In this month’s edition: Mezcal Mondays from home. // Photo Courtesy La Josie

Resy LineupChicago

The Resy Lineup: Chicago Black Restaurant Week, Lunar New Year Specials, and More

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Welcome to Chicago’s Resy Lineup, your regular dose of recommendations on what to eat, drink, and see — updated on a monthly basis.

In this month’s edition: Mezcal Mondays with La Josie, an extended Chicago Black Restaurant Week, and a bungalow brunch at Beatnik.

 

February

The Restaurant Rec

The Chicago Firehouse Restaurant in South Loop is a steakhouse as quintessentially Chicago as they come. Built in the early 1900s as an actual firehouse, the restaurant opened 20 years ago and recently underwent renovations after a major fire. Honoring part of Chicagos history is what Chicago Firehouse is known for and what it does best, as found in the restaurant’s preservation of its polished century-old building and through its ever classic steakhouse menu. Traditional steak cuts, crisp wedges of baby iceberg covered in bacon and Roquefort blue cheese, and creamy potatoes au gratin are available for your enjoyment by carryout or while dining-in.

 

The Drink Proposal

When it comes to agave spirits, West Loop Mexican restaurant La Josie reigns supreme. Their agave bible is a thoughtfully laid out mini master class that covers more than just mezcal and tequila. If you’re trying to figuring out where exactly your palate lands on the spectrum of agave spirits, go exploring on Mezcal Mondays to taste a few selections in a mezcal flight. Or sip away at home with cocktails to go. La Josie has several tasty options and each bottle makes two cocktails.

 

The Stay-At-Home Move

This year’s annual Chicago Black Restaurant Week (CBRW) is an extended two-week-long love letter to Chicago’s community of Black-owned restaurants. On the list: notable stalwarts like Josephine’s Southern Cooking and Luella’s Southern Kitchen, plus dozens of Black-owned food and beverage favorites from across Chicagoland. And CBRW’s partnership with UberEats makes it just that much easier to indulge from home this year. CBRW runs until February 21st. Visit their site to see the full list of participants and to order online.

 

The Event Invite

Beatnik invites you to celebrate “Day 59,” aka February 28th (the 59th day of the year) with Bungalow Brunch. Perhaps crossing the finish line of what’s been the coldest, snowiest month on record in recent Chicago history is worthy of celebration. Brunch, cocktails, and a nice lineup of DJs will convene in Beatnik West Town’s heated courtyard where you’re guaranteed to knock off any lingering chills in your bones. Tickets for entry required. Brunch and cocktails not included.

 

The Weekend Pairing

February has been jam-packed with celebrations and it’s not over yet! Koi Fine Asian Cuisine & Lounge’s Lunar New Year menu honors the Year of the Ox with an assortment of traditional dishes and lucky foods (available until the end of February), which include noteworthy descriptions of each food’s cultural significance. Like nian gao (rice cakes), also called Chinese New Year cakes, which are lucky to eat because they have the symbolism of increasing prosperity every year.” Dumplings (steamed or fried) come in beef, vegetable, and shrimp and offer a brief history lesson for the uninitiated, “With a history of more than 1,800 years, dumplings (jiaozi) are a classic Chinese food, and a traditional dish eaten on Chinese New Year’s Eve, widely popular in China, especially in North China.” While in Evanston, head over to Fountain Square to catch the live ice carving competition taking place on February 20th. Cheer on the teams or join in the fun yourself


January

Bubbling kimchi stew, courtesy of chef Andrew Lim. // Photo Courtesy Perilla

The Restaurant Rec

Perilla Korean American Fare’s heated patio, beautifully adorned with strings of ambient lighting and green ivy throughout, is open for dinner (carryout and delivery available for lunch and dinner). From there, shake off the cold even farther with a bowl of kimchi stew simmering with pork, rice cakes, tofu, and glass noodles; or silken tofu stew made spicy and with braised beef, soft egg, and silken tofu to start. Chef Andrew Lim’s contemporary take on Korean food means that every dish, including the ones that may already feel familiar, offer inspiration and comfort bite by bite.

 

The Drink Proposal

When Galit opened in 2019, the Lincoln Park Middle Eastern restaurant quickly became a destination for forward-thinking cocktails and wine. Although Galit’s dining room remains closed (takeout and delivery available), thirsts can still be quenched thanks to cocktail kits and cocktails to-go from Galit’s bar director, Olivia Duncan. Nice to be Here, a cocktail kit that serves four, is a delightful elixir of fresh grapefruit, honey, cinchona, and sumac that can be enjoyed spirit-free; as it comes; or boozy once you’ve added your own supply of gin or vodka as suggested. Cocktails to-go include Fox on the Rox (vodka, hibiscus, honey, sumac, and mezcal) and Saz Arak (date-infused Demerara, a hint of arak, and New Orleans rye whiskey). Both cocktail kits and cocktails to-go are available for purchase at Galit’s online store along with a nice selection of wine and foodstuffs.

 

The Stay-At-Home Move

In celebration of Black History Month, Mariano’s will host a virtual cooking class series featuring some of Chicago’s favorite culinarians. Chicago’s own chef Lamar Moore (Bugsy & Meyer Steakhouse, Swill Inn) will kick off programing on Feb. 1 with a crave-worthy menu: Pan-seared pork chop with molasses butter, black eyed pea cassoulet, and barbecued carrots. Also slated to cook throughout the month of February: chef Brian Jupiter (Ina Mae Tavern, Frontier), Itiona Scott (Essie Marie’s), chef James Sanders (Dirty Birds Southern), and chef Dominique Leach (Lexington Betty). Cooking demonstrations offer an invitation to explore how Black heritage is deeply rooted in everyday foods; and offer culinary inspiration for home cooks in need of a meal prep refresh. This series is free and early registration is recommended.

