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Joe Chanley
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#351 Post by Joe Chanley » June 2nd, 2018, 6:31 am

Thanks Clayton. I actually have a res at momotaro tonight.

Ate at Cherry Curcle Room last night and had a really solid experience. Had some mussels, steak tartare and fresh focaccia before a 55 day dry aged ribeye. To the point earlier in this thread, if I can go to a place like this for superior service, selection of food and wine list and still enjoy a killer steak, I’ll choose that option any day over a traditional steakhouse.

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#352 Post by George Hejna » June 2nd, 2018, 8:13 am

I think Cherry Circle Room doesn't get the publicity it deserves. Like you said a great experience and very consistent.

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#353 Post by Jim Brennan » June 2nd, 2018, 8:28 am

George, what are your thoughts on Ostaria Bigolaro, out in our neck of the woods?

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#354 Post by Keith A k e r s » June 2nd, 2018, 10:20 am

George Hejna wrote:I think Cherry Circle Room doesn't get the publicity it deserves. Like you said a great experience and very consistent.

George

shhhhhhhhhhhhh. Andrew's riesling list is amazing in of itself along with a deep selection of many other things.


Joe, I'm glad you enjoyed CCR. TBH, traditional steak houses are pretty meh for me. RPM Steak is one of the precious few I would actually take anytime to bother with. I just don't understand why people come to Chicago and focus on steakhouses in general (not saying you did) when there is a ton here that is pretty damned awesome IMO.

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#355 Post by George Hejna » June 2nd, 2018, 3:25 pm

Jim Brennan wrote:George, what are your thoughts on Ostaria Bigolaro, out in our neck of the woods?
Have never been. I like Bien Trucha and Preservation Wine and Bread. Niche is not bad either. Gaetano's in Batavia has good Italian.

None of these are restaurants I would specifically travel out here for... just to be clear. [wow.gif]

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#356 Post by Jim Brennan » June 3rd, 2018, 5:19 am

I'm sure your standards are higher than mine, but Osteria Bigolaro is worth a visit since you're local. I also like Isaaco's up in St Chas

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#357 Post by gregolson » June 4th, 2018, 8:53 am

I prefer the pastas at Osteria Bigolaro to dining at Gaetano's. Bien Trucha is one of my favs locally, but I also like the food at Altiro's in Geneva. However, not a fan of the service at either place -- too crowded and too rushed.

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#358 Post by Michael Klein » June 4th, 2018, 9:53 am

couple weeks late, but had to sing praises for Daisies in Logan Sq. On the hip "fresh midwest pastas" trend. Really great food. Veggie and pasta forward, but not vegetarian. Awesome US and cali focused wine list with $15 corkage to boot. Amazing patio.

Highly recommended!

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#359 Post by Clayton Wai-Poi » June 5th, 2018, 6:41 am

Has anyone tried both the Gallery and Salon at Alinea 2.0? How does the experience and food compare? What about he kitchen table?

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#360 Post by Joe Chanley » June 5th, 2018, 6:51 am

Keith A k e r s wrote:
George Hejna wrote:I think Cherry Circle Room doesn't get the publicity it deserves. Like you said a great experience and very consistent.

George

shhhhhhhhhhhhh. Andrew's riesling list is amazing in of itself along with a deep selection of many other things.


Joe, I'm glad you enjoyed CCR. TBH, traditional steak houses are pretty meh for me. RPM Steak is one of the precious few I would actually take anytime to bother with. I just don't understand why people come to Chicago and focus on steakhouses in general (not saying you did) when there is a ton here that is pretty damned awesome IMO.
Yep, I just felt like a steak that night but could've been content with several options on that menu.

Agree on the steakhouses generally, particularly when it comes to menu creativity and wine options.

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#361 Post by Jim Brennan » June 5th, 2018, 2:46 pm

gregolson wrote:I prefer the pastas at Osteria Bigolaro to dining at Gaetano's. Bien Trucha is one of my favs locally, but I also like the food at Altiro's in Geneva. However, not a fan of the service at either place -- too crowded and too rushed.
Greg,

Agree that the food is good at Bien and Altiro, but also agree that there's no real dining experience to be had. Not in love with the upscale Mex experience as a result... Prefer to go to El Molcajete.

Enjoy both Gaetanos and Osteria, B, but if I had to pick one, i had to say that I love the simplicity of what they do at Bigolaro.

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#362 Post by George Hejna » June 7th, 2018, 6:27 am

Both of my boys have worked at Gaetano's as bus boys and I am friends with him. So I am sure there is some (a lot) of bias for me there. I will say that the Batavia restaurant has changed as he is not really directly involved. He is running the Forest Park one.

