Chez Joel Bistro

Who loves French food? This girl [in case you can’t picture it, my two thumbs are pointing at me]. Sure I took 7 years of French in high school and college, but let’s get real that doesn’t retain unless I get to use it. And I didn’t…until this past year when I went to Paris. Whoo! First time over the Atlantic Ocean.

Story aside, I’ve loved French food well before that trip and I’m sure I’ll continue to love it well into my old age. Come on…how do you say no to delicious, delicious butter? I really just love the flavors and elegance of it all. It makes me feel fancy, even street foods make me feel fancy. Crepes…yes, please. A cheese sandwich where you melt and then scrape the cheese off the cheese wheel…also, yes please. Could you make a street cheese sandwich any fancier…what are you going to throw truffle oil on it? Just give me actual shaved truffles and I’ll believe you.

Anyway back to why we’re really here. It’s Chicago Restaurant Week…and it lasts 2 weeks. I’m all for it. It gives me time to check out more restaurants. More delicious food please. The first restaurant I decided to check out was for lunch at Chez Joel Bistro on Taylor Street down in Little Italy. What?!?!?! A French restaurant on Taylor Street?

Let’s just go with it. It’s got decent reviews. The food sounds good. There’s a decent amount of options for each course and they all sound good. So, what do I actually try? What are the options?

I settled on (because decisions can sometimes be so hard to make) the following:

Escargot a la Bourguinonne – this was a la carte item and not part of the restaurant week menu, but so worth it. The dipping of the bread was a definite necessity.

Salade aux chevre – perfect size, perfectly dressed and delicious


Risotto aux asaparges et champignons – a pretty decent size portion ( I took half of it home). The asparagus was cooked perfectly and so many mushrooms.


Creme brulee -perfect sugar crust and perfect custard. Great execution.


The server told me the regular menu was also available if I wanted to order off of there instead. I was surprised by how reasonable the actual prices were. The restaurant week menu basically evened out to being a couple dollars less and free dessert.  Didn’t matter, let’s eat. The food was all delicious. The risotto was a tad on the larger portion size so I ended up taking half of it home with me (still winning).  The bread was awesome and great for dipping into my leftover escargot sauce (would also be perfect for the broth that came with the mussels – just saying).

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