It's all but impossible to resist the overwhelming serenity of Stained Glass Wine Bar & Bistro, as tranquil green walls, sleek tabletops and an inviting wine display greet and calm you. The feeling only advances once you take advantage of any of the restaurant's 320-plus wines, featuring both old and new world wines that range from $30 to $400 per bottle. To fulfill the prophecy of its name, Stained Glass also features a whopping 32 wines by the glass, averaging a reasonable $10.
Stained Glass' small menu still boasts enough options to meet nearly anyone's fancy. For starters, the foie gras BLT ($14.50), with seared foie gras, applewood smoked bacon, cherry tomatoes, micro greens and white truffle mayonnaise on a toasted brioche, is a superb twist on the traditional favorite (and due to Chicago's ban on foie gras, isn't be found in the city). Fusion fare take shape in dishes like the Alaskan halibut ($25.75), baked with a panko and sesame seed crust and accompanied by wasabi mashed potatoes, pickled ginger vinaigrette and tempura vegetables.
If there's room for dessert, the creme brulee sampler ($7), featuring vanilla, Mexican hot chocolate and chai flavors, puts any other experience you've had with the carmelized custard to shame. Stained Glass' theme even continues post-meal, as there are about a dozen dessert wines and liquors to choose from. In-house wine events occur every few months, and be sure to catch (and call ahead for) the Sunday night special, when 90 bottles from the wine list are half-price.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: Laura Brown