Food & Drink

Some African flavor in the South Loop, courtesy of a Bear

Even though Bears defensive end Israel Idonije can clearly work with Peppers, his chef friend (who has Charlie Trotter's and NoMI on his resume) is the one doing the culinary heavy lifting at their restaurant Alain's, an elegant white-tableclother with soaring ceilings, colorful African art from said chef's personal collection, and a chef's table in the kitchen that outside diners can monitor via a flatscreen.The menu, which focuses on classic American eats but gets upticked with African and Euro influences, kicks off with crispy pork belly w/ sweet potato gnocchi, truffled potato soup w/ aged ham, or mac 'n cheese souffle made with both local fromage (Big Ed's) and international selections like Petit Basque, which hopefully doesn't try to separate from the rest of the dish. From there, hit the rabbit loin w/ rutabaga puree & kohlrabi root, roasted Wagyu over eggplant & truffled mashed potatoes, or halibut that's coated in olive puree and slow roasted in a take on a preparation that's highly popular in Cameroon, although not as much as soccer legend Roger Milla and having a remarkably corrupt media and police force.About 60% of the 40-bottle wine list is small-production American pours, while cocktails named after Chicagoland communities include the gin/ St. Germain/ pear Evanston, though Mr. Idonije personally might prefer one dubbed the Bourbon-nais.