Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A first look at C-House, C-View

Marcus Samuelsson (right), shown here with David Burke's Primehouse executive chef Rick Gresh, is the chef/partner of C-House. (Photo: 312 Dining Diva)

It sucks that I have no pictures to share from my sneak preview tour of C-House and C-View, two of Chicago's hottest new spots going into new boutique hotel Affinia (166 E. Superior St., 787-6000) in mid-May. They're still under construction, but when this seafood-and-steak small plates venue opens on the first floor of the hotel, it's certain to be a prime destination. Not to mention that star chef Marcus Samuelsson (of NYC's award-winning Aquavit) is at the helm.

Zebra wood is the main design element throughout both venues, giving them a warm, chilled-out vibe as guests settle into the various banquettes, tables and barstools. You'll also find one communal table situated in the middle of each spot, where you won't miss a thing going on around you.

And when you head to the 28th floor, the doors open to C-View—the city's only rooftop lounge. I've been here all my life and didn't realize that we've never had a rooftop lounge. How could that happen?! Offering spectacular views of the city, C-View at night will be truly unbelievable with all the lights from surrounding buildings setting it off. A limited small-plates menu from C-House will also be offered here, but of course you'll get to indulge in a full-service bar.

Japan's #1 spirit arrives in Lakeview

Two shochu-infused cocktails are shown here at the hot new lounge/eatery of the same name in Lakeview. (Photo: Shochu)

Shochu (3313 N. Clark St., 773-348-3313), which opens today in Lakeview, is the first-ever "shochu" lounge in the United States. But what is shochu, you ask?! It's the #1 Japanese distilled spirit that is made from rice, barley, sweet potatoes and black sugar. Husband-and-wife duo Lynne Wallack and John Handler—who are also behind the popular Lakeview brunch fave Deleece (4004 N. Southport Ave., 773-325-1710)—are pairing signature cocktails with small plates.

The cocktail menu offers a large collection of shochu-based cocktails, like Black Dragon (mixing shochu with muddled blackberries and simple syrup) and Iwo Oyama (a mixture of shochu with pear and green tea). The menu offers moderately priced fare with an Asian edge, including a number of maki rolls, marinated grilled steak wrapped in butter lettuce and eggplant maitake sesame tempura.

Also happening tonight:

Landmark Grill + Lounge (1633 N. Halsted St., 312-587-1600) heads in a completely different direction with its music tonight for the Beatles Wine Tasting. Yes, that's right. They're pairing classic Beatles tunes with vino, but it'll be interesting to see what they pair with “Helter Skelter!” 7pm. $30.

Catch the next episode of Bravo's "Top Chef" at Paramount Room (415 N. Milwaukee Ave., 312-829-6300), which is showing the series on LCD screens on both levels. You'll get a chance to sink your teeth into their specialty Amish fried chicken, which is only served on Wednesdays.

And country music continues to burn up the charts as evidenced by hot Capitol recording artists Lady Antebellum, with their hit "Love Don't Live Here." You will be able to say, "We saw them when...." and you get a free CD. Joe's (940 W. Weed St., 312-337-3486) 8pm. $10.