Charlatan - Chicago
The sleek concept, from the owners of Three Aces, brings locally sourced, modern, Italian-inspired fare to West Town. There's also a strong focus on wild game and unique ingredients on the menu, which aims to change every other month. Beverages are comprised of local brews, hand-crafted cocktails, and an Italian and American wine list.
Many will remember the space as the longtime home of West Town Tavern, the comfy, American-focused bistro. Charlatan has made the interior its own, with one of the owners calling it a "grown-up version of Three Aces." Accents are minimal, with reclaimed furnishings and funky light fixtures. The focal point of the room is a set of mounted heads of buffalo, deer and a boar.
Who dines here? Get ready for a hyper-local audience mixed with industry insiders. It makes for an interesting night. Those who arrive early should settle in at the bar for drinks--dinner's served here as well--to watch a colorful cast of characters make their way in and out the door.
Also: When making reservations, try to request the slightly raised circular booth in the back. You can watch all the kitchen and dining room action simultaneously.