Chicago's second McCormick & Schmick's has the former Nick and Tony's location covered in gills. The business-dinner atmosphere remains largely intact, and deal-makers will feel welcome to pop open briefcases amidst the restaurant's hardwood floors and stained glass chandeliers. For meetings of a more private nature, settle into plush booths tucked behind green curtains. Low lamplight and photos of old Chicago cozy up the ambiance while an etched-in-glass portrait of the city skyline lends local flavor to the back of the space. A commanding oak bar welcomes cocktail-seekers inside while a stone patio pleases the alfresco crowd.
Each McCormick & Schmick's location has a unique menu, so expect a few twists on the meal you're used to in the Gold Coast. A happy hour bar menu offers a sea of savories for $1.95 a pop; half-pound cheeseburgers with fries, spicy fish tacos with rice and salmon cakes topped with dill cream all ring in at less-than-a-cup-of-coffee prices. The restaurant flies in more than 30 kinds of fresh fish every day; check the daily "Fresh List" for selections like New Zealand grouper or Alaskan halibut. Specialties such as salmon penne and pecan-coated catfish make the menu every day. Expect to shell out $15-$35 per person.
Average cost: $31+
Centerstage Reviewer: Jennifer Berg