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Photograph: Anjali M. PIntoPetterino's

Time Out Says

It’s 6pm Saturday, we’re going to a play that starts at 8pm and we’re in the middle of an assholes-to-elbows crowd at this theater-district restaurant. A 90-minute wait for a table? Hell, no—we’ll sit at the bright, window-filled bar, where we can order from the full menu and ask the busy bartenders to keep the sidecars coming. We’ll skip right to the main course: The steak au poivre, a 12-ounce New York strip, is ridiculously tender and even better topped with caramelized onions. With service this fast, we have plenty of time to linger over one of the baked-in-house desserts and still catch the show.


150 N Dearborn St
Cross street:
at Randolph St
El stop: Blue, Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple (rush hrs) to Clark/Lake; Red to Lake.
Average main course: $20
Opening hours:
Lunch (closed Sun), dinner
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What's On

A Recipe for Disaster

  • 2 out of 5 stars

Though he’s best known as the chef behind Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and the tortas you eat before catching a flight at O’Hare, Rick Bayless has a flair for the dramatic. Between cooking in his various kitchens and filming his TV show, Mexico: One Plate at a Time, Bayless has previously found time to create and appear in two productions of the chef-inspired play Cascabel, with the Lookingglass Theatre Company. And according to an old Eater Chicago story, he’s also a consummate ballroom dancer. Bayless’s latest theatrical creation is an immersive show that’s accompanied by a tasting menu (six bites, one small cocktail and two pours of wine), staged in a space beneath Petterino’s that’s dressed up to look like a fictitious restaurant called The Contumacious Pig. Written by Bayless, Windy City Playhouse artistic director Amy Rubenstein and local playwright Carl Menninger, A Recipe For Disaster casts the audience as attendees at a restaurant’s “influencer night,” where mishaps abound as the staff attempts to impress the Instagramming masses. The show opens in the restaurant’s waiting area, where a frazzled general manager (Emma Jo Boyden) and her sous chef boyfriend (Ben Page) contend with an absent chef, a missing pig, an especially demanding influencer (Carley Cornelius) and a surprise visit from a health inspector (Ryan Reilly). Attendees are then seated in a dining room, where the remainder of the play takes place throughout the space—often with multiple scenes transpiring s

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