Between Peruvian's executive chef Jose Victorio captures the essence of his Peruvian homeland with traditional dishes that deliver authentic flavors. A choice of quinoa-breaded chicken salad or anticuchos de corazon, grilled skewers of succulent veal heart, kick off the culinary journey, followed by the much-touted ceviche classico or the pulpo causa's grilled baby octopus and crushed peruvian potatoes. Revel in the savory flavors of the arroz con pato's duck-leg confit and North Peruvian rice or the corderito de los andes, four micro lamb chops alongside bacon potatoes and huacatay-ocopa sauce. A final choice between algarrobina flan with organic quinoa and french toast topped in vanilla ice cream and picarones honey proves more difficult than acing an advanced calculus exam as a first-grader.
Considering Bar Deville has built its reputation on its ability to mix a quality cocktail, first-time patrons might be confused when they can't find a drink list anywhere. But instead of printing a formal menu, the bartenders keep the selection memorized, which means guests can order a sazerac or a dark and stormy, or they can simply throw out a base and trust their mixologist to fill in the blanks. It’s a fitting practice for a bar whose image is as hard to pin down as a muscular butterfly—the space resembles the club-like design of sister establishments Empire Liquors and Angels & Kings, but the vibe is more in keeping with the low-key establishments that typify its Ukrainian Village setting. Inside, cocktail aficionados from around the city settle in beside the neighborhood’s artsy, hipster crowds, who line up for craft beers or drafts of PBR siphoned from pretty porcelain spouts. The main bar sits in the front room, where groups huddled in high-backed leather booths chatter freely over a mid-volume stream of music and a silent inner monologue reminding them to smile more. The tunes are funneled from the larger and louder back lounge, where a DJ in a booth built from a church pew might spin anything from LCD Soundsystem to the Fugees to Toto. Here, the dancing crowds can catch their breath by grabbing a beer from the small bar or by resting on one of the antique couches that sit throughout the low-lit room. Buffering the two distinct spaces sit two attractions: a photobooth that spits out sepia-toned strips, and a red-felted pool table that, despite its rich surroundings of gilded mirrors and wall-mounted antlers, is free to play on, if you're lucky enough to snag it.
The Savoy may be landlocked, but it doesn't let that stop it from excelling at seafood. "There are a lot of nice things about The Savoy, not the least of which is the fact that the seafood it sources is lovely," says one Time Out Chicago review. The restaurant's crown jewel is its raw bar, which features tuna tartar, ceviche, and oysters on the half-shell. Crab cake appetizers with mascarpone vinaigrette make for another highlight, while the pork belly confit with seared scallops stands out among the menu's more landward entrees.
A classic wooden bar lines one of the restaurant's walls, but the cocktails are anything but traditional. The gal behind the bar, Deidre Darling, has dedicated a portion of the lengthy wine and drink list to cocktails made with absinthe?the famous "green fairy" that fueled the Parisian creative scene during the Belle ?poque. Some have long rosters of ingredients with just a tiny hint of the licorice-flavored liquor, while others are simpler: one part absinthe to four parts water, dripped from a vintage absinthe fountain and served with an optional sugar cube and a note reminding you to keep sharp things away from your ear.
After couples slip through this speakeasy’s inconspicuous entrance, they’re seated at small tables where curtains or high-backed chairs create a sense of seclusion. Plush drapes flirt with honeyed wood floors, separating rooms where companions share gougères or sip craft cocktails such as the Juliet and Romeo, a refreshing blend of gin, mint, and rosewater.
Chicago Magazine recently named Estate Ultra Bar one of the city's top five new bars, thanks largely to its eclectic crowd of "trend mongers and scene followers, mixed with relatively low-key partiers who just want to hang." There’s nothing trendy, however, about executive chef Chris Turano's menu of seasonal American cuisine. Turano brings his A-game every night in the form of tuna tartar, pulled pork, and miniature Angus burgers. With 8,000 square feet of interior space, the bar is divided into several sections: the atrium, living room, dining room, and trophy room—all of which can be reserved for private parties or hopscotch tournaments. An open-air rooftop lounge overlooks the Chicago River, though the crisp orange and white décor may trick guests into thinking they’re at a posh nightclub in Las Vegas.
Bartenders at this no-nonsense cocktail spot make ‘em stiff and simple. The bar just may be the smallest in town—it measures 3.5 feet wide at its narrowest section and 15 feet wide at its roomiest. Still, loyal patrons happily squeeze in and order up a perfectly prepared Manhattan or margarita.