Michael Muser of Chicago’s Grace is one of Food & Wine’s amazing 2014 Sommeliers of the Year. Here are his top 10 places for wine in his city.
1. Perman Wine Selections
This is, without question, my favorite wine shop. When a Chicago guy who buys wine for a living wants to see something new, he goes to see Craig Perman. His entire shop is filled with interesting, provocative and exploratory choices. 802 W. Washington Blvd.; 312-666-4417; permanwine.com.
2. Telegraph Restaurant and Wine Bar
I think wine director Jeremy Quinn is a genius. I’m always excited to go to Telegraph and see what he’s doing. His by-the-glass selection is always on point and his prices are never over the top. 2601 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-292-9463; telegraphchicago.com.
There are a few of these in Chicago, but during the summer, I like to go to the location on Lake Street to pick up a decent bottle of Bourgogne Blanc, some stinky French cheese and a baguette, and head to Grant Park for Movies in the Parks. 53 E. Lake St.; 312-658-1250; pastoralartisan.com.
4. Sun Wah BBQ
I love to grab a great group of friends and myriad sweet and dry Rieslings, and eat duck here until we can’t move. 5039 N. Broadway St.; 773-769;1254; sunwahbbq.com.
5. Iwan Ries Cigar Lounge
One of my favorite activities is to get a bottle of Lustau Don Nuño Dry Oloroso sherry and a cigar, preferably a Padrón Anniversario 1926, and head here for post-service decompression. 19 S. Wabash Ave.; 312-372-1306; iwanries.com.
Because I spend so much time in a fine-dining restaurant, I usually like to go lowbrow when I go out to eat. But when I want to go big, I go to Brindille. Chef Carrie Nahabedian is such a huge culinary talent, and her food has such a strong foundation. I also love the Champagne program here, which is dominated by grower Champagnes. 534 N. Clark St.; 312-595-1616; brindille-chicago.com.
7. Pierrot Gourmet at the Peninsula Hotel This place has a great rotisserie chicken, one of the best patios in Chicago, and they’re pouring by-the-glass Coquelet Chiroubles. I love hanging out and people-watching here. 108 E. Superior St.; 312-337-2888; peninsula.com.
I love to go Coalfire for a bottle of Chianti Riserva and a Margherita pizza. 1321 W. Grand Ave.; 312-226-2625; coalfirechicago.com.
Every once in a while—when it’s 20-below in the dead of winter—the best remedy is a fat, overly saturated bottle of Argentinean Malbec and a 24-ounce dry-aged New York strip and a ripping-hot baked potato. 1050 N. State St.; 312-266-4820; mortons.com/statestreet.
This one’s kind of random, but I do believe one of the best mojitos in the country is made here, by my buddy Noe. 412 N. Clark St.; 312-644-1900; havanachicago.com.