out all of my restaurant reviews on Yelp! You can also sign up to follow my blog with Bloglovin

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