Wednesday, November 12, 2008

312 Chicago chef on the move


It's been a big year for some of Chicago's popular chefs to break out on their own. Graham Elliot Bowles left Avenues last winter for his eponymous River North eatery, then Coco Pazzo's Tony Priolo left to launch Piccolo Sogno, and, of course, Randy Zweiban departed Nacional 27 for his hot Province property.

Now comes word from the Chicago Tribune's Monica Eng that 312 Chicago's Dean Zanella is kicking it solo come December to work on his own neighborhood-focused restaurant.

Sake, maki and more


Who cares if the weather's a little wacky today. Get out and enjoy yourself with one of these special events:

Get the 411 on sake with expert Aya Nomoto at Drinks Over Dearborn, the newest spirits shop to hit the River North area. Sake It To Me introduces guests to just about every style (Junmai, Ginjo, Daiginjo, Nigori), and if you really like something, you'll get to take it home at 10 percent off. 7-8pm. $25.

Speaking of Asian delights, Blu Coral hosts its Customer Appreciation Day all evening, with comp champagne, gifts and a $10 gift certificate for all dine-in customers.

Bravo's "Project Runway" finalist Daniel Vosovic gets you ready for the winter with tips on style as he signs copies of his new book, "Fashion Inside Out!," at Jake. Sip on bubbly and nibble chocolates as you sift through the season's hottest styles in this tony Rush Street boutique. 939 N. Rush St. 6-8pm. No cover.

Speaking of Bravo, the fifth season of "Top Chef" kicks off tonight, and once again Chicago's in the running for the title. This time, it's Radhika “Rad” Desai of Between Boutique Cafe and Lounge, and she's personally picked out tonight's menu for the viewing party at the restaurant. The special tasting menu includes curried lobster bisque, spice-rubbed butterfish with spinach and chorizo, braised duck samosa and ginger chocolate mousse in a chocolate tart. 8:30pm. $50.

And, as always, Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club hosts a "Top Chef" viewing party, featuring themed cocktails and dishes. Get there early to nab your seat and chow down on the specialties: Big Apple Borscht (beet stew with apples, potatoes, parsnips, onions; $6); Quickfire (spinach salad with smoked duck, goat cheese, dried cranberries, maple balsamic; $10) and Butcher Block (Rosemary-rubbed veal rack with garlic mashed potatoes and hericot vert; $25). The cocktail of the night is the Top Chef Tini (Vox vodka, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, splash of champagne; $6). Also, ask your server about many half-price martinis, and all entrees are BOGO (buy one, get one free). Show starts at 9pm. No cover.