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Where's the Beef?

In search of bold flavors.

By CHICAGO LIFE STAFF

Brazzaz 539 N. Dearborn, 312-595-9000. This is one of the city's most popular churrascarias with meat selections from rack of lamb (with their secret marinade) to ribs to their famous filet mignon. Seafood lovers will not be disappointed: the seafood bar is a standout. Don't miss their signature wild mushroom and truffle risotto. Open for lunch Mon.-Fri. Dinner nightly. Valet parking.

Chicago Chop House 60 W. Ontario, 312-787-7100. Historic Chicago photographs brighten the walls in this charming Victorian mansion. But the real draw in this famous steak house is the wide selection of aged steaks, excellent prime rib and succulent lobster. Save room for homemade desserts. Open for lunch Monday-Friday. Dinner nightly.

Chicago Diner 3411 N. Halsted, 773-935-6696. Since 1983 the Chicago Diner has served delicious vegetarian dishes in a comfortable, casual diner atmosphere. You can't go wrong with the Radical Reuben sandwich or the Thunder Salad. Try the great egglant if it is on the nightly menu. Leave room for their delicious homemade desserts. Catering available. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Dinner nightly. Brunch Sat. and Sun.

Oceanique 505 Main St., Evanston, 847-864-3435. Chef Mark Grosz has combined creative French and American influences to offer exquisite meat and seafood in a simple, charming atmosphere. The changing menu of this splendid restaurant offers organically-grown vegetables and fruits in season. Try the wild striped bass with purple potatoes, white and green asparagus, acorn squash and saffron-basil sauce. The bouillabaisse with salmon, tai, turbot, scallops, shrimp and squid is an excellent choice, as is the yellowfin tuna. Meat lovers will devour the prime sirloin of beef with escargot, Roquefort cheese, green beans, pearl onions and fingerling potatoes. Select from over 450 wines. Save room for delicate pastries including an unbelievably sinful chocolate cake with a dark chocolate ruffle. Oceanique offers a 3-course $38 dinner Mon.-Fri. Dinner nightly. Closed Sun.

The Parthenon 314 S. Halsted, 312-726-2407. The Sotiris family serves up excellent Greek dishes and wines in the heart of Greek Town. Start with the calamari and shrimp salad or the dolmades. The classic eggplant dish, moussaka, is delicious, as is the lamb with artichokes and egg-lemon sauce. The jumbo shrimp flamed in brandy with light rice pilafi is unique. Try the pork or chicken breast shishkabobs with roast potatoes. For dessert there are succulent Greek offerings including the flaky baklavaphyllo pastry baked with almonds, walnuts and honey, or galaktobourikophyllo filled with vanilla custard, baked in syrup. Open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight. Free valet parking.

Salpicon! 1252 N. Wells, 312-988-7811. From the beautiful paintings on the walls to the tiger shrimp in garlic sauce to the delightful desserts, you'll know why such a charming spot is so highly regarded. The decor is attractive, the gourmet Mexican dishes are divine and the wine bar is one of the best in Chicago. Start with ceviche or the spinach salad with goat cheese and, of course, fresh guacamole. Chef Priscila Satkoff offers nightly specials, with favorites such as poached chicken with Oaxaca mole sauce. Try the nightly fresh fish entresalmon and halibut specials with lime rice are excellent. Leave room for oranges poached in cinnamon sauce, cake with berry sauce, a luscious hot rich chocolate cake with a warm chocolate center or the stunning pineapple dessert. Reservations recommended, especially on weekends. Sun. brunch 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Dinner daily. Valet parking. o

Published: August 01, 2006
Issue: November 2006