There’s nothing like Springtime to make you herald the return of the outdoor business lunch. We found a place in Chicago right in the Loop where you can relax, sit outside, and have a great lunchtime meal. The Atwood Cafe has the whole downtown experience: the guitarist on the street corner, honking horns, whizzing traffic, the babble of voices, and, best of all, amazing food.
We also encountered a Highly Knowledgeable Waitress, one who gets five stars in our book for her knowledge of the menu. She knew her personal favorites, and could beautifully describe the menu items to make them all sound mouth wateringly delicious. Her first recommendation was one our table was already eyeing–the Smoked Trout Salad, with pears, frisee, caramelized bleu cheese and a hazelnut vinaigrette. The second recommendation became–you guessed it–our second choice: the Mussels, with a sauce heavily influenced by beer, served with smoky tasso ham, a large wedge of grilled sourdough and pomme frites on the side. We topped it off with a simple Baby Beet Salad made with a goat cheese mousse and lemon vinaigrette, and can only say, “Our compliments to Executive Chef Derek Simcik!”
Other interesting menu items included a Duck Reuben made with duck prosciutto and caraway vinaigrette, and the newest addition to the menu, Whitefish served with asparagus, almonds, and coriander beurre blanc.
We ended our meal with the Caramel Salted Cheesecake, but were severely tempted over the Bacon-Root Beer Donuts and the Coffee Bread Pudding. So, next time.
It’s a great place to talk business and have a little fun on the side (did I mention there is a Nordstrom Rack a few doors down?). All in all, the quintessential Chicago lunchtime experience.