Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hurricane Season

Rum cocktails and jambalaya parade into River North


Derrick Rose and Mardi Gras: the two things we're most looking forward to this February.

Hit the French Quarter early at Nouveau Tavern, which is bringing the essential elements of Bourbon Street — authentic Creole cuisine, hurricanes, and moonshine — to Ontario street.

Nah, that doesn't mean gratuitous nudity or long-term kidney damage. This is a more refined Nawlins lounge experience, seating you in supple white leather under LED mood lighting. It's more Cajun cathedral than street fest, as proven by your fancy feast of sambal-slathered bayou wings, Louisiana chicken — cornbread-stuffed half-roasted chicken with chicken Andouille sausage covered in voodoo sauce — and bananas foster bread pudding.
After dinner, and maybe a few glasses of blackberry moonshine spiked with fresh lemon juice and cream soda, let the party come to you. The pink-lit lounge seamlessly transitions into a nightclub with bottle service and low leather booths protected by metal curtains.
Snag the best seat in the house: the (faux) snakeskin semi-circle booth that overlooks the dim cocktail den. Slowly sip a signature hurricane, but be careful, there are three types of rum in that there drink.

See? We told you rum is in.

Nouveau Tavern
358 W. Ontario St. (at Orleans St.), River North
(312) 915-4100

Price: 2 (out of 4)
Noise: 3 (out of 4)
Subway: Brown Line to Chicago
Scene: Catch the early dinner crowd feasting on hard-to-find Southern classics or the late-night club crowd sipping on very potent cocktails.
Best bets: Bayou wings; shrimp and grits; jambalaya
Nearby: Union Sushi + BBQ; Tavernita; Reza's

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