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DISH: SAVOR Steadfast; Nonnina
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Located in the Kimpton Gray Hotel, Steadfast ( 120 W. Monroe St.; )—Fifty/50 Restaurant Group's contemporary American-style dining concept in the Loop—exudes style.

From the understated decor ( including some very sturdy chairs ) to the menu offerings, Steadfast seems to get it right.

And why shouldn't it? Fifty/50 Restaurant Group has been in the business for quite some time ( almost a decade ) and is behind a dozen restaurants and other spots, including Portsmith, Roots Homemade Pizza, Apogee and, of course, the Fifty/50—so I could hardly blame a server who recommended several of the other restaurants to patrons at the next table. ( By the way, I was told that Steadfast's name is a play on another Fifty/50 spot, Homestead on the Roof, and the word "steadfast" itself, indicating stability. )

Chef Ender Oktayuren has done himself and the group proud, as a recent lunch attested. The laminated brioche is a work of art—so much so that my dining companion and I were reluctant to tackle it; however, the mix os serrano ham, manchego, mustard, quail egg and caviar ( decorated with edible gold ) was wonderful. The roasted-beet salad was also a visual ( and gustatory ) delight.

And dishes that might have seemed mundane had unique twists. The yummy BLT actually had roasted pork belly for the "B"—and the item definitely had me at "pork belly." The Kind-of-Fancy Cheeseburger's name says it all, as it features brisket and pimento cheese. Pumpkin-pie cheesecake and creme brulee are among the items on the dessert menu—but, with Steadfast's seasonal menus, those offerings may change soon.

Nonnina revisited

When I initially visited Italian restaurant Nonnina ( 340 N. Clark St.; ), it was one of my favorite spots of the year—and subsequent visits have left me completely happy every time.

My most recent visit featured a mix of past dishes I've enjoyed as well as some new ones that were just as delicious. The arancini were just as enticing as ever, but a particular special that consisted of flat pasta with wild-boar ragu was incredibly savory—and became my new favorite dish.

Check out the place and find out why Chef Tony Priolo recented defeated renowned chef Bobby Flay on the show Beat Bobby Flay.

Note: Restaurant profiles/events are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.

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