Graham Elliot, Chicago, Illinois
Chicago , Illinois
Tel: 312 624 9975
Concierge.com's insider take:
Perhaps Graham Elliot Bowles's stint at the Peninsula Hotel's relatively formal Avenues restaurant created a pent-up need for culinary whimsy, but whatever the backstory, the chef's eponymous restaurant in River North's Gallery District is playful enough to verge on giddy. Blasting rock music, crayon-colored light fixtures, a clubby bar and lounge, and the exposed bricks and beams of this former printing warehouse set the tone for a menu full of gastronomic gags and puns. Emblematic of the house style (which Bowles dubs "bistronomic") is the foie gras lollipop rolled in watermelon and strawberry Pop Rocks, and a drumstick-size buffalo chicken wing crowned with a foam made from Budweiser. Entrées, such as braised pork with cheddar grits, collard greens, and redeye gravy, are more restrained (some dishes don't need a punch line). Main course prices hover around $30, a price point that tends to draw the expense-account crowd; the fairly reserved demeanor of the business set is at odds with the restaurant's otherwise rowdy vibe. Raphael Kadushin
Open Mondays through Saturdays 5 to 10:30 pm.