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#363 Post by Jim Brennan » June 7th, 2018, 3:51 pm

We enjoy Gaetanos a ton as well.

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#364 Post by Clayton Wai-Poi » June 10th, 2018, 10:22 am

George Hejna wrote:
Clayton Wai-Poi wrote:
George Hejna wrote:Absolutely terrible menu at Elizabeth last night. Have eaten her food many times. This was across the board bad.

George
That’s concerning, I’ve enjoyed it in the past, and have reservations to the noma menu.

Was Iliana in the kitchen?

I do think their format/approach these days comes across as a bit unfocused/random.
This was the Noma menu, She was not in the kitchen on a Saturday night........ 1-2 courses were good the others not. According to the woman running the kitchen there was no direct collaboration with Noma. Iliana ran in to René in Tulum Mexico and the idea came from that... Couldn't get much more out of her. Didn't really care at that point,. Make sure to bring wine. List is not serviceable (for me)

I hope your experience is better than mine. I have had some really excellent meals there off the "regular" menu. I would avoid any themed menu in the future.

George
Went to the Noma menu at Elizabeth last night. Overall it was quite good, although certainly not up to the namesake and poor value compared to the tariff.

The food on the whole was good (note Iliana was in the Kitchen), and some of the preparations seemed very similar to my distant memory of Noma (went 10 years ago when they were preparing food similar to the cookbook Elizabeth is following). Also note, the pork dish was not on the menu - oxtail was instead, although i think the oxtail was a bit dry and tough. The lobster seemed quite fine but the method (presumably sous vide) let a slightly odd texture. A couple of dishes could have benefited from more flavor. There was a clear and large gap between Elizabeth and Noma on on the quality of the ingredients (not that the quality was poor at Elizabeth but is stupendous at Noma) perhaps reflecting what Denmark and surrounds offer this sort of food, versus what Illinois and surrounds does.

The wine pairings were well done, thoughtful, interesting and in most cases a good match with the dish. Fairly poor value at $135 for small pours - high mark up there. Also the cost of the menu seemed poor value to me.

I much preferred my prior experience at Elizabeth when they were doing their own thing, and it seemed to come more from their heart. Also the pricing was much better (and fairer) relative to the food, environment etc. There current approach to all the theme menus leaves me cold, i really wish they would focus on refining the craft the originally started with, keeping some of their signature dishes and then adding new ones over time. But maybe that doesn't work to keep people coming in.

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#365 Post by Alan Eden » June 10th, 2018, 1:42 pm

Is it possible to eat at the high end places like Oriole, Alinea etc as a single diner ?
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#366 Post by Clayton Wai-Poi » June 10th, 2018, 1:48 pm

Alinea has one table for one per night. I can’t quite recall how you back ok it but it’s on their website.

Not sure on oriole.

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#367 Post by Alan Eden » June 10th, 2018, 1:51 pm

If you were picking best in Chicago right now with wine pairing being of equal importance is there a better choice than Oriole with reserve pairing ?
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#368 Post by George Hejna » June 10th, 2018, 3:38 pm

I do not like wine parings. I would pick Oriole over Alinea for the food everyday. Going back to Oriole in a couple of weeks. Aaron McManus is the Som at Oriole and he is great. Slowly building up the bottle list.

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#369 Post by Alan Eden » June 10th, 2018, 8:08 pm

Is the full Oriole list online anywhere ?

If i go alone it would be hard to buy bottles to match the courses
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#370 Post by J. D'Antonio » June 11th, 2018, 5:18 am

Alan Eden wrote:Is the full Oriole list online anywhere ?

If i go alone it would be hard to buy bottles to match the courses
Order a bottle of Champagne/sparkling and then ask for a glass of red with meat courses. Looking at the current Oriole menu, I think that would work just fine. You're only looking for red with the waygu and squab courses. Even then, you may want Champagne with the waygu to cleanse your palate!

Whenever I'm doing a tasting menu solo, that's usually my MO, and it's exactly what I'll be doing at Smyth in a few weeks.
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#371 Post by Alan Eden » June 11th, 2018, 7:45 am

But ordering a Champagne would be more expensive than the reserve wine pairings, i would order a bottle of Krug NV or similar which im guessing would run $450 at least
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#372 Post by Michael Bowden » June 11th, 2018, 8:19 am

Alan Eden wrote:But ordering a Champagne would be more expensive than the reserve wine pairings, i would order a bottle of Krug NV or similar which im guessing would run $450 at least
Krug 1/2's are $140 each...so, worst case is $280.

