Mint Julep at Chicago Q (1160 N. Dearborn) on Saturday April 2nd 2011. (Jason Little photo for Metromix. )
The name may be food-focused, but chances are you won't want to leave without a cocktail during Chicago Restaurant Week, the popular discount dining event that kicks off Friday and runs through Feb. 26. Saving cash on your prix-fixe meal ($22 for lunch and $33 or $44 for dinner) is the perfect excuse to try something new in the booze department. If you're headed to one of these six popular restaurants, we've got your drink order covered.
112 W. Hubbard St. 312-222-4940
You're eating: A hearty hanger steak for lunch or lentil soup, braised short ribs with a peanut tart dessert for dinner.
You're drinking: The light, refreshing Effen Avocado ($13) with Effen cucumber vodka, avocado puree and lime juice, which makes a light, refreshing accompaniment to lunch. Going for dinner? Try the Pear Temptation ($13), a mix of pear vodka, ginger liqueur and pear nectar with your dessert.
2118 N. Damen Ave. 773-235-6434
You're eating: Arugula salad, followed by the Prince Edward Island mussels and Amish chicken.
You're drinking: The Privateer (rum, ginger liqueur, lime and bitters), which pairs well with the salad. Bartender Kris von Dopek also suggests the mussels with Notes of Spring (raspberry vodka, creme de cassis, lime and sparkling wine) and the chicken with The Colonial (three types of rum with apple cider, lemon juic, allspice and black tea cordial). All drinks are $12.
BLT American Brasserie
500 W. Superior St. 312-948-8744
You're eating: Butternut squash soup with crispy sage, salmon with ginger and baby bok choy and ricotta beignets for dessert.
You're drinking: Try the Apple & Bourbon Fizz (whiskey, apple juice, lemon juice and ginger ale) as a refreshing side to your main meal, and end the night with a pink grapefruit martini made with acai liqueur and mint. Both sell for $13.
1160 N. Dearborn St. 312-642-1160
You're eating: Barbecue, barbecue and more barbecue, with a plenty of cornbread and cobbler for dessert.
You're drinking: A mint julep ($11) served with the traditional crushed ice. Not a bourbon fan? Try the Southern Bell, a vanilla vodka concoction with, ginger, lemon juice and mint ($11).
1846 W. Division St. 312-878-1212
You're eating: Mushroom bruschetta, miso-glazed tofu with veggies and gooey butter cake for dessert.
You're drinking: Like whiskey? Try the Urban, a mix of rye, elderflower liqueur and apple flavors with egg white foam ($11). If you're more in the mood for something with a bit more zip, try the Earthy made with mezcal, tequila, beet juice, lime and agave for $11.
456 N. Clark St. 312-477-7652
You're eating: Sushi fans will be pleased with courses of edamame, a crispy butterfish roll, salmon teriyaki and green tea custard.
You're drinking: You could opt for something off their lengthy sake list, or go for something spicy with the ginger daiquiri -- a mix of ginger syrup, lime juice, a brown sugar cube and cachaca -- a distilled sugar cane spirit ($12).
For more details on Chicago Restaurant Week, check out eatitupchicago.com.
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