Not from Chicago? Restaurant week is a national event. To find out when your city is hosting theirs, click here.
First Bites Bash is the kick-off event to Chicago Restaurant Week. It is a one-night celebration of food and the local chefs that make our city/state a foodie paradise. This year (2019), the event was held at the Field Museum of Natural History. More than 70 chefs and restaurants were represented this year. Tasting portions, from savory to sweet and everything in between, were available.
Tickets for the event were $125.00. This covered all the food you could taste in three hours along with the various beverages offered. Stella Artois, Don Julio, and Josh Wines were just a few of the liquor vendors there. And these were not tasting portions, they were full pours. The bash is also a fundraiser and this year’s recipient was Pilot Light, which is a non-profit that helps children make healthier choices through food education.
In addition to delicious tasting food, presentation was well-thought out for a few of the chefs. And if you watch as many food shows and I do, or even if you only watch one show, you know that presentation is one of the key things contestants are judged on.
As I mentioned in the first paragraph, sweets were available as well. Mini portions of cheesecake, donuts, and ice cream sandwiches were there to tempt your sweet tooth. There was also a chocolate fountain with a variety of foods for dipping.
Chicago Restaurant Week, now in its 12th year, is an annual event that actually takes place over the course of two weeks and involves some of the best restaurants in Chicago and the suburbs. Participating restaurants put together a special “prix-fixe” menu for their location featuring some of their best dishes. Prix-fixe means a set price for a complete meal. Restaurants are challenged to provide a multi-course (usually 3-4 courses) dining experience for under $50 (some locations are more expensive). Because you are getting a full meal for a discounted price, the portions are smaller. This year (2019), Chicago Restaurant Week runs from January 25 through February 8.
One of the great things about the prix-fixe menu dining experience is sharing. My SO and I decided to try a restaurant in the city that we had never been to before called Somerset. They offered 4 different options for an appetizer, 3 different salads, 4 main courses, and 3 desserts to choose from. So, between the two of us we were able to try 8 different dishes. You can see the list of all participating restaurants, and filter them by location, here. Use this as an opportunity to try a place you have never been to before. Or maybe a place that just opened. Or a cuisine you want to try but are afraid to invest a whole dish on. So many reasons to take advantage of Restaurant Week.
Below is a list of the First Bites Bash participating restaurants and what they were serving that night: