The past week and a half marked a special time of the year in Chicago—Restaurant Week. During these magical 10 days, Chicagoans get the opportunity to take advantage of some of the best dining the city has to offer at a fraction of the usual cost. Participating restaurants offer 3-course prix fixe menus that run from $22 at lunch to $33 or $44 at dinner. I had the pleasure of dining at both South Loop's Mercat a la Planxa and Boka in Lincoln Park. The former was an experience that exemplified the essence of what is great about Restaurant Week—excellent food at a stellar price. The latter, however, was a lesson in where restaurant week falls short. But that's a story for another review.
I am a huge Iron Chef fan, so I was excited to check out Jose Garces's tapas hot spot. Upon entering, I was struck by the Gaudi-esque decor. The space is covered in geometric patterns and bright colors and exudes hip modern sophistication. The dining room's deep blue ceiling and hanging light fixtures create the illusion of a starry night sky. While the main dining area is a little cluttered, overall, the space is great and the decor is lovely. In terms of ambiance, the vibe is trendy and the place was buzzing all night.