Fig & Olive ( 104 E. Oak St.; FigAndOlive.com ) is just as tony as that exclusive stretch of Oak Street where it's locatedone dotted with stores such as Prada and Dolce & Gabbana.
Fortunately, it's not nearly as expensive.
For spring, the spot continues its tradition of offering delicious dishes that embrace the season, as I recently discovered during lunch there. For example, the signature crostini includes such intriguing items as goat cheese ( with caramelized onion and chive ), burrata and prosciutto ( with ricotta, walnut and, naturally, fig and olive ).
Horseradish, lemon mayo and cilantro added to a trio of crab cakes pleasantly tease the palate, while the butternut-squash soup is not to be missed ( while it's still available ). The F&O burger was cooked well, but the Riviera salmon is the better bet.
Dinner is interesting as well, with offerings ranging from truffle risotto to New York strip steak. It all makes for a great experience in a space that seems open even when it's crowdedand then you can hit Barney's after indulging.
Not far from Fig & Olive is the new spot Palette ( 1204 N. State St.; PaletteChicago.com )which offers "breakfast with a twist," according to Chef Derek Rylon, who also helms Batter & Berries restaurant.
Among the menu items are crayfish omelets and multiple waffle dishes, including a very tasty waffle flight. Dinner offerings also look interesting, although there was no menu on the website when I looked ( ??? ).
Oh, and the third floor opens this month. Why does that warrant attention? Because it's the Black Kat Kluba space done up in the style of an old bordello ( and, yes, people can reserve the spot ). Just watch those stairs if you imbibe too much.
Note: Restaurant profiles/events are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.