The Chalkboard, a wonderful American bistro in Lincoln Square, proves details matter. It would be simple to say we ate a dinner of tomato soup, mac ‘n’ cheese, steak and whitefish, but that would mean leaving out the critical elements. Chalkboard’s “best in the world” mac ‘n’ cheese is made with the best quality gouda. The tomato soup is actually a tangy bisque served with grilled blue cheese points. (Never in a million years did I think my 11-year-old would love blue cheese, but he kept repeating how it was “peppery and delicious.”)
4343 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
Family owned and operated, The Chalkboard prides itself on a seasonally inspired menu, so diners never know exactly what to expect. In fact, instead of paper menus, an enormous chalkboard lists the evening’s entrees and prices. The server provides the details, such as scallops served over vanilla bean aioli or duck cassoulet made with chorizo.
With such sophisticated offerings, the upscale décor and no children’s menu in sight, I was initially concerned about finding something for my youngest son, but our server assured me they could make a children’s plate with crispy fried chicken, mac n’ cheese and fresh fruit. He also recommended a side of the mac ‘n’ cheese for the table, which was a great call since we all wanted more of that.
By the time dinner was over, we were all stuffed, but couldn’t resist sharing the cookie dough “egg roll” with ice cream. What a wonderful way to finish our evening.
Not inexpensive, but worth the price for meticulously detailed and delicious food, The Chalkboard is a great way to introduce children to fine dining. For an even better deal, take advantage of their family-friendly, “Kids Eat Free,” daily from 4 – 7 p.m.
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