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George Hejna
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#401 Post by George Hejna » July 6th, 2018, 8:31 am

Oriole - last night was spot on.
Best fine dining in the city without a doubt. Service is impeccable. Every bite of food was wonderful. They have a new Loup de Mer dish that was probably as close to perfect as you can get.
Wine list is getting better and better. Did a combination of a purchased white, brought a red and then tried some of the pairings. Notably a wonderful Sake and a W. Burg. Right now the menu is very white focused.

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#402 Post by Nick Gangas » July 6th, 2018, 8:53 am

You're on a tear George. Going to SKY Wednesday.

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#403 Post by Ethan Abraham » July 7th, 2018, 4:51 am

Hello Chicago berserkers. Looking for a rec for a dinner for a Sunday night, must be close to the river north/Navy Pier area. A night out for the two of us during a trip with the kids, so nicer/fancier is great, just can't be a prepay or big cancellation fee as it's always a crapshoot whether we can get the little guy to sleep on time to make it out.

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#404 Post by George Hejna » July 7th, 2018, 7:20 am

Nick Gangas wrote:You're on a tear George. Going to SKY Wednesday.
That came to an abrupt end last night. Had a horrific meal at Gideon Sweet. Food was terrible all the way around. We actually left with food on the table. I had complained nicely about a couple of dishes, nothing was done. Sent one back as it was inedible. Had enough. When we asked for the check with a significant amount of food on the table no one at the restaurant said anything.

George

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#405 Post by George Hejna » July 7th, 2018, 7:22 am

Ethan Abraham wrote:Hello Chicago berserkers. Looking for a rec for a dinner for a Sunday night, must be close to the river north/Navy Pier area. A night out for the two of us during a trip with the kids, so nicer/fancier is great, just can't be a prepay or big cancellation fee as it's always a crapshoot whether we can get the little guy to sleep on time to make it out.
Ethan - there are probably 100+ restaurants with in a 10 min Uber from you. Can you narrow it down a little to cuisine, price etc? I assuming you are looking for a walk up if you don't know if you can actually make a reservation due to your child?

There are tons of great places mentioned in this thread.

George

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#406 Post by Michael Klein » July 9th, 2018, 3:02 pm

Far from 'my type' of dining, but my wife and I finally managed to snag a reservation at the Gallery at Alinea in about a month. I figure we have to go while it's still rockin in my home city. We will be going to the 5:30p seating.

Any recs or thoughts from anyone who has been recently? I am debating wine pairings, honestly. They sent me the wine list at my request. Prices are draw dropping as expected, but the idea of getting a bottle of bubbles and another bottle of red is prob out the window. Yes, I do understand that is ridiculous to say after booking an $800+ reservation for two.

So - here is the real question - do I just pay them the $150 or whatever pp for the pairing, OR just buy a bottle of Krug for $280?

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#407 Post by Paul Miller » July 9th, 2018, 3:12 pm

Michael Klein wrote:Far from 'my type' of dining, but my wife and I finally managed to snag a reservation at the Gallery at Alinea in about a month. I figure we have to go while it's still rockin in my home city. We will be going to the 5:30p seating.

Any recs or thoughts from anyone who has been recently? I am debating wine pairings, honestly. They sent me the wine list at my request. Prices are draw dropping as expected, but the idea of getting a bottle of bubbles and another bottle of red is prob out the window. Yes, I do understand that is ridiculous to say after booking an $800+ reservation for two.

So - here is the real question - do I just pay them the $150 or whatever pp for the pairing, OR just buy a bottle of Krug for $280?
We went in March and did the middle wine pairing. There was nothing outstanding in the lineup, but the wines were pretty good, they paired well, and were decent pours. I never inquired into what would be on the top wine list, but it was simply getting too pricey, and I was afraid the bottom level would be underwhelming. Probably did just what they hoped, but we were pleased enough.

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#408 Post by Clayton Wai-Poi » July 9th, 2018, 3:50 pm

Michael

I have a wine list question for you... will PM.

