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SAVOR Esquire Champagne Room; Honey Butter Fried Chicken
DISH: Weekly Dining Guide
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-03-05

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Accessible luxury may be closer than you think.

At least, that's the stated goal of Esquire Champagne Room ( 58 E. Oak St.; esquirechampagneroom.com/ ), a 1.400-square-foot space on the third floor of Del Frisco's Double Eagle that's named after the movie theater that once occupied that address.

The luxurious part is felt upon entering the spot ( which opened New Year's Eve 2017 ). You'll find plush furniture, bubble-shaped lighting/chandeliers, prop champagne bottles, and seductive nooks and crannies throughout the area.

As for the drinks themselves, there are more than a dozen Champagnes/sparkling wines available by the glass ( ranging from $14 to $115 ), as well as red and white wines. Order by the bottle, and the number of Champagnes/sparkling wines jumps to 50.

The room's menu is different from Del Frisco's—and those in one space can't order from the other. However, the culinary options will sate any Esquire Champagne Room patron. Caviar ( classic white sturgeon, Galilee Prime osetra and/or Royal Belgium osetra ) is served with gaufrette potato chips. However, if that's not to your liking, a variety of other offerings awaits, including king crab spring roll ( with macadamia nuts and ginger dipping sauce ), scallop crudo, foie-gras mousse, smoked salmon and absolutely succulent lamb lollipops.

Again, luxury abounds here—but no one should be intimidated. According to director/certified sommelier Mandy Sparacino, Esquire "has a sophisticated, sexy vibe—but it's all-inclusive." So take a date there; that person will be more than impressed—and you will be, too.

Honey Butter Fried Chicken

A place that is vastly different—but is no less wonderful—is Honey Butter Fried Chicken ( 3361 N. Elston Ave.; HoneyButter.com ).

Yes, the name comes from the fact that patrons can put butter on the chicken ( courtesy of antibiotic-free chickens from Indiana ). ( It's a very tasty option, but be forewarned that there are no cardiologists in sight. )

However, there's far more at this spot than two-, four- and eight-piece meals. Sandwiches include varieties such as the very delicious Camchi ( fried-chicken strips with kimchi and spicy honey mayo ) and Honey Buffalo ( which comes with blue cheese, and carrot and celery giardiniera ). ( Note: For vegetarians, fried tofu strips can be substituted in any sandwich. )

And HBFC, as the place calls itself, also has mouth-watering specials. For instance, Thursdays as when the restaurant has fried-chicken nachos, while Tuesdays allows customers to purchase two fried-chicken tacos, a can of Tecate and a shot of Corazon tequila for $12.

I initially visited this place during weekend brunch, and was instantly smitten. Items like fried chicken and French toast as well as the popular biscuits and gravy will leave you simultaneously sated and wanting ( to come back for more ).


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