Eager to dispel the misconception that the French only excel in fine dining, as they told Crain's Chicago Business, restaurateurs Stephan and Nicole Outrequin Quaisser opened Brasserie by LM to show how France does everyday dining. The magazine lauds Brasserie's “case of simplicity done well,” showcased by dishes such as duck confit with “beautifully browned skin," traditional onion soup, and brick chicken, perfect for building an edible dream house. For early risers (the restaurant opens at 6 a.m.), the culinary team crafts French-style breakfasts with French toast topped by caramelized bananas and crepes filled with gruyere, ham, and béchamel.
To complement those bites, barkeeps pour imported and domestic wines and stir up specialty cocktails and premium coffee drinks. Feasts unfold in a space that’s the essence of South Loop sleekness, where a large chalkboard menu towers over a spacious lounge filled with bamboo-topped tables, wine bottles peeking from floating wooden shelves, and cheery orange seats.
Flip Crêpes got its start on the Chicago Farmers Markets circuit in 2003, slinging its warm and sweet or savory treats to steadily growing flocks of customers. Eventually, the company outgrew its humble beginnings and expanded to a location inside the Ogilvie Transportation Center, where customers stop in for the crowd-pleasing crepes alongside a burgeoning roster of sandwiches and paninis. Four distinct menus address any and all cravings the day might present, including selections that tackle breakfast munchies with eggs and bacon, a passion for the savory with toasted options, salad cravings with fresh and crisp selections, and sweet teeth with desserts chock-full of Nutella, strawberries, and dulce de leche. The tender crepes will only wrap their eggy arms around healthy, high-quality ingredients, so the chefs avoid high-fructose corn syrup and other undesirable foodstuffs.
Crêpe Bistro takes taste buds on a globetrotting gastronomic trip to France and Russia, provided that your tongue’s passport and travel papers are in order. Crawl mouthfirst into Crêpe Bistro's slate of authentic crêpes, including the fromage classic ($7.25) with your choice of cheese; the peasant-pleasing ratatouille crêpe ($10.25), containing a stew of vegetables and spices; the chutney-covered Kathmandu ($11) with chicken, mushrooms, cheese, and curry; and the Crêpe Tahiti ($10), a rolled-up paradise of cheese, ham, and pineapple chunks. Dessert crêpes, topped with powdered sugar and whipped cream, include the sugar & cinnamon crêpe ($4.50), the apple crêpe ($7), and the banana & Nutella crêpe ($7.50). Crêpe Bistro also serves several caviar-containing dishes on its dinner menu, and its brunch menu and roster of alcoholic drinks, including the $5 martini bar, will attract diners of all shoe sizes. Get your Groupon and stop by Crêpe Bistro after a night at the theater for crowd-pleasing crêpe craftsmanship.
At Epic, chef Stephen Wambach calls upon regional ingredients to create his Michelin star–winning menu of new American cuisine. Lauded as a “master of meat” by Timeout Chicago, Stephen expertly sears and seasons braised short ribs and a lineup of premium Angus steaks. Cocoa rubbed rack of lamb and apple-brandy glazed pork chops round out the meat selections, which are complemented by seafood delights including cornmeal dusted ahi tuna, seared scallops with butternut squash ravioli, and lobster. Though the name Epic aptly describes the food, it also embodies the restaurant itself. Situated in a River North warehouse, diners are engulfed by soaring ceilings, equalled in drama by the open, winding staircase to the second floor dining room. Sleek, ultra-modern décor runs throughout the restaurant—characterized by gleaming, nearly black wood and minimalistic lighting—and extends to the rooftop lounge. In the open air, guests can sip craft cocktails and mingle in leather booths while drinking in astonishing views of the neighboring skyscrapers.