Phil Vettel recommends

Mother's Day brunch: Time's a-wasting

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Mother's Day is one of the biggest dining-out days of the year, which to me makes it one of the worst days to actually dine out, because it's a crazy-busy day for restaurants. But if mom wants to dine out, and this is the one day of the year when you absolutely have to let mom do what she wants, then put on a happy face and get with the program. At least some restaurants make a genuine effort to make the day's experience special. Here are some places worth your attention. And if I was somehow unclear before: Mother's Day is popular. Make reservations now. According to an OpenTable survey, 65 percent of moms plan to book their own reservations, which does not reflect well on the rest of us.

Benny's Chop House, 444 N. Wabash Ave., 312-626-2444. Featuring its regular steakhouse menu as well as special entrees and desserts, Benny's also will feature a professional photographer shooting complimentary family photos. Limit one photo per family.

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 25 E. Ohio St. (312-329-9463); 960 Milwaukee Ave., Lincolnshire (847-793-0333). The doors will open early (11:30 a.m.) on Mother's Day at both Fleming's locations, serving a three-course, $34.95 brunch ($16.95 children) until 3 p.m. and its regular menu throughout the day and evening. The mom in the party will receive a $25 dining card good for a future visit.

GT Fish & Oyster, 531 N. Wells St., 312-929-3501. Chef Giuseppe Tentori will feature a three-course prix-fixe menu, $75, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. featuring biscuits with shrimp, bacon and cheddar with maple butter; quiche with asparagus and smoked haddock; king crab benedict, mini lobster rolls and assorted pastries. If you're splurging, a la carte add-ons such as fresh oysters, crab legs and lobster mac and cheese available.

Niche, 14 S. Third St., Geneva, 630-262-1000. The contemporary American restaurant in the western suburbs will feature a three-course menu priced at $40. Dishes include shrimp and grits, English sweet-pea soup, pineapple waffles, hanger steak with potato-bacon salad, blackberry panna cotta and chocolate eclair.

Park Grill, 11 N. Michigan Ave., 312-521-7275. A la carte brunch will be available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mother's Day. Menu items include vanilla French toast ($11), three-cheese omelet ($13), eggs benedict ($13), steak and eggs ($18) and Park Grill burger ($11). Children's brunch items $2-$6.

Prairie Grass Cafe, 601 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, 847-205-4433. Serving brunch and dinner on Mother's Day. Brunch is a $45 (children under 10, $15) buffet with various breakfast items and entrees, including a made-to-order omelet, carved beef and crepe stations. Dinner features regular menu, augmented by specials.

Retro Bistro, 1746 W. Golf Road, Mt. Prospect, 847-439-2424. Late brunch or early dinner? Retro Bistro is serving a three-course, $39 menu with choices in each category (three-course children's menu $15.50), along with a complimentary Kir Royale cocktail for each mom.

Sepia, 123 N. Jefferson St., 312-441-1920. One of just two Sundays when Sepia makes brunch available (see if you can guess the other one), Sepia will serve a prix-fixe menu ($45, $25 ages 12 and under) consisting of assorted breads and pastries, four appetizers served family style, choice of five entrees and dessert assortment. Special brunch cocktails available for $10.

Shaw's Crab House, 21 E. Hubbard St. (312-527-2722); 1900 E. Higgins Road, Schaumburg (847-517-2722). Mother's Day brunch, $48 (children 12 and younger free), runs until 3 p.m.; a la carte dinner through the rest of the evening. All moms will receive a $25 gift certificate good for future visit.

III Forks, 333 E. Benton Place, 312-938-4303. The growing Lakeshore East neighborhood, home to such restaurants as Filini and Aria, also includes an outpost of this Dallas-based, upscale-steakhouse chain. On Mother's Day, III Forks will offer a three-course menu for $44.95, or the regular a la carte menu. Rooftop lounge will be open, weather permitting.

Vie, 4471 Lawn Ave., Western Springs, 708-246-2082. Vie will serve a three-course menu from noon-7 p.m. Cost is $65, $25 ages 12-17; 11 and under pay their age. Dishes include crispy gnocchi with roasted and pickled beets, wood-grilled ribeye with pureed potatoes, pan-roasted duck breast with confit carrots and smashed chickpeas.

Zed 451, 739 N. Clark St., 312-266-6691. Bring mom to this all-you-can-eat brunch, available from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Items include French toast, Fuji-apple salad, maple-bourbon-glazed ham, roast turkey breast, duck confit hash browns, tomato-basil frittata, chicken 'n waffles and much more. Cost is $29, which includes a complimentary mimosa for mom.

pvettel@tribune.com

Twitter @philvettel

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