Finer restaurants participate in "Kid's Restaurant Week"

June 20, 2008 11:15:48 AM PDT
There are two problems with taking kids to finer restaurants -- the dirty looks from other patrons and paying the high prices for what turns out to be a small portion. But ABC7's Hungry Hound says for the next week at least more than a dozen of the area's finer restaurants are encouraging little eaters. Steve Dolinsky's daughter, Madeline, recently checked out one of those special menus.

Cookie Magazine is targeted at raising kids, while Gourmet is obviously focused on food. The two have joined forces - along with more than a dozen great local restaurants - to create the first-ever "Kid's Restaurant Week" in Chicago.

If you don't mind going out a little early, you can expose your kids to new flavors and new surroundings but don't expect gimmicky toys and crayons. Over the next week, it's all about introducing kids to fine food.

Martial Noguier does not, as a rule, make a lot of pizza. But as the Executive Chef at One SixtyBlue in West Town, he's been practicing a lot lately, getting ready for Chicago's first-ever "Kid's Restaurant Week."

"We wanted to prove that One Sixtyblue can be a restaurant, like a family restaurant, that you can bring your kids if you want," said Martial Noguier, One Sixtyblue.

Here's the deal: from the 21st until the 28th, participating restaurants offer special menus from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Kids 11 and under pay their age for a three-course dinner; those 12 and over - including adults - pay $20.08.

"The idea is for them to bring their kids, and also for them to see One Sixtyblue," said Noguier.

Madeline is 10, so for ten bucks, her meal starts out with a pizza, containing both mozzarella and feta, plus radish sprouts and fresh basil. Her second course is an aromatic bowl of house-made gnocchi, adorned with spring vegetables and topped with shards of parmesan.

"I think it's very good because the texture is great and all the flavors together," said Madeline Dolinsky, Hungry Puppy. "The gnocchi is very good because it has the gnocchi of course, which is awesome, and the vegetables just make it perfect thing."

While Madeline tries out her special menu, mom gets Alaskan halibut with ricotta cheese, plus peas, radishes and a lavender sauce. Steve tries the prime delmonico steak topped with caramelized shallots, served with a mini pot of potato puree in red wine sauce.

Noguier says even though this week is for families, as a father himself, he goes out of his way to accommodate kids throughout the year.

"We always do something special for them. We have pasta. We have gnocchi. We have pizza for them," said Noguier.

For dessert, Madeline's third course is simple, yet sublime: homemade vanilla ice cream drenched in seasonal fresh berries and a few sticks of shortbread. Her verdict is not surprising.

"I think it's very kid-friendly, and there's lots of good things on the menu for kids to eat," said Madeline.

Some other notable restaurants participating include: Topolobampo, Zealous and The Cafe at the Ritz Carlton. Reservations are recommended.

Kid's Restaurant Week
June 21-28
Participating restaurants will offer discounted prices from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Kids 11 and under will pay their age for a dinner that includes an appetizer, entree and dessert. Diners age 12 and older (including adults) will pay $20.08.
www.kidsrestaurantweek.com

160 Blue
1400 W. Randolph St.
312-850-0303

Other participating restaurants include:

Big Jones 773.275.5725
bin wine cafe 773.486.2233
Blue Water Grill 312.777.1400
The Cafe at the Ritz Carlton 312.266.1000
Coco Pazzo Cafe 312.664.2777
Frontera Grill 312.661.1434
Ina's 312.226.8227
Osteria di Tramonto 847.777.6570
Osteria Via Stato 312.642.8450
OTOM 312.491.5804
Prairie Grass Cafe 847.205.4433
Topolobombo 312.661.1434
Uncommon Ground (both locations) 773.929.3680
Vie 708.246.2082
Zealous 312.475.9112

Green City Market will receive $1 for every meal purchased during the week

In related news:
Parents magazine put more than 50 full-service and buffet-style restaurant chains to the test, evaluating the elements that contribute to a great night out for families with children. The magazine just announced that Uno Chicago Grill ranked among its top 10 Best Family Restaurants at number 4.


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