SALUTE WINE BAR
An Italian wine bar. Piatti piccoli, panini, formaggi. Cutesy patio. Spumantes and chiantis galore. Did we have to? But Salute, barely noticeable between the sports bar madness of Jake Melnick’s and curlicued kitsch of 1492 Tapas Bar, charmed the pants off us. For starters, we expressed interest in a glass of Kerner’s 2007 Abbazia di Novacella. Oops, by the bottle only. “That’s fine,” our waiter said. “We will open anything.” It went perfectly with the garlicky beetroot hummus spread on warm pita triangles, and not bad with the walnut-pepper-dusted insalata of mixed greens, dried apricots, and Gorgonzola, either. The grilled veggie panino avoided cliché, but it was the shot of house-made blood orange “cello” that clinched the deal. 46 E. Superior St.; 312-664-0100.
Good old Jason Paskewitz. The journeyman chef has got talent, sure, but he’s been looking for a home for so long we can barely remember where he’s been (JP Chicago, Wave, and The Pump Room, to name a few). Now he’s joined forces with Ryan O’Donnell, himself a veteran of Keefer’s and MK North, to open an eco-friendly 99-seat American bistro in Lincoln Park by mid-July with a sidewalk café and a menu packed with crowd pleasers such as slow-braised short rib with potato purée and crispy pancetta. Sounds like it can’t miss. As usual. 2075 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-525-2522.
If you think steak houses have gotten out of control with their impossibly pricey slabs of beef and desserts so large you’re embarrassed to order them, T-Bone’s (slated to open in late June) may be the answer. “We are going to tone it down a bit,” says the chef, Laura Piper. “Those things are just too much.” Piper should know. A veteran of Gibsons and Hugo’s Frog Bar, she’s partnering on a 130-seat “T-shirt and jeans” steak house with Scott Harris (Mia Francesca) and Jimmy Bannos (Heaven on Seven) dedicated to affordability, sustainability, and—perhaps most important—sanity. 1890 W. Main St., St. Charles; 630-762-0200.