In a sea of restaurants in the West Loop, Honey's ( 1111 W. Lake St.; HoneysChicago.com ) has, in the year since it's opened, positioned itself as a standout.
Decor-wise, Honey's is a study in contrasts. A somewhat claustrophobic entrance ( inside a building that isn't the most conspicuousalthough that may be a good thing ) leads to a two-story, airy and light area with a bar and several tables. However, there is also another dining area ( complete with skylight ) with tables thatat least in my area of the restaurantmight seem too close, for some. ( My dining companion and I actually started talking with our neighbors, primarily because one was using an LED light to take photos of their dishesand I even held it at one point. )
As for the cuisine, Honey's has food that's described as American fare inspired by the Mediterranean. There are certainly dishes like that here ( with some items dotted with olive tapenade, for example ); however, there are also offerings such as grilled striploin.
Nevertheless, practically every dish was exquisite. My friend adored his grilled romaine caesar, which came with egg-yolk sabayon, pickled shallot and parmesan. Scallops were delicate yet tasty, and the pork chop ( with malted parsnip and root beer jus ) was an explosion of flavor. The striploin ( with sunchoke puree and mustard greens, along with sauce bordelaise ) was also done very well. Top it all off with an artfully presented mousse, and you'll return to Honey's for your next special occasion. ( By the way, some of the dishes may be different on the website. )
Also, a special shout-out goes to servers Michael and Trevor, who managed to shower several diners with attention and make them feel like the only ones in the room.
Honey's is a pretty unforgettable experience. However, I do have one suggestion: Add a dance floor. The mix of '70s and '80s dance music might make more than a few people work off their meals right there.
As opposed to Honey's, Prosecco ( 710 N. Wells St.; Prosecco.us.com ) has been around for a decade.
In this era when restaurants seem to close at a moment's notice ( e.g., mk and 42 Grams ), it's a positive sign when a spot has been around for as long as Proseccoespecially in the ever-so-trendy River North area.
I'm going to be honest: I had been to Prosecco and, while I had a pretty smooth experience, my friends and one of my friends' mothers did notso I was a little hesitant.
However, I needn't worried. Chef Mark Sparacino ( who has run Topo Gigio and his own namesake spot, Sparacino's ) certainly knows his fare, as he gathers inspiration from all of Italy's regions to create classic dishesand the ultimate in comfort food.
The burrata is among the best I've tasted ( and I've sampled a lot ), and the squash blossoms were absolutely divine. A unique avocado salad comes with baby lobster and prawns, sweet peppers, scallions, basil oil and a balsamic glaze.
The pasta dishes, while familiar, were no less impressive ( and Prosecco even offers gluten-free and whole-wheat pasta, if that's desired ). The orecchiette tartufate ( with black truffle cream, white truffle oil and shaved Grana Padano ) was a dream, as well as the pappardelle. However, regarding dishes, these are only the tip of the iceberg, as other items range from wild-caught salmon to eggplant to double pork chop.
Regarding drinks, Prosecco has a huge wine listand, of course, there's plenty of prosecco. However, there's nothing wrong with a little limoncello to end your night at this delightful restaurant.
Note: Restaurant/bar profiles are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.