Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It ain't happening, folks . . .

(Photo: Hot Doug Drop)

Sorry I got everyone all worked up about the possibility of Hot Doug's being delivered to the Loop.

Owner Doug Sohn has sadly shut down the idea, according to Drive-Thru.

At least for the time being . . .

Get it together, please . . .


West Loop newcomer The Grocery Bistro, a casual concept by chef Andre Christopher (Japonais, Pops for Champagne, one sixtyblue), is catching heat from Zagat's commenters:

"The decor sums it up - cute on the surface, but upon closer inspection cheap and not very well put together. Menu was blue cheese heavy and fresh veg light. Staff was easy on the eyes but sloppy with the service. Will not return. Bummer."

"Tried to make reservations last week and couldn't get a call back - left multiple messages. Won't try again."

Dude, this is your wake-up call. Answer it!

Ben's still in!

Ben Walanka, executive sous chef at Rhapsody (Photo: FOX)

So, we haven't checked in lately with our hometown hero Ben Walanka, Rhapsody's colorful exec sous chef who's still holding it down on Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen.

If you need to get caught up on episodes, check here. The next show airs at 8pm CST on FOX, so you'll be all caught up just in time!

Eight for Easter Brunch

C-House chefs Toni Roberts and Seth Siegel-Gardner are whipping up something special for their "Bossa Nova"-themed Easter Brunch. (Photo: C-House)

With so many incredible brunches happening around town, it's almost impossible to make a choice for Easter—happening on Sunday.

You've got the info on all the great buffet deals (which is great when you've got a fam to feed), but what if you just want to indulge in some truly creative options prepared by our local culinary geniuses?!

Check the list for the best chef-driven brunches in the city:

ajasteak's Sunday School features female servers in plaid Catholic school skirts and pigtails, but don't let that distract you from the main event: the 16-inch pancakes in lemon poppy seed, milk chocolate caramelized banana or spiced apple with hot caramel. Chef Josh Linton's also whipping up indulgent egg dishes, plus roasted wild salmon BLT and a generous Wagyu beef stew. 11am-3pm. $9-$22 for entrees.

312DD had the scoop on Radhika Desai's forthcoming move to New York. The executive chef at Between Boutique Café & Lounge is serving one last Easter brunch before she takes off in May. You don't want to miss the Back-to-Basics Sunday Brunch with all sustainable ingredients and organic produce like Duck Confit Eggs Benedict and Ginger Pancakes with cinnamon maple syrup. $8-$12. Or, for $15, go for the all-you-can-eat buffet filled with exotic items like bacon and cilantro muffins, cardomom rice pudding, and paneer and egg samosas. 10am-2pm.

Just last night, the one and only Charlie Trotter made an appearance at The Bristol, so Executive Chef Chris Pandel must be doing something right. For Easter, he's doing a two-course menu for $21 (includes coffee or tea), featuring Bristol's fantastic burger, a duck confit Reuben and housemade maple sage sausage. 10am-5pm.

Over at Cafe des Architectes, chef Martial Noguier's doing a three-course treat for $45. Choose from entrees: braised lamb shank with English peas; Swan Creek Farm chicken with poached baby leeks and served in a cast iron skillet; and Arctic char with spring onions and pancetta. 11:30am-5pm.

Bristol Burger with Cheddar and Pickles. (Photo: Neil Burger)

C-House’s weekly Brazilian Bossa Nova Brunch gets an Easter twist as chef Seth Siegel-Gardner introduces specials like C-Monkey Bread, the C-House version of the classic loaf. Festive Green Eggs and Lamb will also be served, and pastry chef Toni Roberts hooks up house-made PEEPS for dessert! 10am-3pm. A la carte; prices range $12-$15.

If you're rolling like a rock star, why not treat yourself to chef Laurent Gras' $90 three-course, prix-fixe feast at L2O?! Dishes include Asparagus, Truffle vinaigrette, Olive; Lamb, Rosemary Crumble, Zucchini; and Caramel, “Egg,” Chocolate. 4-10pm.

Michael McDonald's Easter Brunch at one sixtyblue is also three courses, but this one will only cost ya $35. You'll get made-to-order Belgian waffles for kids, plus a tropical fruit salad with “Angel Food” croutons; slow-cooked pork belly with buttermilk biscuits and spicy sausage gravy; and farfalle pasta with spring morels, pea shoots and fava beans. Also, the cocktails: 160 Smokey Mary (kissed with a drop of liquid smoke) and a Champagne Cosmo ($9 each). 11am-2:30pm.

We've never seen so much hype over a brunch than at Paul Kahan's new Sunday sensation over at The Publican. Where do we start?! The surprisingly good Beer Mimosa (with fresh-squeezed OJ and 1809 Berliner Weisse), red wine-poached egg with La Quercia prosciutto, or the smoked ham chop with Bird Mill grits and poached egg. No matter what you do, you cannot go wrong here. 10am-2pm. $3-$18.