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Dining Chicago Makes The Most of Christkindlmarket

In the thick of the holidays, it’s that time of year for shopping, gifting, family and perhaps most importantly: mulled wine. The latter is where Christkindlmarket comes in. Chicago’s iconic German market/festival is back in action for the season, serving up holiday eats through Christmas Eve in the heart of the Loop. Here’s everything you […]

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Dec 12, 2017 11:36 PM
Weekly Planner: Mezcal Dinner, Feast of the Seven Fishes

Weekly Planner: Mezcal Dinner, Feast of the Seven Fishes Mezcal Dinner at Mi Tocaya Antojeria Wine dinners and beer dinners are a commonplace occurrence around these parts, but mezcal dinners? That’s something pretty new and enticing. At the buzzy Mi Tocaya Antojeria in Logan Square, chef Diana Davila is hosting a series of mezcal dinners this winter, […]

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Dec 12, 2017 02:35 AM
Dining Chicago Christmas Drinking Guide 2017

Where to eat, drink, dance and be merry this Christmas. Petterino’s: Santa’s coming to town a little early this year, and he’s hungry for brunch. Pay a visit to Mr. Claus at Petterino’s, where he’ll be stationed December 16 and 17 from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. both days. The perfect stopover before an afternoon […]

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Dec 09, 2017 07:40 PM

Seafood Towers Reach New Heights

Like a delicious, nautical stack of Jenga, elevated seafood towers are a fun and illustrious way to partake in the ocean's finest. All over town, restaurants have been peddling some seriously mighty towers, especially as of late as we enter the throes of oyster season — and they're not even pumpkin spiced! Here are some spots in Chicago that exceed the norm when it comes to elevated seafood towers. 


The Signature Room
(Seafood tower reaches new heights at The Signature Room)


When it comes to elevated seafood towers, it doesn't get much more apropos than The Signature Room. Because seafood towers atop the Hancock Tower is the stuff of nautical fairy tales, and the fact that guests are essentially eating towers within a tower is too perfect; it's like an edible Russian nesting doll. Here, chef Cardel Reid stacks his chilled towers with whole Maine lobster, a dozen oysters on the half shell, a dozen jumbo shrimp, and one pound of snow crab claws. Eat it all up while drinking in the view. 


A little closer to sea level, Kinmont still manages to dazzle guests with its impeccable array of sustainably sourced seafood. One of its grander options is a hefty seafood tower striated with two dozen raw oysters, one dozen chilled shrimp, Maine lobster, Alaskan king crab, marinated mussels, and salmon tartare.


Steak may get top billing at Mastro's Steakhouse, and rightfully so, but don't overlook the oceanic components on this meat-centric menu either. The appetizer menu is swimming with pristine shellfish and seafood, from chilled shrimp and Dungeness crab cocktail to oysters on the half shell, snow crab claws, lobster cocktail, and more. All or any of this is available in the form of a customizable seafood tower, wherein guests create their own versions with desired selection of seafood. 


Another DIY-style seafood tower format can be experienced at Centro. People may expect a big, splashy, and saucy Italian joint to specialize more in meatballs than seafood towers, but think again. The River North bastion does it all. For their towers of choice, guests select from jumbo cocktail clams on the half shell, East and West Coast oysters on the half shell, and jumbo snow crab claws. 


Maude's Liquor Bar does a masterful job with fresh seafood. The hottest French-inflected eatery and bar on Restaurant Row is the stuff of sleek bistro dreams, which obviously includes hulking towers chock full of shrimp, mussels, king crab, and oysters. 


At Paris Club Bistro & Bar, elegant seafood towers lend luster to an already stunning, chic French dining experience. Only the finest, top-tier seafood and shellfish items land on chef Doug Psaltis' towers, available in various sizes from moderate to enormous. It all depends on your appetite and wallet size. For instance, the Grand Plateau tower entails one pound of shrimp, 1/2 pound of Alaskan red king crab, whole Maine lobster, two dozen oysters, and one dozen whelks. Guests also can go off in their own direction and build their own shellfish tower. 


Depending on party size, FIG & OLIVE has a tower for you. There's a smaller, more reasonably sized tower befitting two to three seafood-loving diners that contains Maine lobster tail, king crab leg, five jumbo shrimp, and six oysters. A larger tower is designed for four to six people, brimming with whole Maine lobster, king crab legs, five jumbo shrimp, salmon ceviche, and a dozen oysters. 


Another solid bet for seafood tower supremacy is Mon Ami Gabi. An oldie and a goodie, this classic French restaurant is storied for a good reason. Their refined seafood tower contains whole Maine lobster, jumbo shrimp, market oysters, and salmon tartare. 

 
Matt Kirouac

Chef Gabino Sotelino's bistro is known for its steak frites, escargots and other classic French fare, as well as an extensive selection of seafood and such regional dishes as bouillabaise...

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Classic American cuisine with an enviable view, the Signature Room is a tourist attraction as well as frequented by those celebrating a special occasion. The staff here boasts of many...

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"Now Called Il Porcellino" Rich Melman's sons R.J. and Jerrod had an instant hit with their first restaurant, HUB 51, and they repeat their success at this French-themed bar and...

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What's old is new all over again as the Rosebud Restaurant Group introduces its legendary Italian restaurant to a new generation. Part of the revival of the 1990s spot is...

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Sustainable fish and seafood are at the forefront of Kinmont, a nautical endeavor from Element Collective. The city's first entirely sustainable seafood restaurant, Kinmont tirelessly sources products from individual fishermen...

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Mediterranean-focused restaurant with an emphasis on olive oil and seasonal cookery. The New York-based restaurant has locations throughout the city, California, and now Chicago.

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