Beyond an ornate blue-and-white exterior, groups of family and friends celebrate any number of occasions over fresh Mexican seafood dishes. As birthday celebrants don sombreros and farmhands feed cogs to the mechanical bull, fork tines prod fresh lobster, fish tacos, and shrimp fajitas. Mariachi bands, DJs, and karaoke crooners also send music notes sailing through the dining room’s archways, as the 60-ounce Margarita Tsunami complements a whole red snapper doused with hot sauce. Meanwhile, live singers, magicians, and colorful cultural acts ensure eyes and ears feast as thoroughly as bellies do, during theme nights and shows that occur every Wednesday though Sunday.
Using all-natural meats, Amish free-range chicken, and produce from Midwestern farmers’ markets, Hemmingway's Bistro serves fresh, flavorful French fare in an attractive, white-tablecloth-laden dining room. Executive Chef Ala's fondness for melt-on-your-tongue seafood makes its mark on the menu—the restaurant imports fish from the East Coast daily. Satiate seafood cravings with the herb-crusted whitefish paired with caper butter ($18.95), or guzzle away at the Dijon salmon with a side of cream lentils ($21.95). The Classic ($36.95) stuffs grumbling stomachs with half a lobster, nine oysters, three shrimp, three clams, six mussels, and two crabs. Before the main course, showcase your magic skills by cutting the baked brie topped with apricot preserves ($11.95) in half with your saw-teeth. Vegetarians can fork in warm goat-cheese petite salad ($7.95) while carnivores sink their teeth into the roasted lamb rack paired with ratatouille ($26.95). Cleanse your esophagus with a glass of '99 Saint Clement syrah ($9 for a glass) or an '06 Campanile pinot grigio ($7 for a glass) from Hemmingway's stockpile of red and white wines.
Whether you're in the mood for a New York Strip or a juicy tenderloin, you'll find plenty to like at Corner 41. Diners who avoid fat need to be careful, though, because Corner 41's menu does not offer low-fat options. Just because you're out on the town doesn't mean you have to miss the game. TVs are on in the bar area to give you all the latest scores. With its kid-friendly vibe, Corner 41 is a great spot for families to chow down. Plan your next big gathering at Corner 41 — patrons will appreciate the spacious interior, and there's even a private room for special occasions. On warmer days, you can take advantage of Corner 41's al fresco patio seating.
The restaurant can fill to capacity on the weekends, so don't forget to call ahead to reserve your table. Casual dining at its best, Corner 41 customers are free to enjoy themselves in jeans and a T-shirt. Or, take your food to-go.
Parallel-parking experts can find room on the street, though patrons also have access to the restaurant's adjoining lot. If you're too tired to drive, public transportation will also suffice; right around the corner are stops at Irving Park-Brown (Brown Line) and Montrose-Brown (Brown Line).
A visit to Corner 41 will set you back less than $30 per person, so you can make it a regular part of your schedule. All major credit cards are accepted, including Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express.
Famous Frenchman-turned-fictional-hero Cyrano de Bergerac and Chef Didier Durand probably don't share a passion for swordplay. They do, however, share at least two other things in common: a hometown and a poetic soul. After training in France, a young Durand moved to Chicago and bounced around its culinary scene, all the while preparing for his finest recipe yet?his own restaurant. In 1996, he opened its doors and christened it after his countryman, unveiling the rustic River North eatery first known as Cyrano's Bistrot & Wine Bar and now known as Cyrano's Farm Kitchen. In 2014, he celebrates 18 years of being in business as well as a mention in the Michelin Guide Chicago 2014.
This casual bistro, operating under the motto that good food makes people happy, showcases Durand's original cuisine while conjuring his memories of pastoral France, amid the idyllic trees and birds who sang Rimbaud poems from the leaves. Exposed-brick walls and reclaimed timber accents lend the space its authentic country charm, while the seasonal menu features American-inspired French dishes such as braised ratatouille, cedar plank salmon, and coffee-rubbed Amish chicken. Almost every dish needs a proper wine pairing, so sommelier Jamie Pellar?also Durand's wife?curates a list of hand-picked wines from around the world?including Durand's home region, where she often travels.
With its lapping waves and watery vistas, Lake Michigan makes for a decent approximation of the much larger Atlantic Ocean, where Jeff Mazza feels most at home. Still, the owner of New England Seafood Company Fish Market could not shake a feeling of homesickness when he relocated to the Midwest. "Sitting on a deck eating some fried clams and some lobster rolls, that's every weekend pretty much. That's the stuff we miss and couldn't really find too much out here," he told ABC7?s Hungry Hound.
Rather than pining away and writing novel-length emails to the family dog, Mazza reflected on what he missed the most about New England and put together a plan. Soon enough, he and his brothers had opened a restaurant and market and were busy importing seafood freshly caught in the Atlantic?s waters. Today, their menu includes baked haddock, pan-seared crab cakes, and the aforementioned fried clams and lobster rolls of Jeff?s youth. The lobster rolls?with their cold lobster meat, buttery seasonings, and buns imported from Boston?seem to have won over the most local fans. Serious Eats recently described them as "the purest, simplest version" of the sandwich found in Boston or Chicago.
The spring rolls at Moher Public House hail from the east, but not as far as Asia—they're an Irish take on the appetizer, boasting corned beef, mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese, and mustard wrapped and steamed inside a cabbage leaf. They aren't the only dish that's reflective of the Emerald Isle, either. Irish nachos pile scallions, tomatoes, bacon, and jalapeños onto fried potatoes, and classic entrees such as Guinness beef stew share the menu with American pub fare. Patrons can even mix and match their meals' country of origin by ordering burgers, crab cakes, or ribs before a bowl of homemade bread pudding, mixed with dried cranberries. The eclectic food offerings go hand-in-hand with a full bar, where shots of Jameson Irish Whiskey can be had for $3 on any day of the week. Daily food and drink specials build up to Friday's all-you-can-eat fish and chips: Atlantic cod in a Smithwick's batter, which, like all of the pub's seafood, has been certified by Safe Harbor. Live music plays on Friday and Saturday nights, and Thursday trivia rounds challenge teams with tougher barroom questions than "do you have a bottle opener?"