As a short term resident in temporary housing, I ate out a lot and I got to experience the exquisite food and elaborate showmanship of the late Charlie Trotter and on the other end of the scale, I ate once at Gino's Pizza where tourists line up around the block in the dead of winter to get a seat inside graffiti covered booths to be served their pizza. My review of the two places is easy, Trotter's was well worth every penny of the outrageously expensive tab and Gino's was well, I only ate there once, enough said.
But my favorite Chicago Restaurant is one most people have never heard of, Bistrot Zinc. Bistrot Zinc is a classic French bistro that serves that same classic neighborhood style French food that you would find in Paris. You know the kind, things like Steak Frites or Steak au Poivre and Poulet Grand Mere (grandmother's chicken). It is also the restaurant that introduced me to one of my favorite dessert treats, Crepe a la Banane et Nutella (crepes with Nutella and sliced bananas), YUM! I love those so much I make them at home now.
The traditional Zinc bar, and the equally traditional bistro decor, and a front window that opens up when the weather permits all contribute to an elegant yet homey feel.
(I took the above photo early one morning to give a better view of the decor.)
I love the way this place makes me feel when I eat there. I feel like I've been transported to Paris and that I belong there.
Of course there were other favorites. My friend David and I loved going to Spago where the bartender Spiros knew us by name. And, Le Colonial was one place I always took out of town visitors. I've actually been to all three Le Colonial restaurants, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco and all serve fantastic French/Vietnamese food in 1920's Southeast Asian surroundings.
But, my heart belongs to Bistrot Zinc and it's the one place I always stop on every visit to the windy city.