It's safe to say that there's no spot in Chicago like Barton G. The Restaurant ( 415 N. Dearborn St.; www.bartong.com/restaurants.html ).
Restaurants here have been everything from elegant to bright to laid-back and even artsybut Barton G. ( which Barton G. Weiss has expanded to this Midwestern city from its base in Miami ) brings the showmanship in ways this writer has never experienced.
And that's why Barton G. The Restaurant is: an experience. The decor is whimsical, but a look at the props shelved by the bar indicates that guests are in store for something very different.
Start with the drinks. ( Actually, start with the napkin, which is folded to look like a robe. ) For example, the Diamonds Are Forever ( served on a tray of "diamonds" ) is an intriguing mix of Grey Goose Citron, Cointreau and lemonand it came with a vodka popsicle that you can dip/leave in your drink. My dining partner had the Sabrinatini, which literally comes smokingand had a chocolate monkey ( the animal being a motif of the spot ) hanging from the side of the glass.
And things actually become more theatrical from there. The popcorn shrimp was presented in an actual popcorn machine, the lobster pot pie came in a metallic sculpture and the lobster mac 'n cheese was served in a giant mousetrapcomplete with a piece of ( edible ) cheese. The pork came with a four-foot-tall forkand, last and certainly not least, dessert was the head of "Marie Antoinette," complete with a towering cotton-candy wig.
However, all of this would essentially be for nought if the food were bad. However, the drinks were tasty, the mac 'n cheese was addictive and the pork practically melted in our mouths.
Barton G. can almost be overwhelming, but there are at least two strikes against it. First, as my friend pointed out, the dishes are Instagram-worthyso much so that a thousand cellphone camera flashes can go off at once, making your meal a possibly distracting experience. Second, the drinks are eye-catchingand so are the prices ( $25-$30 each ); however, at least the meals ( most of which cost approximately the same ) can be split between two people.
The restaurant is possibly expanding to at least two other cities: New York and Las Vegas. Given the over-the-top style, the latter ( at least ) is definitely a no-brainer.
Barton G. The Restaurant certainly warrants a visit. After being there, you will certainly say you haven't been to anyplace like it.
Note: Restaurant profiles/events are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.