The current line on Lettuce Entertain You is that the restaurant group has recaptured the hip reputation it once enjoyed. Most attribute the renaissance to the offspring of its chairman, Rich Melman, and their various hot spots, most recently Three Dots and a Dash. But Beatrix—which Melman developed, with a hand from other company veterans, in the new hotel Aloft—comes off plenty cool.

Comfort foods, such as deviled eggs with deconstructed potato salad, an irresistible braised pot roast sandwich (lunch), and miraculously rich caramel pies, seem brighter and looser than the usual Lettuce fare. So does the airy space, which includes a perpetually packed wine bar and bakery. Yes, the kids are all right, but Dad still has what it takes.

Perfect for: Paleo, pescetarian, vegetarian, and gluten-challenged diners