What the Mirador needed before it opened a year ago in Chicago was a chef who could bring sophistication to comfort, integrity to whimsy. Carol Brandin was the answer. "This is a very casual, informal setting. But I'm very serious about what I'm doing here. The food I'm preparing would work as well in a more formal setting as it does in this bistro," says Brandin. Her style can best be described as French country cooking "with Mediterranean influences." Some items on her ever-changing menu ...

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