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10 uncommon Easter events in Chicago

Happy Easter

Try something a little different this Easter, with these out-of-the-ordinary options. Just about every restaurant in Chicagoland is serving Easter brunch or Easter dinner, but you don’t need to settle for the routine this Sunday, April 24. We got scores of announcements of 2011 Easter events, but here are some of the more intriguing. Reservations are suggested.

  1. Chicago Firehouse, South Loop.

    Chef Kendal Duque’s buffet menu, served 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. ($45, $17 children) segues from breakfast to dinner. Highlights of the all-day buffet include cured meats and terrines, smoked salmon with traditional garnishes, chilled seafood, carved prime rib and baked ham and broiled Atlantic salmon with couscous and tomato-olive sauce. From 9:30 a.m to 2 p.m., there will also be brunch dishes such as eggs benedict and made-to-order omelets, while from 2 p.m. heartier dishes such as roasted pork tenderloins with creamy polenta and cherry sauce and braised lamb shoulder with roasted potatoes, peas and carrots will be added. Tableside visits from the Easter Bunny and candy-filled eggs for little diners also feature.

  2. David Burke’s Primehouse,, River North.

    Easter brunch box, served 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. ($29), features a lamb chop and leg of rabbit with herbed honey-glazed carrots, poached egg, crispy potatoes and truffle hollandaise.

  3. Ethiopian Diamond, Edgewater and Rogers Park.

    Chef/Owner Almaz Yigizaw’s Ethiopian Fasika menu, served from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and costing about $20, includes such options as lamb shank stewed in a special sauce and spices; zil zil, tender lean beef marinated with house sauce and sauteed with green pepper, red pepper, onions and green onions; assa tibs, tilapia marinated with fresh herbs and lemon and cooked with spicy sauce and flax seed; shimbraassa (chickpea “fish”), a unique vegetarian dish reminiscent of seafood; and injera torte, Yigizaw’s house-made dessert of layered injera bread and walnut cream, topped with chocolate sprinkles. The restaurants will also feature house-made honey wine, Ethiopian beers and wines, as well as cocktails, spiced Ethiopian tea and robust Ethiopian coffee. The Edgewater location offers live music from 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday.

  4. Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club, Northalsted.

    Diva Madame X performs during the four-course brunch, served 11 a.m. to 3 ($29.95 including cocktails). Chef Mark Kasper’ prix-fixe menu offers blueberry beignets; a choice of Kit Kat salad (shaved asparagus, shaved fennel, cherry vinaigrette) or mini cinnamon buns; entree selectons of jumbo lump crab cake benedict, chicken fried steak or turkey panini; and a choice of desserts plus free-flowing bloody martinis and mimosas.

  5. Le Titi de Paris, Arlington Heights.

    Chefs Michael and Susan Maddox’s three- and four-course French Easter menus ($36 to $45, $15 children) feature such choices as warm seafood crepe of black mussels, sea scallop, leeks and fennel, lobster tarragon sauce; Lorraine tart of crispy smoked bacon, caramelized onions and gruyere cheese; chilled terrine of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and mushrooms with sweet tomato chutney; nut-crusted pork tenderloin with creamy three-cheese and thyme polenta and blackberry Madeira wine sauce; slow-braised spring lamb shank with mustard spatzle and rosemary essence; and hazelnut-crusted red ruby trout on wilted spinach.

  6. Mercat a la Planxa, Loop.

    Catalan-inspired three-course prix-fixe menu features seven different tapas, along with unlimited helpings from bountiful carving and dessert stations from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. ($35, $16.95 children; make-your-own bottomless bloody Mary bar an additional $8). Menu choices include croquettes de mariscos, crab, lobster, shrimp and tarragon emulsion; mar i muntanya montadito, braised short rib, diver scallop, parmesan and foccacia; Mercat Eggs Benedict with brioche, chorizo, egg and truffle hollandaise; paella Valencia; and prawns a la Planxa.

  7. Mirabell, Irving Park.

    The German-style a la carte Easter menu, served noon to 8 p.m. includes such items as half a roast duckling with red cabbage and dumpling ($18.95); roast leg of lamb with fresh string beans and croquettes potatoes ($18.95); roast breast of turkey with dressing, corn, fresh mashed potato, cranberry sauce and giblet gravy ($16.95); sauerbraten with red cabbage and dumpling ($17.95); Kalbsteak Mirabell, veal sauteed in butter on top of fresh leaf spinach with ham and swiss cheese, topped with creamy mushroom sauce and served with spatzle ($24.95); braised ox tails jardiniere style served with parsley potatoes, carrots, and celery ($19.95); and a wild Wurstplatte featuring buffalo sausage with chipotle peppers and sun dried tomato, wild boar with cranberries and triple sec, and venison with blueberries and merlot wine, served with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes ($17.95).

  8. Pensiero Ristorante, Evanston.

    Italian-inspired Easter brunch, served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. ($39), offers items such as fortezza, roasted beet and goat cheese tower, micro greens balsamico; pomodoro cimelio di famiglia insalata, heirloom tomato and buffalo mozzarella tart, wild arugula, balsamic vinaigrette; cioppino with sea scallops, prawns, mussels, manilla clams, wilted arugula, barlotti beans and lobster broth; granchi torta, pan-roasted crab cake benedict, poached duck egg, prosciutto, eggless bearnaise; and agnello roasted lamb loin, wild arugula and ratatouille.

  9. Salpicon, Old Town.

    A la carte Pascua brunch menu, served 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., features classic Mexican morning dishes such as huevos a la Mexicana, fresh eggs scrambled with tomato, onion, serrano chilies and smoked bacon; served with black beans ($10); chilaquiles verde, soft tortillas cooked in a spicy tomatillo-serrano sauce with melted Chihuahua cheese; garnished with Mexican crema, onion and avocado ($10); and arrachera con huevos, charcoal-grilled, marinated skirt steak served with two eggs, any style, a spicy salsa borracha and black beans ($17). Contemporary favorites include rack of Australian baby lamb with pasilla-tomatillo sauce ($24), grilled tilapia with salsa fresca ($18) and quail in a sauce of ancho chilies, carmelized onions and honey ($22).

  10. Sweet Baby Ray’s, Elk Grove Village.

    Easter brunch barbecue buffet, served 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. ($24.99; children $8.99 to $12.99), features a carving station with smoked leg of lamb, ham and beef brisket; seafood selections including smoked salmon and shrimp; barbecue ribs and chicken; and a variety of sides; plus made to order omelets, eggs benedict and french toast, Southern-style biscuits and gravy, assorted breakfast meats, fruit, cheeses, salads and desserts. Reservations required.