Best New Restaurants, by Dennis Ray Wheaton and Jeff Ruby
In a banner year for restaurants, our critics had a tough time narrowing the standouts down to 20-but here’s the list, with our pick for the single best of this year’s class. We also choose the best new dish, highlight the coming-out of a fiercely inventive new chef, and serve up a lot more.

The Fawell Affair, by Steve Rhodes
Scott Fawell was a gifted, arrogant political operator, the right-hand man of Governor George Ryan’s until prosecutors proved he was the central schemer in a culture of corruption.

The Garden Path, by Marcia Froelke Coburn
For the past seven years, Chicagoan Catharine Hamilton has led the multimillion-dollar effort to restore one of Louis XIV’s favorite gardens at Versailles. In June, the completed project will be celebrated with a round of receptions, tours, and a fabulous grand ball.

A Weekend Place, by Dennis Rodkin
Looking for a second home? Here is a guide to the top summer spots-Lake Geneva, Harbor Country, Door County, and Galena-as well as a look at more affordable options nearby.

At Home: Open House, by Stacey Jones
Designs for summer are pretty and romantic yet primal and bold-the bloom is on in exotic floral prints, ruffles, and airy silk chiffon.




The House Theatre’s Nathan Allen; a collector’s last stand; splendid shirts; when bad bands happen to good people; a trip to TV land; prom style; the next pinot grigio; more

Style Sheet, by Stacy Wallace-Albert
Custom-made hats, ring bling, sharp ties-made-in-Chicago styles by designers who know the best can happen here

Real Lives | Her Way, by Marcia Froelke Coburn
Abigail Heche has launched a new career as a jewelry designer-like her sisters, she is creative. But her version of the family’s history, she says, will remain unwritten.

How We Spend | Dead Reckoning, by Clare La Plante
The expense of a funeral can easily leave the unprepared with a case of sticker shock. But don’t fear the Reaper. With careful planning, you can keep the cost of dying under control.

Business | Mate Market, by Robert Reed
The roster of venerable Chicago companies bought by out-of-towners in recent years includes Ameritech, Waste Management, and now Bank One. The next round of buyouts may add even more household names to the list.

Cityscape | Impossible Dream, by Dennis Rodkin
Chicago’s booming real estate market has made it harder for middle-income families to afford a home. What’s being done to make that impossible dream a reality?

Deal Estate, by Dennis Rodkin
The Donald fires up sales at Chicago’s Trump Tower; Hispanic homeownership on the rise; a rare sale at Lake Forest’s Knollwood Club-plus other house and condo news.

Nightspotting, by Sarah Preston
Bordo’s gets the party going on Thursday nights with martinis and mojitos. And the band Duenow is finding its groove.

The Closer, by Jeff Ruby
Chicago’s mayors have a history of saying things they later regret. Here are a few choice words they probably wished they could take back.

On the Town


Prime Time
During May: The Elmhurst Art Museum exhibits works by members of the Transparent Watercolor Society of America.

Food & Drink

The city’s definitive guide| This month: New listings include Moto and Pluton; re-reviews of Follia and Tournesol; more

Short Takes
Budget Beat| Introducing Pho Xe Tang (a.k.a. Tank Restaurant)-a Vietnamese place with a War and Peace-length menu
Opening| Shawn McClain’s new veggie offerings at Green Zebra
Street Beat| Three of Chicago’s great unheralded hamburgers
Discovery| After a sojourn in New York, a familiar Mexican face turns up in the northern suburbs
Barbeque| A new spot for ribs from an old pro