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Brindille To Elevate 'Sloppy' River North Restaurant Scene, Chef Says

By Janet Rausa Fuller | April 12, 2013 6:23am

RIVER NORTH — When Brindille opens for dinner on April 22, don't go looking for small plates in a casual setting.

Chef Carrie Nahabedian's second restaurant at 534 N. Clark St. will take a "refined Parisian" approach to the food and vibe, in contrast to the bustling River North dining scene that Nahabedian sees as "sloppy around the edges."

"That's the problem with all the restaurants. They're all the same, but with different locations," she said.

"I'm not saying they aren't successful, but why go to one when you can go to another? They all feature the same thing, the same attitude, same dress. [With] the whole small plate thing, we've lost touch with service."

In Brindille, diners might find shades of Naha, Nahabedian's Michelin-starred restaurant now in its 13th year, located just down the street (and kitty-corner to Rick Bayless' trio of award-winning restaurants). Prices will be comparable to Naha, where dinner averages $65 a person. The room, with some 50 seats, will be similarly intimate.

Brindille will offer more than 200 bottles on its wine list, "old-school" cocktails (think absinthe and pousse-cafe) and a tea list developed by Rodrick Markus of Rare Tea Cellar.

Nahabedian has given one glimpse of what the food at Brindille will be like — Lobster Brindille, an elegantly composed plate offered as a recent special at Naha — and tweeted a photo of antique forks to be used for the dish.

"The recession made anything acceptable when it comes to dining. It's time to return to what made dining out special," Nahabedian said. "It's a release from what you have at home."