Fun is the name of the game at Bounce Sporting Club ( 324 W. Chicago Ave.; www.bouncesportingclub.com/ ) which, despite its name, has some really intriguing ( and, yes, fun ) menu items.
Of course, with its name, Bounce has a focus onwhat else?sports. ( The grand-opening party certainly proved that, with appearances by former NBA star and actor Rick Fox, NFL all-star Ryan Mundy and ex-New York Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards, among others. ) One thing patrons aren't able to say is that they can't see what's on television, as there are large screens here, there and everywhere to catch those sports events ( including the upcoming Super Bowl ).
It should be noted that Bounce is one of those spots that has a DJ as well as a bouncer. Weekends are likely to be a little bit rowdy and clubbyand those who enjoy that atmosphere can certainly partake of it.
Executive Chef Sean Olnowich makes sure that guests can gorge themselves in whimsical ( and delicious ) ways. Start with the bone-in wings, of which my favorite was the maple bacon; the Hot Cheetos wings were a little too spicy for this writer, although my dining companions appreciated the heat.
Among the other appetizers are offerings such as house-smoked wagyu brisket "skins," blackened mahi tacos, pizza disco fries ( house fries, marinara, mozzarella, sausage and pepperoni ), Cap'n Crunch-crusted chicken nuggets ( really good ) and even fried mac 'n cheese bars. ( I never said these items were healthful. )
However, that's just the tip of the culinary iceberg. Sandwiches include the wonderful Works Burger ( custom beef blend, tomato confit, gruyere, applewood bacon, fried egg, arugula and secret sauce ) and the French Onion Soup Burger. There are also various flatbreads ( like the truffle mushroom ) as well as entrees like 28-day dry-aged New York strip, beer-braised shortrib and charred cauliflower "steak." ( And, yes, there are salads as well, for the rare person who's focused enough to make health a priority. ) Desserts are gargantuan, including one concoction with Rice Krispies, chocolate-chip cookies and additional items that quickly toppledbut was still a delight to eat.
Drinks are plentifuland pretty good, although there was a hopefully-now-rectified problem the night I was there regarding cocktail menus. Items include The Smokin' Kisses ( sombra mezcal, cinnamon, chili tincture, grapefruit juice and lime juice ) and the Windy City ( Bombay Dry Gin, honey butterfly petal, lemon juice and elderflower rose float ) .
A few blocks away from Bounce Sporting Clubbut with a decidedly different feelis NoMI ( "North Michigan" ) Kitchen at the Park Hyatt Chicago ( 800 N. Michigan Ave.; www.hyatt.com/corporate/restaurants/nomi/en/home.html ).
NoMI is just as elegant and sophisticated as one would expect a restaurant to be at this hoteland, thankfully, this spot is just not open to those staying at the Park Hyatt.
Restaurant guests take the private elevator up to NoMIand are greeted with a stately, airy space with staffers who cater to a diner's every need.
Lunch ( which I recently experienced ) is, of course, a slightly more casual affair than dinner ( which I want to experience soon ). Pumpkin soup ( leaving the menu soon, possibly ) is dotted with maple panna cotta, spiced pepitas and sage; and tasty smoked salmon beignets arrive with dill crema, Meyer lemon, arugula and pickled fennel.
NoMI has a tantalizing selection of sandwiches ( not available for dinner ). There's the NoMI BLT, a grass-fed beef burger and a chicken sandwich that was almost as good as the one I had at Maillard Tavern recently.
However, the expansive menu also includes maki, sushi and sashimi, and desserts ( like the S'Murtle, which consists of smoked pecans, caramel, ancho, chocolate, graham cracker and chantilly ).
NoMI is a singular experience.
Note: Restaurant profiles/events are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.