Monday, May 3, 2010

STAGE BITES: The Weekly Dining & Drinking Guide

The Hypocrites' production of "Cabaret" at Storefront Theater. (Photo: The Hypocrites)

Every Monday look for the week's top performances paired with the best deals before and after the show:

Cabaret at Storefront Theater. The Hypocrites's rendition of the provocative musical taking place in Nazi-ruled Berlin. Most performances have sold out; the live band makes it even more exciting. 7:30pm Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays; 3pm Sundays (through May 23). Get tickets here.

China Grill: Known for its notoriously large plates of exotic Asian fare, China Grill recently revamped its menu for those with smaller appetites. You can now order diminutive portions of signature dishes like the Lobster Pancakes or Sake Marinated “Drunken” Chicken. And after all these years—it's been around for six!—they've finally added some tantalizing new dishes: Spiced Crispy Pork Belly; Char Siu Baby Back Pork Ribs; and Miso Grilled Vegetables & Udon Noodles. Share if only you care.

The Gage: WhiskeyFest is long over, but not at The Gage, which continues its spirit with a nice selection of whiskey flights. Four varieties include American, Irish and an "international" collection such as Four Roses Single Barrel, Glenrothes 1994 and Yamazaki 12YR. $28 for each flight; available through May.

Park Grill: On Thursdays, you'll want to hit up the bar area for a number of $5 items. Choose from steamed Prince Edward Island Mussels, mini burgers or cornmeal-crusted calamari.

Deca's steamed mussels served with crispy, hand-cut fries. (Photo: deca RESTAURANT + BAR)

Resurrection Blues at Greenhouse Theater. Presented by Eclipse Theatre, Arthur Miller's penultimate play brilliantly satirizes modern politics and faith in a media-obsessed society. 8pm Thursday, Friday, Saturday; 3pm Sunday (closes May 9). Get tickets here.

Aperitif 21: Vegetarians will have a field day at this stylish Mediterranean spot in Lincoln Park. Their hummus is possibly the most popular item on the menu, but we're also hearing great feedback on the toasted falafel sandwich and baked goat cheese appetizers. Meat eaters can graze on the spicy lamb burger, a number of meat kabobs and the rustic chicken entree.

Gemini Bistro: If you do the 3pm Sunday show, head to this cozy corner street bistro first for brunch (it's 10am-2pm). You must have the signature Brunch Punch and complement that with the bacon, egg and cheese biscuit; chorizo skillet with corn tortillas; or the crab cake Po' Boy with fries.

Mon Ami Gabi: It's only about a five-minute taxi ride from the theater, but it's totally worth it for the number of classic French dishes you can enjoy on the sidewalk patio. Lighter bites include several seafood dishes, from the skate paired with crispy garlic chips to the trout accompanied by lemon, capers and croutons.

The sweetest seats at rooftop lounge C-View. (Photo: C-View)

Trust at Lookingglass Theater. Where's "Dateline" investigative reporter Chris Hansen when you need him?! "Trust" explores a seemingly innocent online encounter threatening to ruin a small-town family. Written and directed by ensemble member David Schwimmer. 7:30pm Wednesday-Sunday; 3pm Saturday, Sunday (closes May 9). Get tickets here.

C-View: You cannot go wrong ordering the mini Yellowtail tacos, salmon pastrami sandwich or lobster club. And if you're with a group of friends, be sure to order "bottle service" of the Punch Drunk Love or Strawberry Caipirinha. Serves four at $45.

deca RESTAURANT + BAR: The Ritz-Carlton's new resto opens with much fanfare, offering a number of deals throughout the summer. We're especially excited about getting half off on all wines by the bottle and glass. And if you forget your laptop, they have two iPads on hand for you to check the news. The menu's simple, yet upscale with approachable bistro faves. Check: mussels and fries; a Maine lobster salad; char-grilled Wagyu burger; and pizzettes.

Café Spiaggia: Since dinner can be a bit intimating at Spiaggia, you might want to book a table for dinner at its more casual sibling next door. The food's just as delicious, particularly its homemade pastas and desserts. Particularly good are the gnocchi, hand-crafted ricotta and whole-grain spaghetti.

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