Restaurant Week is underway through Sunday— unless Phil Vettel sees his shadow and we get six more weeks of it— but we're still hung over from compiling our Super Bowl preview and we've got Valentine's Day starring down at us like Tommy Lee Jones with a shotgun, so we're going to turn to everyone else who has looked at the more than 270— 270!— restaurants participating and found some way to reduce it to a manageable number of prospects.
First up is Phil Vettel, who is a big booster of Restaurant Week, and always seems to recommend Blackbird and Naha... both of which are already booked solid for the week, apparently. (Here's a little secret: Blackbird runs pretty much the same special year-round, though.) Anyway, here are his wanna-try list choices, including eccentric newcomer Baume & Brix, overlooked Bistro Voltaire (who manage to beat the $33 dinner tab by four bucks, doing it for $29), Paris Club who dish up a nice menu of classics like French onion soup, and ultra-reliable business dinner spot Sepia. And if you must eat at Naha, they do keep a few tables for walk-ins and serve the menu at the bar.[Tribune]
• Chicagoist hits up the whole team for suggestions. Among others, Lorna Juett picks likeable Uptown Italian spot Ceres' Table; Anthony Todd says this is your chance to check out Michelin-approved Mexique; Melissa Wiley points you to Piccolo Sogno; and Paul Leddy says Vie is worth a trip to the burbs. [Chicagoist]
• Steve Dolinsky doesn't exactly make recommendations, except that he mentions the likes of Allium, Carriage House and Nellcôte, so he must like them. [Steve Dolinsky]
• Audarshia Townsend of 312 Dining Diva looks at what she calls "the 5 most intriguing menus of Chicago Restaurant Week" at Dining Chicago, and comes up with a nice list of unexpected choices including the northwest side Peruvian spot 4 Suyos, meatcentric Frontier, who'll be offering things like antelope meatballs and kangaroo chili, and River West newcomer Two. [Dining Chicago]
• Northwestern's student food mag Spoon recommends spots around the downtown campus, including Bar Toma, NoMI, Baume & Brix again, and... nowhere near the campus... Trenchermen. [Spoon]