 

The Event Invite

While traveling to Italy isn’t in the cards for most of us anytime soon, nothing’s stopping us from enjoying a Night in Sicily. On Jan. 28, the Village at the Italian Village Restaurants will host a four-course Sicilian dinner paired with three bottles of Sicilian wine. The feast will be led virtually by Italian Village’s wine director, Jared Gelband, and Italian wine specialist Daniele Sborda. Tickets are $150 and additional four-course meals can be purchased for $75 each. Night in Sicily is a special way to indulge while also supporting an institution that’s meant so much to generations of Chicagoans, as Maggie Hennessy lovingly detailed in her recent piece about the Chicago classic. Purchase tickets here.

 

The Weekend Pairing

If you’d like, you could have S.K.Y. every single night of the week for dinner — and twice on weekends, since they also serve brunch. You could dine in at S.K.Y.’s atrium, or order for takeout and delivery. However you choose to navigate it, all roads lead to a satisfying meal from chef Stephen Gillanders. On the brunch menu, short rib hash topped with a fried egg and bulgogi butter; and barbecue beef bao with pepper jack and yuzu pickles. Dinner options are twofold: A three-course, choose-your-own-adventure-style complete with salad, entrée, and side; or go the à la carte route. Either way, a visit to Pilsen awaits.

While in the neighborhood, do take in some of Chicago’s finest art. Pilsen’s rich history of Mexican mural art has long been a medium for storytellers and activists who advocate for the community that lives there. Local artists regularly contribute to the surrounding canvas. Recently, a collective of artists joined Vault Gallerie’s Mural Movement, creating a series of murals at the viaduct on Peoria Street at 16th Street.


December

A Christmas feast curated by chef Erick Williams. // Photo Courtesy Virtue Restaurant

The Restaurant Rec

Thanks to Tzucos all-season patio, diners can (warmly) indulge in chef Carlos Gaytáns edible artistry onsite year-round. Gaytáns signature Mexican-with-a-French-twist cooking style shines across the menu. Popular dishes include the steamed lamb neck barbacoa, guajillo roasted octopus, and Guerrero-style pork shank. Best of all, Tzucos dessert menu isnt an afterthought: A tangerine mousse covered in white chocolate has been shaped in the form of an adorable snowman for a playful finale. Tzuco is open for outdoor dining for dinner daily and weekend brunch. Pickup and delivery also available.

 

The Drink Proposal

Moody Tongues newly-released Bourbon Barrel Aged 12 Layer Cake Imperial Stout harmonizes well with brewmaster Jared Roubens ethos of culinary brewing. Aged in Angels Envy bourbon barrels for 12 months, this imperial stout leans lighter and offers notes of chocolate cake, toasted coconut, caramel, and graham cracker. An obvious pairing would be a slice of Moody Tongues famed 12 layer chocolate cake, or maybe even a selection from their menu of smoked meats. But also worthy of consideration, a drinkable pairing by way of Moody Tongues Build-Your-Own-Case. Better option yet: All of the above.

 

The Stay-At-Home Move

Havent you done enough cooking this year? The team at Virtue certainly thinks so! Theyre ready to close out the year with a bundle of holiday feasts curated by chef Erick Williams. Virtue is giving us what we really want for the holidays: glazed ham, braised short ribs, mac and cheese, collard greens, red velvet cake — and thats just the Christmas menu. New Years Eve feasts include either a whole fried chicken or a whole branzino, and a slew of sides like black eyed peas — a tradition established by Black Americans in the South that’s meant to harken good luck in the new year (double serving for 2021, please) — plus a bottle of Canard-Duchêne. Pro tip: Champagne and fried chicken is the pairing were all deserving of this year. 

 

The Event Invite

Speaking of Champagne, Slik Wines, Chicagos newest educational and experiential wine platform (from sommeliers Marie Cheslik, Kyla Peal, and Danielle Norris), along with co-host sommelier Philippe André will be hosting a stellar virtual New Years Eve happy hour celebration. The party package includes a 1.5 L magnum of Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve Champagne, a tin of Black River Ossetra Caviar, blinis, and much more. Local contactless delivery and nationwide shipping available. Tickets can be purchased here.

 

The Weekend Pairing

El Oso, chef Jonathan Zaragozas ongoing collaboration with the Promontory, is a nod to some of the memorable meals from Zaragozas upbringing. At El Oso @ Promontory, Zaragoza honors not only his Mexican heritage, but also the hearth-focused cooking that the Promontory is known for, making the array of masa-focused and wood-fired small plates a compelling choice. Warming dishes like pozole rojo, layered with flavors from carnitas-style pork shoulder and guajillo Chile broth; and pozole verde, an equally satisfying vegetarian counterpart featuring a bounty of seasonal vegetables like butternut squash, zucchini, and maitake mushrooms, and a tomatillo and poblano broth, offer actual comfort in a bowl. If picking up, do yourself a favor and head one block over to Hyde Park’s beloved Silver Room on 53rd Street. There you’ll find a treasure trove of goodies for yourself and anyone on your holiday shopping list. Available for pickup and delivery Wednesday through Sunday.

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