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DINING New Nico chef, DropShot, Valentine's Day options
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

—Joe Lambert has been named the new executive chef at Nico Osteria and the Thompson Chicago hotel, 1015 N. Rush St. Lambert has been at Nico with two-time James Beard award-winning chef Paul Kahan since the first year the restaurant opened in 2013. Dishes include King Crab Cioppino; lamb tortelloni, with roasted mushrooms, Black currant, truffle creme fraiche, Pecorino Romano and dill; and a 28-day dry-aged ribeye, served alongside bone marrow and finished with caper butter, grilled lemon and roasted garlic.

—DropShot Coffee & Snack Bar ( 312 W. Chestnut St. )—the cafe located inside River North boutique Hotel FieldHouse Jones—launches an all-new bar program with craft cocktails, local draft beers and a rotating selection of wines by the glass. New cocktails include the Dehli Daquiri, with housemade cardamom-infused rum mixed with lime and simple syrup; and the Winter Sazerac, with a Toby's Estate espresso syrup with rye, Peychaud's, absinthe and lemon.

—This Valentine's Day ( Feb. 14 ), Fulton Market Kitchen is offering an $85 five-course menu ( limited choices per course ), along with a fixed holiday menu paired with Champagne and sparkling wine for $125. options include oyster shooters or fried potato bites, baby arugula and frisee salad or Black pepper prawns, lobster tortellini or curried cauliflower, seared tuna, filet or fennel gratin, and chocolate hazelnut cake or blueberry cheesecake. Reservations can be made at

—Gene & Georgetti's Chicago location, 500 N. Franklin St., is celebrating classic romance with a special, four-course Valentine's dinner menu for two, for $160 per couple ( plus tax and gratuity ), includes two complimentary glasses of bubbly. At Gene & Georgetti Rosemont, the four-course dinner menu is priced at $85 per person ( plus tax and gratuity ). See

—For Feb. 14-16, 312 Chicago, 136 N. LaSalle St., will offer a three-course Italian "Menu di San Valentino" for $80 per couple. The courses will be shrimp-stuffed calamari with zucchini, ricotta, tomato puree; beef tenderloin stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, aged provolone, demiglace and roasted garlic mash; and chocolate flourless cake with pistachio cream, wild berries. See

—On Feb. 14, City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., will host a chocolate-and-wine tasting party at 7-9 p.m. Pastry Chef Stacie Kruse and Beverage Director Rebekah Mahru are slated to take patrons on a journey of "exotic chocolate desserts and wild wines." In addition, Remy Martin Cognac will provide an additional tasting station with a cognac specialist to educate on the subtleties of chocolate and cognac pairing. Tickets are $55 each; visit

—For those looking for Valentine's Day reservations or dinner plans during a Windy City staycation, Woven & Bound, 2121 S. Prairie Ave., will be offering a specialty "Sweet Heart Dinner" on Feb. 14-16. The menu below is priced at $100 per couple or $135 per couple with wine pairings, and includes a starter, main course and a sweet treat. ( Some of the items include Bibb salad, crispy fried oyster, sea scallops and candied orange dark chocolate cake. ) Also, the hotel is offering an elevated Valentine's Day package that includes a night in the Marquis suite, a personal chef experience with unlimited champagne in the scenic Level 33 space, breakfast in bed and more.

—In addition its menu of Pan-Asian dishes, TAO, 632 N. Dearborn St., will feature its signature fortune cookie dressed up for Valentine's Day with brushed chocolate and sprinkled with mini hearts, served with holiday-inspired fortunes. Also, guests are also able to customize fortunes with personal love notes for the special occasion by requesting in advance with a reservation. Reservations are recommended and can be made at or 224-888-0388.

—At Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods, 1415 N. Wood St., Chef Brian Jupiter is preparing a $45 three-course New Orleans seafood dinner for guests to enjoy this Valentine's Day, alongside a $20 optional wine pairing. Dinner options include crab and avocado salad or Blackened chicken thighs, shrimp gnocchi or catfish Acadiana, and chocolate beignets with Champagne anglaise and candied pecans for dessert. Reservations:

—City Mouse ( at Ace Hotel, at 311 N. Morgan St. ) will offer a selection of savory and sweet specials for Valentine's Day. They include Maine lobster and brandade gnocchi with fennel, shellfish butter and pernod ( $17 ); roasted duck breast with duck confit potato boulangere, cauliflower, citrus and fenugreek ( $28 ); and a chocolate trio ( $13 ) for dessert, including flourless cake with raspberry coulis, milk chocolate macaron with hazelnut crunch, and Grand Marnier bonbons with a candied orange peel. Call 312-764-1908 to RSVP.

—Both local locations of Truluck's Seafood, Steak, and Crab House ( Chicago and Rosemont ) will have its offerings ready for Valentine's Day. While the restaurants' signature Florida stone crab is delivered directly from its own Florida Keys fisheries to guests' tables within hours, couples can also indulge in items such as lobscargot ( Maine lobster cooked in herb garlic butter with gruyere and Havarti ), Alaskan king-crab cluster, miso-glazed sea bass and chocolate lava cake, among others. See

—VU Rooftop Bar—located 22 stories above McCormick Place at 133 E. Cermak Ave.—will host Me + VU, an interactive Valentine's Day mixer, on Thursday, Feb. 14, 5:30-8:30 p.m. In addition, patrons will enjoy specialty themed cocktails, live beats from The DJ Firm, a special appearance from Cupid and more. Tickets to Me + VU are $35 per person, and include entry to the mixer, two specialty cocktails and passed bites; visit

—Brunch spot Yolk is inviting couples to enjoy a complimentary sweet single of red velvet French toast with the purchase of any two entrees on Valentine's Day. The sweet special offer is available Thursday, Feb. 14, during normal business hours at each of the eight Chicago Yolk locations and must be redeemed in-store. Yolk's menu includes signature specialty dishes like gourmet five-egg rolled omelet, eggs Florentine, skillets and scramblers, pancakes, frittatas, crepes and other options.

