1. The West Loop’s BLVD has pivoted to BLVD Steakhouse, which boasts a chef-driven menu of prime cuts and fresh seafood, and the ambiance and glamour of old Hollywood mainstays. From executive chef Johnny Besch, the menu is a nod to the classic steakhouse, with shrimp cocktail, lobster thermidor, steak frites and the forever-favorite hot fudge brownie sundae rounding out dessert. 817 W. Lake St.
Chef Noah Sandoval of new Ukrainian Village restaurant Pizza Friendly Pizza
2. Down a back alley behind legendary music venue The Empty Bottle sits Ukrainian Village’s new neighborhood joint, Pizza Friendly Pizza. From the hit-maker food and beverage minds of Bruce Finkelman and chef Noah Sandoval, the Sicilian- style pizza emporium in the former Bite Cafe digs boasts a walk-up window for take-away bites, as well as dine-in on the patio. 1039 N. Western Ave.
3. After nearly two decades in the biz, River North mainstay Vermilion has relaunched with a fresh menu and interiors. In keeping with its tradition of melding Indian and Latin flavors, dishes include charred chiles en mole, tiffin “pindi” butter chicken and coconut chile mussels. “Much of our new menu draws from Celerino Cruz’s (our chef de cuisine from Morelos, Mexico) and Rahul Nair’s (sous chef from Kerala, India) backgrounds,” says founder and Culinary Director Rohini Dey. “Our food is a collaborative outcome between our culinary team and inspirations from my travels.” 10 W. Hubbard St.