Monday, January 7, 2008

It's Vegas, baby, for Charlie Trotter

(Photo: Charlie Trotter's)

Plan on taking a trip to Las Vegas any time soon?

You'll be happy to know that you'll be able to get a taste from home—in the form of our very own Charlie Trotter (816 W. Armitage Ave., 773-248-6228).

Restaurant Charlie is the only Chicago-based eatery going into the glamorous new Palazzo Las Vegas Hotel (3339 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, 800-442-4002)—the lavish resort under development adjacent to the famed Venetian Resort. There will be a massive launch event happening Jan. 17-19 when all the high-end shops and restaurants open. Other esteemed eateries will include CarneVino (Mario Batali), CUT (Wolfgang Puck) and Table 10 (Emeril LaGasse).

The best thing about this new Trotter venture? The multi-tiered concept, which will be largely seafood focused, will also offer a la carte items. And Bar Charlie will be what they're calling a "restaurant within a restaurant." The counter-only seating area holds 18 guests, who will be able to order from the ala carte menu or enjoy a kaiseki-style Trotter experience by allowing chefs to prepare delicate sushi, sashimi and other Trotter creations right before their eyes.

UPDATE: Restaurant Charlie is scheduled to open in early February.

Fashion free for alls

Got a passion for fashion? A thrill for the heel? These three fabulous events happening this week should not be missed by the stylish set:

To kick off the release of the upcoming Fox Searchlight’s “27 Dresses,” a romantic comedy starring Katherine Heigl that follows the story of a woman who has been a bridesmaid 27 times, SHE Boutique and Gen Art host a fashion feté showcasing 27 designer party dresses that you’re certain to love. The event will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 8 7-9pm at Crimson Lounge (333 N. Dearborn St., 312-923-2473).

Also, each guest who brings a gently used bridesmaid or prom dress will be entered in the drawing to win a custom-made dress from Bravo’s “Project Runway” designer Steven Rosengard at the conclusion of the event. The gowns will be donated to The Glass Slipper Project and will help contribute to those who cannot afford to purchase a dress for their high school prom.

The evening will commence with cocktails at 7pm and lead into SHE’s runway show featuring SHE’s very own party dresses at 8pm. Guests will enjoy cocktails and fashion to the musical beats of DJ Sye Young. Guests will receive a fabulous swag bag at the door with goodies from local Chicago retailers including a random selection of bags containing a pass to see the movie premiere on Jan. 10. No cover.

Also, Personal Vogue’s fashion show takes place Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 6:30pm. Benefiting the Service Club of Chicago, the event will feature a special collection of models, who are actually local media personalities, including Sarah Preston (, Chicago Magazine), Natalie Martinez (NBC-5), Ginger Zee (NBC-5), Lauren Jiggetts (NBC-5), Nancy Loo (FOX-5), Amy Freeze (FOX-5), Tera Williams (FOX-5) and drumroll, please, 312 Dining Diva!

We’ll all be stylin’ down a runway in contemporary gear from Neiman Marcus, but don’t make too much fun of us—we don’t do this for a living!

Guests will also be treated to bubbly and appetizers. A minimum $20 donation is requested at the door, with all proceeds benefiting the Service Club of Chicago.

And Thursday, Jan. 10 is the launch of Sushi Samba Rio’s Harajuku Thursdays, which aims to bring a snapshot of the Japanese street scene to River North. An invite-only Harajuku-themed fashion show showcases styles by AKIRA from 9-10pm, with doors opening to the general public at 11pm.

Melding music, style and cuisine, the evening will showcase trends from the famed Harajuku district, a mecca of Asian fashion and urban culture that has inspired designers and celebrity fashionistas across the globe. Every Thursday night, the upstairs Sugarcane Lounge will envelop guests with the high energy sounds of Japanese pop music (J-Pop) alongside dizzying images of Tokyo nightlife. Exotic Harajuku-themed dancers will perform atop traditional sake casks while Japanese anime projections provide a colorful backdrop to this sensory explosion.

Sushi Samba will offer their signature Japanese Happy Box, a twist on the traditional bento box, and sake flights (four varieties for $18) and bottle service from 9pm-1am. The Happy Box includes sesame-soy glazed edamame, yellowtail sashimi, tuna jalapeno sushi and shrimp & shiso leaf tempura for $10. Sake sommelier Monica Samuels designed the specialty Harajuku Sambatini cocktail exclusively for the weekly event, composed of Fukucho Ginjo sake, 10 Cane rum, lychee puree and raspberries ($11). 504 N. Wells St., 312-595-2300. No cover.

Cuban sandwich shop sounds good to me!

From Monica Eng in the Chicago Tribune's The Stew this morning:

"We love a good cortadito and Cuban sandwich. But with the closing of Rancho Luna and Cuban Island in Peterson Park, the northwest side has been hurting for a decent Cuban meal. So we were happy to hear about the new Con Sabor Cubano, scheduled to open at at 2739 W. Lawrence Ave. (773-728-2226) before mid January—ojala (I hope so).

According to Michael Perez, everyone in his Cuban-American family loves to cook so his dad Reynaldo (a longtime CTA employee) decided to lead them in the effort to open a family restaurant. Initially the Ravenswood storefront will offer pressed sandwiches—including Cubanos, ropa viejas (with shredded beef) and steak sandwiches—for $5-$7 plus a selection of Cuban-style coffees. 'We'll have espresso, cafe con leche and cortaditos (espresso with a squirt of milk),' Michael said.

After they get the sandwich biz up and running, Perez says they will branch out into other Cuban foods. But for now they're just trying to complete their city inspections so they can crank up the grill for those toasty sandwiches of pork, cheese, pickles and mustard. Yummm."

Deal of the day . . .

This new West Loop favorite is great for budget-friendly group outings.
(Photo: Beer Bistro)

The West Loop brew haven, Beer Bistro (1061 W. Madison St., 312-433-0013), offers 12 beers on tap and more than 85 choices in all. They've even taken the time to pair each beer with their food selections. And every Monday, Beer Bistro's big deals are the $5 pizzas and $2 PBRs (also recommended to go with the beer-battered chicken fingers) that perfectly complement the games on the many flat-screen monitors.

Come back Tuesdays for $2 burgers any way you want them.