Highlights of Restaurant Week 2012

February 22 2012 - 10:39 AM

Naha_snapperChicago Restaurant Week can be one of the most glorious – and indulgent – weeks of the year. If it's done right, you can get some incredible deals on lunches or dinners at restaurants you might not be able to afford otherwise.

I truly studied these menus to find the best of the best deals. You're better off first considering checking out new restaurants with menus that are really worth the cost. Here are a few highlights: 

Zed 451: If you haven't tried what they call the Zed experience, you definitely aren't alone. It normally costs $48, but for $33 you get a generous sampling of the regular offerings. The meal starts off with the amuse bouche of the evening, and then come the best part of the meal – the warm, buttery biscuits. You have free reign of the harvest table, which includes an ahi tuna and shrimp poke, tons of cheese and charcuterie and more. Plus, servers walk around with unlimited top sirloin, which my dining companions raved about, chicken and salmon. The bread pudding for dessert is the perfect ending to this dinner. Indulge in one of specialty drinks or sangria for an additional cost. 

NAHA: There's no question that dining at NAHA is worth the Restaurant Week cost, as long as you are adventurous enough to order off the menu. I found that the lunch menu offered far more choices at a better value than the dinner menu. Compared to the regular menu, you're really just paying a few more dollars for two additional courses. The snapper (pictured) with wheatberries, roasted pears and cranberries is an incredible plate of flavor combinations. The chocolate and almond dacquoise with preserved cherries is full of rich chocolate flavor, and the cherries bring it to another level. The ingredients say it all at this restaurant, and I'd go back to this Restaurant Week year after year. 

GT Fish & Oyster: This Restaurant Week newbie is not to be missed. Only lunch is offered, so hurry and make your reservation for this experience. The menu is pricey for sure, and it seems like everything you order is incredible. Don't miss the crab cake with red bell pepper aioli. GT also doesn't skimp on the desserts. Choose between the chocolate mousse with stout cake and peanut brittle or carrot cake with ginger ice cream. If you can't squeeze in during your normal lunch hour, it's worth it stopping in for a late lunch and trying out one of the specialty cocktails. 

Chicago Restaurant Week extends through this Sunday, February 26th. Check out the other participating restaurants here

–Marly Schuman