It’s a new year—time to get your priorities straight.
By David Tamarkin|
Your priority Theatrics Where to eat Acadia(1639 S Wabash Ave, 312-360-9500) The menu Oysters, foie gras, lobster, lamb—chef Ryan McCaskey isn't messing around. What’s so special? The restaurant has arranged for the Chicago Shakespeare Theater to provide costumed performers. $$$ 6pm seating $150; 9pm seating $175
Your priority A rare reservation Where to eat avec(615 W Randolph, 312-377-2002) The menu Whipped brandade, roasted pork shoulder, ricotta cake. Oysters are optional (but are they, really?). What’s so special? It’s the only night of the year avec accepts reservations! $$$ $60 (with beverage pairings $90), served all night
Your priority Beer Where to eat Big Star(1531 N Damen Ave, 773-235-4039) The menu Tacos, obviously. What’s so special? Tonight, all the beer taps belong to Three Floyds. $$$ À la carte, served all night
Your priority Bill Kim! Where to eat bellyQ(1400 W Randolph St, 312-563-1010) The menu Dumplings, noodles, “Asian pizza” and a sake station What’s so special? It’s all three Bill Kim restaurants—Belly Shack, bellyQ, Urbanbelly—in one! $$$ $125; doors open at 8pm
Your priority Family Where to eat Browntrout(4111 N Lincoln Ave, 773-472-4111) The menu Walleye consommé, foie gras torchon, prime rib What’s so special? From 2–5:30pm, Browntrout offers an early NYE dinner for families—and it features fried chicken! $$$ $90 (with wine pairings $140) served from 2–10pm; family meal: $50, kids 16 and under pay their age
Your priority Getting full Where to eat Frontier(1072 N Milwaukee Ave, 773-772-4322) The menu Oysters, salads, and whole smoked pig, goat, lamb and boar What’s so special? The five-hour package (8pm–1am) is all-you-can-drink and, more important, all-you-can-eat. $$$ $110
Your priority Bubbly Where to eat RM(116 N Green St, 312-243-1199) The menu Mignardises (a.k.a. dainty desserts) What’s so special? RM offers a four-course dinner at 5pm for $85 (with wine $145) and a five-course meal at 8pm for $125 (with wine $185). But who comes here to eat? The all-you-can-drink soiree is 10pm–1am. $$$ $95
Your priority Comfort Where to eat Slurping Turtle(116 W Hubbard St, 312-464-0466) The menu Japanese comfort food: grilled meats, noodles, sushi and duck fat–fried chicken What’s so special? To take the comfort theme even further, the restaurant is throwing a pajama brunch the next day. $$$ $45, $60 and $80 menus of increasing size, served all night
Your priority Snacks Where to eat The bar at Trenchermen(2039 W North Ave, 773-661-1540) The menu Cocktails and bar snacks (including the burger) What’s so special? Three things: (1) Matt Ulery’s Jazz Trio performs. (2) This is the better half of the restaurant anyway. (3) When else do you get to reserve a seat at a bar? $$$ $20 reservations (price includes glass of sparkling wine and snacks) start at 8pm.
Your priority Avoiding crowds Where to eat The Violet Hour(1520 N Damen Ave, 773-252-1500) The menu Beer, wine, sparkling cocktails and—this should really be the direction you go in—punch What’s so special? From 6–8:30pm it’s open seating. But from 9pm onward it’s reservations-only, making your yearly NYE fight for a seat an impossibility. $$$ $120, all-you-can-drink