But Mac's not averse to something more refined, meaning the multicourse, bank-account-busting culinary extravaganza, either. "Trotter's, yeah," he says, referring to Charlie Trotter's, the pioneering new American restaurant that specializes in infinite small dishes with gigantic taste. "The food does not stop and is so great, and the service is so tremendous, and the conversation is so elite," he says. "I'm telling you, man, you are in for a treat."
Sated by steak, we step into midnight seeking action, seeking jazz. Mac's with me now. I can see it in his eyes, big as full moons, as we float through Chicago like characters out of one of those black-and-white movies where the nightclub neon magically blinks 'Welcome' from all sides. Mac used to love to go to Milt Trenier's, a nightclub founded by the famous singer who, along with his three brothers, performed with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. "I used to rent their club out on Tuesday nights and have Bernie Mac's Smooth Jazz and Comedy," he says. "People would get off work, go to the restaurant at 4, wine until 7, and the show started at 7:30. That was one of the greatest times in my life."