Wine list is here (unsure how updated these are) https://static1.squarespace.com/static/ ... Oriole.pdf
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#373 Post by John Davis » June 11th, 2018, 12:45 pm

Alan Eden wrote:If you were picking best in Chicago right now with wine pairing being of equal importance is there a better choice than Oriole with reserve pairing ?
Not to me. Generally don’t do pairings but they did very good job our last time there.

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#374 Post by J. D'Antonio » June 11th, 2018, 1:15 pm

Alan Eden wrote:But ordering a Champagne would be more expensive than the reserve wine pairings, i would order a bottle of Krug NV or similar which im guessing would run $450 at least
I'd rather spend a little more on a bottle compared to the pairings and get better wine. If you get two halves of Krug and a glass of red for $300-325, I don't think that's a bad deal. You're already paying $195 for dinner and are in for at least $250 with the reserve pairings, so what's another $50-75 at that point?
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#375 Post by George Hejna » June 11th, 2018, 4:13 pm

I am sure if you can buy nice wines off the list and engage Aaron if you wanted a glass or 2 off the pairing there would be no issue and maybe even no charge or a very minimal one. Last time I was there we ordered 2 bottles of the list a white and red. He had a couple of very unique pairings that I tried for fun.

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#376 Post by Michael Klein » June 12th, 2018, 3:42 pm

Highly recommend SKY. Service, glassware, the space...all top notch.

Food was excellent. Fois gras bibimbap may be my favorite dish of all time.

Oh yea, no corkage Wednesday or Sunday.

Would not be surprised to see a Michelin star in the near future.

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#377 Post by Keith A k e r s » June 13th, 2018, 9:54 pm

Michael Klein wrote:
Would not be surprised to see a Michelin star in the near future.
Fully agree! And if it happened I’d be filled with a ton of happiness for Charles and Stephen.

I’ve been nothing but blown away each time I’ve been. I’ve also noticed that they are insanely packed most nights of the week now. I think they will only get stronger too.

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#378 Post by TimF » June 14th, 2018, 7:55 am

Michael Klein wrote:Fois gras bibimbap may be my favorite dish of all time.
This sounds intriguing but I'm at a loss thinking of a wine pairing. Any recommendations?
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#379 Post by Corey N. » June 14th, 2018, 8:02 am

TimF wrote:
Michael Klein wrote:Fois gras bibimbap may be my favorite dish of all time.
This sounds intriguing but I'm at a loss thinking of a wine pairing. Any recommendations?
For whatever reason, my first thought was Beaujolais.
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#380 Post by TimF » June 14th, 2018, 8:04 am

Corey N. wrote:
TimF wrote:
Michael Klein wrote:Fois gras bibimbap may be my favorite dish of all time.
This sounds intriguing but I'm at a loss thinking of a wine pairing. Any recommendations?
For whatever reason, my first thought was Beaujolais.
"The whitest red".
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#381 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » June 14th, 2018, 8:27 am

Alan Eden wrote:But ordering a Champagne would be more expensive than the reserve wine pairings, i would order a bottle of Krug NV or similar which im guessing would run $450 at least
2004 dp is 325; so that’d also be an option.

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#382 Post by Gregg Kitzis » June 14th, 2018, 4:21 pm

Was there yesterday and last Wednesday. Charles, Stephen and the crew are on fire. So much fun! Creative, delicious and relaxed.

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#383 Post by Keith A k e r s » June 14th, 2018, 5:42 pm

TimF wrote:
Michael Klein wrote:Fois gras bibimbap may be my favorite dish of all time.
This sounds intriguing but I'm at a loss thinking of a wine pairing. Any recommendations?

Given how much Charles loves Alsace, doing an Alsace Riesling or Pinot Gris would likely kill with it

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#384 Post by George Hejna » June 22nd, 2018, 7:09 am

Another really amazing meal at Smyth last night. We did the largest menu and every course was great, no misses. The last savory course was lamb and it sort of came in Gyro form (roughly).... I can still taste it. Absolutely perfect. Squab done to perfection and a Fava bean dish with guinea fowl stock IIRC that was to die for. Corkage friendly brought a couple of Red Burgs ordered a champagne off the list and was poured another white BTG.

I think this is going to push Oriole for my favorite restaurant in the city. Heading to Oriole in a couple of weeks so will be able to compare more directly.

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#385 Post by J. D'Antonio » June 22nd, 2018, 7:17 am

Thanks for the comments about Smyth, George. I have a reservation there in a couple weeks and will also be doing the largest menu. I'm really looking forward to it!

