When the Clarmont first started searing its premium proteins, it was the rare example of fine, white-tablecloth-style dining on the South Side.

First meal served: 1947

Down Memory Lane: When the Clarmont first started searing its premiumproteins, it was the rare example of fine, white-tablecloth-style dining on the South Side. The restaurant's popularity and success became part of a sort of "Clarmont complex" which included a nearby hotel (where Jodie Foster would later shoot scenes for her movie "Little Man Tate") and the now-closed,notoriously rowdy Round Bar.

One Clarmont owner, Barry Zacks, became famous for originating the Max & Erma's chain. Today's chief, Thom Coffman, continues to maintain the high standards that have made this place an upscalestaple for63 good-eating years.

Between the aisles: Downtown movers and shakers still order power breakfasts from a veteran waitstaff inside the place's currently sedate brown-and-beige-toned rooms. During weekend evenings, don't be surprised to walk in and hear -as I did recently- a talented pianoman playing theperfect tune, "As Time Goes By."

On the plate: Lately my favorite is the outstanding rack of lambwith a luscious, meaty and winey sauce. But there's also high-grade pork and steak (often with rich accents like bacon, blue cheeses and terrific sauces); seriously humongous specimens ofshrimp cocktail; excellent pan-fried perch and walleye; goodliver and onions;and sides like sensational sauteed spinach and actually interesting green beans. Oh yeah, and lots of potatoes - try the black pepper fries.