Don't shy away from Red Rooster Cafe & Wine Bar because you're scared of the potential snootiness that can accompany a wine bar, and a French one at that. Although it does offer dozens of high-quality wines, Red Rooster qualifies more as a restaurant than a place for beer-haters to delight.
Red Rooster is owner Bernard LeCoq's more reasonably priced answer to Cafe Bernard, his flagship restaurant that shares the same address. It occupies a small, wood-paneled room with drawings of the French countryside that serves as an intimate, candlelit escape from the hustle and bustle of Lincoln Park. Red Rooster also offers some of the exact items that are on Cafe Bernard's menu at slightly cheaper prices (anywhere from 50 cents to $3 less).
And even though it's a French restaurant with a romantic atmosphere, Red Rooster has pleasantly low prices; entrees range between $12-$18. Start off with French favorites like snails in garlic butter or the baked brie en croute. For dinner, try the grilled salmon with cabernet sauvignon sauce or the braised lamb shank, delectably seasoned with thyme and rosemary. Indulge in the chocolate bread pudding, an oh-so-yummy twist on the usual recipe.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Laura Brown