— In honor of Perry's Steakhouse & Grille's 40th anniversary, the restaurant group ( locally in Oak Brook, at 5 Oakbrook Center ) is giving away a year's worth of Pork Chop Friday Lunches. Entrants will have three opportunities throughout 2019 to enter the giveaway. Entrants can share a post, photo or video to their personal Facebook or Instagram page using hashtag #PerrysTurns40 and tagging @PerrysSteakhouse on Instagram and @PerrysDining on Facebook. See

—Smoke Daddy, 3636 N. Clark St., has launched a happy hour through February on Monday to Friday at 2-5 p.m. The menu features $4 draft beers and $4 Titos cocktails. Additionally, new snacks will be available, such as a slider trio consisting of brisket meatball, smoked pork-belly and fried-chicken sliders ( $6 ); a smoked sausage platter with smoked Italian sausage, smoked andouille hot link, aged cheddar, smoked provolone, cherry peppers, pickles and saltines ( $9 ); and smoked S'mores bites with graham-cracker cups, chocolate ganache and toasted marshmallow ( three for $5 ).

—urbanbelly and Chef Bill Kim will bring back their event, Ramenfest, 12-3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 1400 W. Randolph St. This year's participants include chefs from restaurants such as Oriole, Smyth + The Loyalist, Somerset, Aba, Monteverde, Lula Cafe, Honey Butter Fried Chicken and more. Tickets are $75-$125 each; visit

—Fisk & Co., 225 N. Wabash Ave., is offering a specialty cocktail based on Best Picture nominee Black Panther through Oscars Sunday on Feb. 24. Crafted by the restaurant's head bartender, Melissa Carroll, the "Shuri" cocktail is modeled after the female character played by Letitia Wright. Priced at $15, it contains Cruzan Blackstrap rum, Demerara syrup, Dino S'more Seasonal Stout, egg white, Angostura, and lime juice. The exclusive drink is not listed on the print menu, but is available for anyone who orders it verbally.

—Frontier, 1072 N. Milwaukee Ave., is celebrating Mardi Gras with an all-you-can-eat shrimp boil on Fat Tuesday, March 5. Happy hour ( 3-6 p.m. ) includes $1 oysters and 1/2 off Hurricanes. Single seating begins at 6 p.m.; guests can enjoy jambalaya and po' boy specials, $4 Abitas, $6 Sazeracs, music by Four Star Brass Band, complimentary king cake and more. Seats are first-come, first-serve and likely to fill up fast. Tickets ( $35 each ) can be purchased at

—River Roast, 315 N. LaSalle St., will host Beverage Director Ken Pritz for the Happy Hour Cocktail Class at Reid Bar on Thursday, March 7, at 5:30 p.m. Attendees will learn cocktail history and fundamentals while sipping Irish whiskey cocktails featuring Tullamore DEW. Light snacks will additionally be provided. Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased at https:// Article Link Here .

—Delightful Pastries, the European-style bakery located in Jefferson Park, has announced its menu for Mardi Gras on Tuesday, March 5. The family-owned and operated bakery will begin to churn out thousands of housemade paczki per day to prepare for the massive demand on Fat Tuesday. Assortment flavors include apricot jelly, raspberry jelly, rose pedal jelly, plum butter, and custard topped with chocolate fudge; gourmet flavors include fresh strawberry & whipped cream, fresh strawberry, passionfruit jelly, peanut butter frosting & raspberry jelly and guava. Prices are $2.25 to $3.75 per paczki; visit

—The 11th Annual Baconfest Chicago returns April 5-6 at the UIC Dorin Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd., with new restaurants and returning favorites over three sessions. New restaurants include 90 Miles Cuban Cafe, Copper Fox Gastropub, About Last Knife, Taureaux Tavern, NoMI, Vinci and Flight Club, among many others. Admission is $60-$160 each; visit

—Windy City Smokeout will be held July 12-14 at a new location right outside of Chicago's United Center. Hosted by Bub City and Joe's Bar, the event is the first official outdoor music festival to take place at the West Loop arena's 250,000 square-foot parking lot along Madison Street. Some of the country acts slated to perform are Old Dominion, Jessie James Decker, Parker McCollum, LANCO and Muscadine Bloodline.

—After debuting an empowered Imperial IPA in 2018, Revolution Brewing is bringing back Spirit of Revolt—created by the female employees of Revolution. The beer is named in reference to a Margaret Sanger essay ["Because I believe that deep down in woman's nature lies slumbering the spirit of revolt," from "The Woman Rebel"] and features specialty malts from female-led Weyermann Malting. A unique dry-hop blend of Cascade, Cashmere and Styrian Fox hops add notes of citrus, pineapple and melon to the oats.

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