Grace is not a burger joint or a diner or a place for charcuterie or mixology. The only way you can make a reservation is by phone. These days, calling for a rez at a 64-seat spot that’s entirely prix fixe sounds almost . . . uh, nerdy.
So what is Grace? “Refined dining,” says Curtis Duffy, the untrendy chef/partner of one of Chicago’s most anticipated restaurants. Seventeen tables in a room that could probably seat 300. Four unisex restrooms, each designed with a motif representing one of the seasons. Two completely different $165 multicourse menus—one with meat and one without. (“Why should vegetables take a back seat to something else,” Duffy asks, “when the same high-quality products, care, and discipline go into them?”) And sure, you can order a martini, but Duffy and his partner and general manager, Michael Muser, are out to celebrate the grape—with an emphasis on Rhone Valley reds, Loire Valley and Alsatian whites, and Champagnes. In the age of beer taps and fried chicken, this kind of move takes courage. Or maybe just a little grace. 652 W. Randolph St., 312-234-9494
Photograph: Anna Knott