I didn't know that they offered BYO, however. What's corkage?
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#386 Post by Michael Bowden » June 22nd, 2018, 7:28 am

J. D'Antonio wrote: I didn't know that they offered BYO, however. What's corkage?
We were not charged a corkage but we also, as George said, ordered a bottle off the list and shared both bottles we opened (a fair amount of the 2nd).

Lovely meal and they were touting an upcoming menu featuring a lot of tomatoes.

I will note that service on our BYO'ed bottles wasn't great in relation to initial service. They basically just poured them (no taste/approval pour). So, not sure if bad service or if it was a well, they are yours so...if there is an issue it's your issue.
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#387 Post by J. D'Antonio » June 22nd, 2018, 8:13 am

Thank you. Since I'll be dining solo, my initial plan was to order a bottle of Champagne off the list and get a glass of red from their reserve pairings to go with the red meat course. Sounds like I should stick to that plan. I've been eyeing the 2009 Camille Saves they've got on their list ...
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#388 Post by George Hejna » June 22nd, 2018, 11:10 am

Not sure what menu you purchased but the large menu had 4 definite red wine courses so you may need more than a glass.

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#389 Post by J. D'Antonio » June 23rd, 2018, 6:54 am

Thanks George. I purchased the large menu. I'm okay with more than one glass of red ... it's not like I'm driving or anything to that effect.
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#390 Post by Nick Gangas » June 23rd, 2018, 1:15 pm

We did the James Beard dinner there with Single Thread and Willow Inn. Smyth's courses definitely held their own. I've never had a bad meal there. We also like the relaxed atmosphere and friendly service.

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#391 Post by George Hejna » June 23rd, 2018, 4:46 pm

J. D'Antonio wrote:Thanks George. I purchased the large menu. I'm okay with more than one glass of red ... it's not like I'm driving or anything to that effect.
Prepare yourself to have some amazing food. Wine service is a bit week per Michael's comment above. We found out today that the Som who I really liked was replaced (not per his choice). Michael is dining with him tonight so we will see how he does at his new place.


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#392 Post by J. D'Antonio » June 24th, 2018, 6:43 am

I'm really looking forward to it. Disappointing to hear about the somm, though.

I also tried to get a booking at Oriole for this trip, but they didn't have anything available. Next time!
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#393 Post by George Hejna » June 24th, 2018, 7:11 am

Oriole is really tough. Did you try calling? If you are planning another trip try calling outside the Open Table booking window. They can sometimes help if you book early enough.

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#394 Post by J. D'Antonio » June 25th, 2018, 4:32 am

No, I didn't. I would have called, but then I got the table at Smyth. I will give that a shot next time. Also heading to Blackbird, as it's been a long time since I've eaten there and I've never had the tasting menu.
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#395 Post by Paul Miller » June 25th, 2018, 1:44 pm

Anyone know what going to become of Balena or the restaurant space? I know that there was a fire there several months ago, but progress on that space seems to be slow.

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#396 Post by George Hejna » June 25th, 2018, 2:35 pm

J. D'Antonio wrote:No, I didn't. I would have called, but then I got the table at Smyth. I will give that a shot next time. Also heading to Blackbird, as it's been a long time since I've eaten there and I've never had the tasting menu.
Blackbird co-founder just died.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/ct ... story.html

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#397 Post by J. D'Antonio » June 25th, 2018, 5:07 pm

Very sad to hear.
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#398 Post by Matt Fleming » July 1st, 2018, 8:55 pm

Michael Klein wrote:Highly recommend SKY. Service, glassware, the space...all top notch.

Food was excellent. Fois gras bibimbap may be my favorite dish of all time.

Oh yea, no corkage Wednesday or Sunday.

Would not be surprised to see a Michelin star in the near future.
I finally had the chance to eat at SKY and can second Michael's post: excellent all the way around.

Food is as advertised.

Wine: small but interesting list, enormous pours by the glass, excellent glassware. No surprise that Charles has the staff well-trained in handling BYO bottles.

the room: easy going atmosphere, pleasant surroundings, not too loud even when the room is full. Lots of wine on the tables and everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves.

easy recommendation.

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#399 Post by Michael Klein » July 5th, 2018, 11:36 am

Had a great time the other night at table donkey and stick for the Pet Nat patio party. Great wines @ $7 a glass. Place was packed by 7p.

Food was very good, as usual. Ill always say i think its a bit expensive for smallish portions, but the food was on point. Hard to complain. Matt is a great guy and supporting his biz always feels good.

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#400 Post by George Hejna » July 5th, 2018, 3:06 pm

Ate at S.K.Y. last night. Great room, great food, great service. No corkage on Wed. Three of us ate really well for $140. The Bibimbap was outstanding. I love the way the chef uses heat (spice)

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