Chicago Restaurant Week Features Dining Deals From Hottest Tables in Town

By Janet Rausa Fuller on January 16, 2013 6:34am 

 Embeya at 564 W. Randolph St. is one of many Chicago spots participating in 2013 Restaurant Week.
Embeya at 564 W. Randolph St. is one of many Chicago spots participating in 2013 Restaurant Week.
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DOWNTOWN — Craving a sit-down lunch of pork in red mole at chef Rick Bayless' award-winning restaurant Topolobampo?

You might want to wait until Feb. 1, when you can have that dish at the Michelin-starred River North restaurant, plus mushroom empanadas and coconut tres leches cake, for 22 bucks, less than the price of the carne asada alone.

The sixth annual Chicago Restaurant Week runs from Feb. 1 through 10, and deals like this are why last year's program was the most successful to date, with 265 restaurants participating.

More than 240 restaurants have signed on so far, with more coming, said Meghan Risch of Choose Chicago, the city's tourism arm that oversees Restaurant Week.

More than 30 are first-timers to the program, including some of the hottest tables in town right now. Among them: Trenchermen, Embeya and bellyQ.

Restaurants will offer $22 lunches and $33 or $44 dinners. Some are doing both lunch and dinner specials, with additional beverage pairing options. Others are offering just one meal deal.

At Trenchermen, 2039 W. North Ave., the pickle tots, one of the most written-about, raved-about items in the restaurant's seven-month existence, are on the regular menu for $12.

During Restaurant Week, make a meal of those tots plus the $24 milk-braised pork shoulder and the $9 chocolate marquis for dessert, and you'll be $12 ahead.

Diners can check out the restaurants, their menus (not all have been finalized and posted yet) and make reservations at eatitupchicago.com, or by using the city's free app, which launched in August. Download it at choosechicago.com/mobile-app.

The First Bites Bash, a Restaurant Week preview featuring tastings from more than 50 restaurants, is from 6-9 p.m. Jan. 24 at Union Station, 500 W. Jackson Blvd. Tickets ($95) are for sale at eatitupchicago.com; discounted advance tickets are sold out.

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