Steeped in entertainment history, The New 400 Theaters showcases new and recent Hollywood films inside its four-screen movie house. Opened in 1912 and originally dubbed Regent Theater, the single-screen Rogers Park locale presented 725-seat audiences the chance to witness eclectic vaudeville acts and to shout technique critiques to sword-fighting actors during moving-picture showings. Regent transmogrified into the "400 Theater" in 1930—a name taken from the term for the top 400 society folk—and then into a city-crushing ladybug in 1955, before settling into its current configuration in 2009, with refurnished venues, multiple screens, and a recently opened full-service bar.
The wine aficionados at Taste Food and Wine acquaint palates with sundry wine varietals, complemented by gourmet meats, cheeses, and deli fare. Free tastings on select weeknights allow patrons to sample various reds and whites, and the wine-of-the-month club supplies subscribers with two bottles that, like a stray salesman, make regular appearances on doorsteps. The deli coaxes out each note in complex wines with an array of munchables such as fresh pastas, smoked salmon rolls, prosciutto, and imported and domestic cheeses.
Morseland's dinner menu, available until 10:30 p.m. nightly, serves up classic comfort food with hints of Cajun flavor. Appetizers include buffalo wings ($8 for 10 wings, $14 for 20 wings) and crab cakes ($8), with fresh hummus ($8) and mini veggie burgers ($7) satisfying herbivores. Scale the shaved heights of Morseland's beef and cheddar sandwich ($11), or imprison seafood in the stockade of your stomach with a catfish po' boy ($8). Additional entrees include a Jamaican jerk pork chop ($17) and a 14-ounce hanger steak ($18), with the French Quarter farrago of jambalaya ($17) uniting the estranged carnivore-friendly cousins of shrimp, chicken, and sausage. Daily dinner specials are also available, as is brunch on weekends.
Though you might not know it from the outside, the kitchen at Aqua Bar and Grill, part of a hotel building from the 1940s, is the site of a nightly culinary summit. There, flavorful representatives from Cajun and Caribbean traditions meet to form an ever-changing menu that includes cajun sandwiches, penne pasta tossed with three kinds of sausage and jambalaya, top sirloin steak, coconut shrimp, crab-stuffed mushrooms, and crab legs. The chefs concoct a selection of seasonal American fare with emphasis on seafood that complements the bar and grill's well-rounded wine list and selection of more than 25 craft beers. Amid the high ceilings and walls dotted with paintings from local artists, Aqua's friendly owners also prowl the restaurant floor, mixing up signature cocktails at the bar, making friends, and daring people to sing their orders to the tune of "Turkey In The Straw".
When wild boar, ostrich, and lamb all pop up on the same menu, that usually means you're at a cutting-edge restaurant browsing its exotic spread of haute cuisine. Or, it means you're at Rolland's. Behind its sports bar-themed facade, Rolland's slyly slips unique and tasty experiences onto tables. That's especially true of the restaurant's a la carte sliders, which are not only stacked between pretzel buns, but also feature out-of-the-ordinary wild boar and ostrich patties. These sliders anchor a menu that also includes gourmet steak burgers, cheese-slathered waffle fries, and a lengthy list of local, craft, and imported beers, which ensures guests never have to follow their meal with a raucous rain dance out on Clark St. just to satisfy their thirst.