Tired of popping the usual frozen pizza into the oven for dinner? Craving something more from dining out than an order of fries with your burger?
How about diving into a honey mustard tequila Napa cabbage slaw salad, followed by baby back ribs with rich, whiskey baked beans, corn on the cob and a spicy jalapeņo cornbread? What if you could top that off with a dessert of bourbon bread pudding, drizzled with a sweet maple glaze?
Impossible, you say -- think of the cost!
But the meal, from Prairie River Restaurant in Itasca, is just one of many prix fixe menu options at local restaurants during the sixth annual Chicago Restaurant Week 2013, running Friday, Feb. 1, through Sunday, Feb. 10.
Diners can sample a wide variety of multicourse meals at set prices, with menus ranging from $22 for lunches to $33-$44 for dinners.
More than 270 restaurants throughout Chicago and the suburbs will participate, said Meghan Risch of Choose Chicago, the city's sales and marketing organization that oversees the event.
"Chicago Restaurant Week offers locals and visitors the opportunity to explore Chicago's wonderfully diverse epicurean excellence," Risch said. "It's an opportunity to pay tribute to Chicago's masterful chefs, and give diners an opportunity to experience the multitude of flavors in the city, while bringing business to establishments during a typically slower time of year."
Many venues are offering both lunch and dinner menus for Restaurant Week, while some serve dinner-only options.
Eddie Sweeney, executive chef at Catch 35 in Naperville, said his venue offers a lunch menu and a choice of a three- or four-course dinner.
For lunch, Catch 35 diners can choose from a wild Florida shrimp wedge salad, blackened fish tacos, Maine lobster roll, Lake Superior whitefish or beef tenderloin sliders. Soup or salad and a dessert are included for $22 a person.
"The discounted pricing is a nice thing for both our new and regular customers," Sweeney said. "Diners might find a new favorite dish here during Chicago Restaurant Week, and then keep coming back to Catch 35 again and again."
Bill Nevruz, an operating partner for Shaw's Crab House and Tokio Pub, both in Schaumburg, said he saw a "great response" to Chicago Restaurant Week last year. This year, Nevruz said he is happy to have Shaw's taking part in the event as well.
"Guests can come in, order from our specialty menu and learn a bit more about what a certain restaurant is all about," Nevruz said.
Although many of the restaurants have menus for a single diner, Tokio Pub's dinner menu is designed for two, Nevruz said.
"There is usually a lot of sharing of food at Tokio Pub. It's a very social eating environment," Nevruz said. "So our Chicago Restaurant Week dinner menu is designed for two people, and includes two specialty drink cocktails."
Tokio Pub's dinner includes edamame, the Tokio spicy tuna roll, a noodle bowl, a stout brownie and a specialty cocktail.
Paul Muszynski, managing partner at The Capital Grille in Lombard, said Chicago Restaurant Week will allow food lovers to try many of his venue's favorites, including specialty steaks, the citrus glazed salmon or the signature cheeseburger.
"It's a great opportunity to showcase the restaurant," Muszynski said. "And it gives people an incentive to say, 'Why not try something new?'"
For information on Chicago Restaurant Week 2013 and a complete list of participating restaurants, visit eatitupchicago.com.
Suburban restaurants participating in Chicago Restaurant Week 2013
Atwater's -- lunch/dinner
15 S. River Lane, Geneva, (630) 208-7433, herringtoninn.com
Bakersfield -- lunch/dinner
330 E. Ogden Ave., Westmont, (630) 568-3615, bakersfieldrestaurant.com
Basil's Greek Dining -- lunch/dinner
4000 Fox Valley Center Drive, Aurora, (630) 692-1300, basilsgreekdining.com
Bistro Bordeaux -- dinner
618 Church St. Evanston, (847) 424-1483, lebistrobordeaux.com
The Capital Grille -- lunch/dinner
87 Yorktown Center, Lombard, (847) 671-8125, thecapitalgrille.com
Catch 35 -- lunch/dinner
35 S. Washington St., Naperville, (630) 717-3500, catch35.com
Carlucci -- lunch/dinner
6111 N. River Road, Rosemont, (847) 518-0990, carluccirosemont.com
Chicago Prime Steakhouse -- dinner
1444 E. Algonquin Road, Schaumburg, (847) 969-9900, chicagoprimesteakhouse.com
Courtright's Restaurant -- dinner
8989 Archer Ave., Willow Springs, (708) 839-8000, courtright.com
Fresco 21 -- lunch/dinner
5300 N. River Road, Rosemont, (847) 447-4275, fresco21.com
Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse -- lunch/dinner
10233 W. Higgins Road, Rosemont, (847) 699-1200, harrycarays.com
Mon Ami Gabi Oak Brook -- lunch/dinner
260 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, (630) 472-1900, monamigabi.com
Morton's The Steakhouse -- dinner
• 699 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, (847) 205-5711
• 9525 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Rosemont, (847) 678-5155
• 1470 McConnor Pkwy., Schaumburg, (847) 413-8771
Oceanique -- dinner
505 Main St., Evanston, (847) 864-3435, oceanique.com
Prairie River Restaurant at Eaglewood Resort and Spa -- dinner
1401 Nordic Road, Itasca, (630) 694-5942, eaglewoodresort.com
Quince Restaurant -- dinner
1625 Hinman Ave., Evanston, (847) 570-8400, quincerestaurant.net
Rosebud Italian Specialties & Pizzeria -- lunch/dinner
22 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville, (630) 548-9800, rosebudrestaurants.com
Ruth's Chris Steak House -- dinner
• 933 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, (847) 498-6889
• 100 W. Higgins Road, South Barrington, (847) 551-3730
Sam and Harry's Steakhouse -- lunch/dinner
1551 N. Thoreau Drive, Schaumburg, (847) 303-4050, samandharrys.com
Shaw's Crab House -- lunch/dinner
1900 E. Higgins Road, Schaumburg, (847) 517-2722, shawscrabhouse.com
Tokio Pub -- lunch/dinner
1900 E. Higgins Road, Schaumburg, (847) 278-5181, tokiopub.com
Vie Restaurant -- dinner
4471 Lawn Ave., Western Springs, (708) 246-2082, vierestaurant.com
Wildfire -- lunch/dinner
• 1300 Patriot Blvd., Glenview, (847) 657-6363
• 235 Parkway Drive, Lincolnshire, (847) 279-7900
• 232 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, (630) 586-9000
• 1250 E. Higgins Road, Schaumburg, (847) 995-0100
Zapatista -- Cuisines of Mexico -- lunch/dinner
992 Willow Road, Northbrook, (847) 559-0939, zapitistarestaurant.com
Even more deals
ChicagoOriginals, a group of independent restaurants in Chicago and the suburbs, began hosting their own ChicagoOriginals Restaurant Week event that began Thursday and runs through Sunday, Feb. 3.
ChicagoOriginals venues will offer diners a choice of a two-, three- or four-course specialty menu for $29.13.
Find a list of member restaurants and menus at chicagooriginals.com.