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updated: 6/6/2018 12:32 PM

Dining out: Che Figata’s chef leads demo, tasting at Marcel’s

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  • Caprino Con Piselli is on the menu at Naperville's new Che Figata, an Italy-to-table restaurant whose name means "that's cool."

    Caprino Con Piselli is on the menu at Naperville's new Che Figata, an Italy-to-table restaurant whose name means "that's cool."
    Courtesy of Marcin Cymmer

  • The smoked salmon salad is a new lunch offering at Francesca's restaurants.

    The smoked salmon salad is a new lunch offering at Francesca's restaurants.
    Courtesy of Francesca's

  • Che Figata's founder and executive chef Mark Grimes will be hosting a demo and tasting Saturday at Marcel's in Glen Ellyn.

    Che Figata's founder and executive chef Mark Grimes will be hosting a demo and tasting Saturday at Marcel's in Glen Ellyn.

  • Executive chef and founder Mark Grimes works a special wood-burning grill at Che Figata, which recently opened in Naperville.

    Executive chef and founder Mark Grimes works a special wood-burning grill at Che Figata, which recently opened in Naperville.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Founder Mark Grimes heads the open kitchen at Naperville's new Che Figata.

    Founder Mark Grimes heads the open kitchen at Naperville's new Che Figata.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 

Taste test

Under the direction of founder and executive chef Mark Grimes, Che Figata recently opened its doors in Naperville's CityGate Centre, bringing its authentic "Italy to Table" concept to the suburbs. The restaurant's menu features a modern take on regional Italian classics with seasonal ingredients. Marcel's Culinary Experience in Glen Ellyn will host Chef Grimes for a demonstration and tasting of some of the new restaurant's specialties paired with select wines from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 9. It costs $15; reservations requested. Che Figata is at 2155 CityGate Lane, Suite 103, Naperville, (630) 579-3210 or chefigatakitchen.com/. Marcel's is at 490 N. Main St., Glen Ellyn, (630) 790-8500 or marcelsculinaryexperience.com/.

Francesca's Davanti Burger is now available at lunch for $15.95.
Francesca's Davanti Burger is now available at lunch for $15.95. - Courtesy of Francesca's
Lunch update at Francesca's

In time for summer and long lunches outside, Francesca's Restaurants recently launched a new lunch menu. Available at every location, the lunch combo includes a choice of soup or salad and half-portion of select entrees for $9.95. Other options include the caprese con prosciutto (caprese sandwich of fresh tomato, basil and mozzarella topped with prosciutto) for $11.95, the Davanti Burger (char prime burger, roasted tomatoes, crispy mozzarella, arugula, bacon jam and roasted garlic aioli on a brioche bun for $15.95, and ravioli con spinaci (spinach-filled pasta with a four-cheese sauce, a touch of tomato sauce and parmigiana) for $11.95, to name a few. Francesca's has locations in Arlington Heights, Barrington, Bolingbrook, Elmhurst, Lake Forest, Naperville, Northbrook, St. Charles and more. miafrancesca.com/

Starry sips

City Gate Grille in Naperville invites wine fans to sip under the stars on its refurbished patio Friday, June 8. The restaurant will be serving 12 of its favorite reds and whites to the sounds of live music. The $35 per person price includes six tasting tickets, passed appetizers, tax and gratuity. City Gate Grille is at 2020 Calamos Court, Naperville, (630) 718-1010 or citygategrille.com/.

Negroni + steak

Gene & Georgetti fetes Negroni Week now through Friday, June 8, with special $10 cocktails. Try the Negroni (gin, amaro, sweet vermouth), Americano (swap the gin for soda water), Broken Negroni (swap the gin for prosecco), Boulevardier (swap the gin for bourbon) or the Negroni Fizz (add lemon, sugar and soda). In June, Gene & Georgetti is offering a steak special for National Steakhouse Month: a 32-ounce USDA Prime dry-aged long-bone "Tomahawk" rib-eye for $115. It's perfect for sharing. Gene & Georgetti is at 9421 W. Higgins Road, Rosemont, (847) 653-3300, and 500 N. Franklin, Chicago, (312) 527-3718. geneandgeorgetti.com/.

Stone Brewing Beer Dinner

Kick back and relax at Wildfire's June beer dinner featuring Stone Brewing, the largest brewery in Southern California. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 11, with a reception of grilled polenta and barbecue pulled pork paired with Stone Brewing Scorpion Bowl IPA. Then move on to the first course of grilled ancho shrimp paired with Stone Brewing Delicious IPA, followed by charred rib-eye medallion paired with Stone Brewing Exalted IPA. Finish with stone fruit Napoleon trifle paired with Stone Brewing Ripper. The dinner costs $60, plus tax and gratuity. Wildfire is at 232 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, (630) 586-9000 or wildfirerestaurant.com/oak-brook/.

Summer solstice martinis

The summer solstice martini flight is back at Elgin's Martini Room on Wednesdays in June. Try five mini martinis for $16. The new flavors are Strawberry Seduction (homemade strawberry-basil infused vodka, St. Elder flower liqueur, white cranberry juice and lime juice served in a sugar-cayenne-pepper-rimmed glass with a strawberry and lime garnish), Lemon Sorbet (Luxardo Limoncello, peach schnapps, lemonade and whipped cream served with a mint and lemon twist), Southern Peach (Benchmark Bourbon, peach puree, Peychaud's Bitters, orange juice and lemonade with Ginger Beer on top), Picante (homemade cilantro-infused vodka, St. Elder flower liqueur, lime juice and white cranberry juice served with a fresh jalapeño slice) and Pistachio Ice Cream (Dumante Italian Liqueur, Rumchata, white creme de cacao and cream served in a vanilla-salt-rimmed glass). Full-size martinis from the martini flight are available daily. Martini Room is at 161 E. Chicago St., Elgin, (847) 741-0349 or martiniroomelgin.com/.