Dining Chicago

What to Eat This Week: Melts for Meals at Little Market Brasserie, Birthday Bash at Tortoise Club, Epic Cocktail Class, New Dishes at Union Sushi + Barbecue Bar

Eat Grilled Cheese for a Good Cause

Finally, your guilty pleasure makes you feel altruistic, thanks to Little Market Brasserie's ongoing Melts for Meals campaign, wherein a different guest chef is invited to customize their own grilled cheese on the menu each month. Proceeds from the special grilled cheeses supports Meals on Wheels Chicago, with the latest iteration being a salacious medley of Manchego cheese, Serrano ham, rosemary-peach jam, black truffle butter (!), and buttery brioche bread. It's all courtesy of Cory Morris, chef at Mercat a la Planxa, who derived inspiration from travels through Spain and his favorite sandwiches therein. Trust me, it's incredible.

Melts for Meals
(Melts for Meals this month at Little Market Brasserie. Photo: Lacey Griebeler)

Toast a Happy Birthday to Tortoise Club

Happy birthday, Tortoise Club! Everyone's favorite vintage-y American River North restaurant celebrates its first birthday Tuesday, November 19, and to christen the occasion they're hosting a good ol' fashioned birthday bash. Expect balloons, streamers, and waiters clad in festive garb. Teddy the Tortoise will also be in attendance, because of course, donning his very best birthday hat. And that's not all. Each guest dining at the restaurant will get a complimentary mini cupcake and a photo with Teddy!

Get Schooled on Cocktails at Epic

Class is in session and this month's curriculum is pumpkin martinis. Study hard. Epic continues its streak of being teacher of the year with its latest cocktail class on Thursday, November 21, at 6:00 p.m. "Students" in attendance will learn the keys to mastering pumpkin martinis, blood orange martinis, and pomegranate martinis, all under the tutelage of Epic beverage director Michael Cristiani. Because people can not subsist on cocktails alone, chef Matthew Pollock will be doling out passed appetizers as well. The cost to attend is $25 per person, and reservations can be made by calling 312-222-4940.

Tortoise Club
(Happy birthday to Tortoise Club)

Eat Your Way Through New Dishes at Union Sushi + Barbecue Bar (Bring the Kids!)

Lots of new things to be reaped at Union Sushi + Barbecue Bar, the perpetually boundary-pushing, outside-the-box-thinking Japanese spot in River North. Chef Chao Thapthimkuna rolls out a handful of new menu items this season, along with an adorable addition of kiddie bento boxes. New fare includes chicken ramen and short rib ramen, spare ribs with miso and house tonkatsu, and kangaroo with soy and pineapple. It tastes delicious as long as you block images of Winnie the Pooh from your mind, even though now you probably won't since I mentioned it. Here's something heartwarming to think about: kiddie bento boxes! They're like Happy Meals, but made with no artificial happiness. These are available to diners under the age of 12, stocked with vegetable soba yaki noodles, barbecued eel (start 'em young), sweet potato tater tot, and choice of Wagyu beef or breaded pork cutlet.

The River North venue offers several experiences in one: It's a fine-dining steakhouse, sports lounge on the first floor, and after-hours hot spot. The summer rooftop lounge draws crowds for...

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Timeless cocktails and cuisine are the focus at this private club-styled restaurant harking back to a gilded era. Setting the atmosphere are classic Chicago paintings, sketches and artifacts, including Mahogany...

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The team behind Mercadito expand their burgeoning Chicago empire in the Gold Coast with this seafood-themed addition to the mod Mexican brand.

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