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#409 Post by Yao C » July 9th, 2018, 3:51 pm

My contrarian opinion after visiting Alinea in April is: I actually don't think the food is wine friendly and would suggest sticking to sparkling water. Not a knock on the food, but it is imo so maximized in every dimension that there is very little that wine can do to enhance it. I had 2005 Pierre Moncuit Cuvee Nicole VV, 2001 Bonneau du Martray CC and a 2009 Pape Clement Blanc and felt that the food kept all three from showing their best
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#410 Post by George Hejna » July 10th, 2018, 6:59 am

Yao - That's a good point. Choose a wine you like to drink vs trying to pair to the food. Champagne is probably your best bet, Riesling also. I am sure if there is a red needed you can grab a glass off the pairing.

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#411 Post by Nick Gangas » July 10th, 2018, 7:27 am

George Hejna wrote:
Nick Gangas wrote:You're on a tear George. Going to SKY Wednesday.
That came to an abrupt end last night. Had a horrific meal at Gideon Sweet. Food was terrible all the way around. We actually left with food on the table. I had complained nicely about a couple of dishes, nothing was done. Sent one back as it was inedible. Had enough. When we asked for the check with a significant amount of food on the table no one at the restaurant said anything.

George
not surprised. Those 2 have closed more restaurants than I've dine at. Must be nice to have rich friends to open places for you.

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#412 Post by Corey N. » July 10th, 2018, 8:37 am

Not a fan of Graham's food. In the past, it always seemed like he was trying to gild the lily with one thing on the plate that was unnecessary/detracted from the rest of the dish.
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#413 Post by Victor Hong » July 10th, 2018, 8:49 am

Corey N. wrote:Not a fan of Graham's food. In the past, it always seemed like he was trying to gild the lily with one thing on the plate that was unnecessary/detracted from the rest of the dish.
That is how to gild the bill. [wow.gif]
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#414 Post by George Hejna » July 10th, 2018, 11:50 am

I thought Yusho was great.

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#415 Post by David K o l i n » July 10th, 2018, 12:06 pm

George Hejna wrote:I thought Yusho was great.

George
Me, too. A-10 as well. Too bad. Thanks for taking one for the team at Gideon Sweet, George
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#416 Post by George Hejna » July 10th, 2018, 2:08 pm

David K o l i n wrote:
George Hejna wrote:I thought Yusho was great.

George
Me, too. A-10 as well. Too bad. Thanks for taking one for the team at Gideon Sweet, George
I don't see how this place makes it another 6 months.

George

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#417 Post by Clayton Wai-Poi » July 10th, 2018, 2:59 pm

I thought Elliot’s output at Avenues was among the best in the city. Graham Elliott started well too but went south with format changes. The Gideon Sweet space has lurched from failure to failure.

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#418 Post by George Hejna » July 10th, 2018, 4:02 pm

Clayton Wai-Poi wrote:I thought Elliot’s output at Avenues was among the best in the city. Graham Elliott started well too but went south with format changes. The Gideon Sweet space has lurched from failure to failure.
I had a good meal at Graham Elliot's when it first opened the second was meh. I ate at Avenue's but I think it was under Duffy.

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#419 Post by Nick Gangas » July 10th, 2018, 8:39 pm

Clayton Wai-Poi wrote:I thought Elliot’s output at Avenues was among the best in the city. Graham Elliott started well too but went south with format changes. The Gideon Sweet space has lurched from failure to failure.
With all due respect, restaurants fail not locations.

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#420 Post by Clayton Wai-Poi » July 10th, 2018, 10:08 pm

Oh. I agree in this case... it’s not the location it’s the run of poorly conceived and executed restaurants from GEB through Gideon Sweet.

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#421 Post by Dan.Gord0n » July 11th, 2018, 6:03 am

Really interesting that Merges has closed his three restaurants all within a short time frame. I enjoyed Yusho and A-10 quite a bit over the years. Seems odd that all of them would "fail" in the same timeframe - I wonder if something more is going on....

Also, unfortunate to hear about Gideon Sweet as I was looking forward to giving it a try.

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#422 Post by Ethan Abraham » July 11th, 2018, 9:21 am

George Hejna wrote:
Ethan Abraham wrote:Hello Chicago berserkers. Looking for a rec for a dinner for a Sunday night, must be close to the river north/Navy Pier area. A night out for the two of us during a trip with the kids, so nicer/fancier is great, just can't be a prepay or big cancellation fee as it's always a crapshoot whether we can get the little guy to sleep on time to make it out.
Ethan - there are probably 100+ restaurants with in a 10 min Uber from you. Can you narrow it down a little to cuisine, price etc? I assuming you are looking for a walk up if you don't know if you can actually make a reservation due to your child?

There are tons of great places mentioned in this thread.

George
Sure
Reservation is fine, just not prepay. Figure there's a 15% chance we have massive issues getting him to sleep in hotel room and just cancel, but otherwise should be able to plan our night. No long tasting menu. Don't care about price...we don't get out much. Something seasonal Italian would be good, or good wine-type place, or if there is some interesting unique that's doing well in Chicago right now (like, eg, korean in nyc these days). Looking at the eater heat map, radio anago sounds interesting...

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#423 Post by George Hejna » July 11th, 2018, 2:05 pm

I would go to S.K.Y. or Elske although the service was off last time I was there (food is great). Formento's has excellent Italian food, I think some of the best in the city and is overlooked. Great wine list. (full disclosure I am friend's with the chef) Sepia, Tobolobampo, Salero are also excellent.

I did not check if these are open on Sundays.

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#424 Post by David K o l i n » July 11th, 2018, 4:03 pm

Sepia is a great choice. Great established wine program as well
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#425 Post by Ethan Abraham » July 11th, 2018, 5:44 pm

Thanks. Sepia sounds up my alley as does elske. Probably get to Frontera for lunch one day with the kids.

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#426 Post by Clayton Wai-Poi » July 11th, 2018, 6:32 pm

I would third Sepia. Maybe not a hot spot these days but always delivers. Elske is a good choice too, can’t remember their reservation policy.

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#427 Post by Russell Greenman » July 17th, 2018, 12:36 pm

Wife and I are visiting Chicago for the first time in a LONG time next week (Wed-Friday). We are hoping to try the best of Chicago that we can get into. Money isn't an object. We are staying at the Waldorf if that changes anything. Recommendations for activities also greatly appreciated!!

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#428 Post by Michael Klein » July 17th, 2018, 1:13 pm

Ate at Band of Bohemia last friday. First time in a while I have left a hyped up place really let down.

By far, the best part of the experience was the space itself. Very cool.

I thought the food was plated beautifully, but that's about where the praise ends. Way, way way too much going on. An edible flower (or 3) on every plate ordered. Way too much fancy technique that did not deliver flavor. Kind of the epitome of over the top 'tweezer food' lacking any soul.

Service was very slow and felt like an out of sync band. Not much else to say there beyond it being very poor.

The beer was the nail in the coffin. Just awful. In a city with so much beer, and on a street with so many breweries, this stood out as the weak point. And, considering the way they push the 'first michelin star brewpub' and beer pairings for every course, it's worth noting how terrible I thought the beer was. The "IPA" had so much star anise and other indian spice that it ruined pretty much the entire second half of my meal.

Inventive for a brewpub, yes. Did it deliver, no. Sometimes I scratch my head at what gets Michelin starred in this city and what does not.

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#429 Post by T Klonoski » July 18th, 2018, 7:17 am

Russell Greenman wrote:Wife and I are visiting Chicago for the first time in a LONG time next week (Wed-Friday). We are hoping to try the best of Chicago that we can get into. Money isn't an object. We are staying at the Waldorf if that changes anything. Recommendations for activities also greatly appreciated!!
Will be tough to get into the top places on such short notice.
But some very good places that should have openings: Sepia, Publican, BLVD, Momotaro, Purple Pig (avoid peak hours), Brindille, Sirena Clandestina
The architectural boat tour has always been enjoyed by my out of town guests.
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#430 Post by David K o l i n » July 18th, 2018, 7:58 am

The Chicago Architecture Foundation boat tour is one of the best thing you can do in the city. Or you can get an all day pass on the water taxi and spend the day on the river for nine bucks
“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” T. Roosevelt

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#431 Post by Keith A k e r s » July 18th, 2018, 8:12 am

Russell Greenman wrote:Wife and I are visiting Chicago for the first time in a LONG time next week (Wed-Friday). We are hoping to try the best of Chicago that we can get into. Money isn't an object. We are staying at the Waldorf if that changes anything. Recommendations for activities also greatly appreciated!!

as noted, getting into a top place on this short of notice will be muy difficult. But, since you're staying at the Waldorf you should absolutely head downstairs to Margeaux.

I would also try to get into SKY in Pilsen ASAP. The past two pages have had nothing but raves. It's getting harder to get a reso already and I would not be shocked if they got a star come November.

Cherry Circle Room should be on your radar as well and is doable on short notice like this.
Last edited by Keith A k e r s on July 18th, 2018, 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#432 Post by Corey N. » July 18th, 2018, 8:15 am

David K o l i n wrote:The Chicago Architecture Foundation boat tour is one of the best thing you can do in the city. Or you can get an all day pass on the water taxi and spend the day on the river for nine bucks
The Art Institute is the single best place in Chicago. The boat tour is also fun. Luckily, it’s a short walk from one to another. Pair it with Millennium Park (next to AIC) and you have a perfect day in the city.
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#433 Post by Russell Greenman » July 18th, 2018, 6:09 pm

So far:

Wednesday - SKY or the Loyalist
Thursday - Art Institute followed by The Publican
Friday - Morning Boat Tour - Airport

Any recos for lunch on Thursday? I have it in my head I want to eat at the publican, but am not sure why. Should we choose something else?

Your suggestions and help are greatly appreciated!

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#434 Post by J. D'Antonio » July 18th, 2018, 8:20 pm

Definitely Cherry Circle Room. Steak au Poivre Sandwich and MV Krug 164er for $30/glass!
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#435 Post by George Hejna » July 19th, 2018, 5:05 pm

Interesting list. Agree with a lot of it. Smyth and Acadia are too low. Don't see Lula Cafe as #3.

At least Gideon Sweet didn't make the list.... :)

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#436 Post by T Klonoski » July 19th, 2018, 6:30 pm

Russell Greenman wrote:So far:

Wednesday - SKY or the Loyalist
Thursday - Art Institute followed by The Publican
Friday - Morning Boat Tour - Airport

Any recos for lunch on Thursday? I have it in my head I want to eat at the publican, but am not sure why. Should we choose something else?
Blackbird does a very good lunch. Same restaurant group as Publican, but a more formal place.
If you are feeling tired after walking around the Art Institute, its restaurant, Terzo Piano, is not bad.
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#437 Post by Jim Brennan » July 19th, 2018, 9:15 pm

Corey N. wrote:
David K o l i n wrote:The Chicago Architecture Foundation boat tour is one of the best thing you can do in the city. Or you can get an all day pass on the water taxi and spend the day on the river for nine bucks
The Art Institute is the single best place in Chicago. The boat tour is also fun. Luckily, it’s a short walk from one to another. Pair it with Millennium Park (next to AIC) and you have a perfect day in the city.
Lots of great art, but the CIA staff and environment for families is awful (or at least it was the time we went a few years back). At the time our kids were 4th & 7th grade and the staff hovered, constantly admonished to keep distance, and followed like the kids were 4 year olds armed with cans of spray paint and intent on running amok. Contrast to the Detroit Institute where they actually trained the staff to proactively engage and educate regarding the artwork.

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#438 Post by Russell Greenman » July 19th, 2018, 10:39 pm

Alinea kitchen table locked and loaded for thursday. Something casual and delicious for Wednesday. What do you all think?

RE: kids; they are not involved on this trip!

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#439 Post by George Hejna » July 20th, 2018, 8:38 am

I would vote for S.K.Y, Elske, Roister, Topolobampo, Leña Brava probably in that order.

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#440 Post by Clayton Wai-Poi » July 20th, 2018, 4:20 pm

I’d put Giant at the top of your list for casual and delicious

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#441 Post by Clayton Wai-Poi » July 20th, 2018, 4:21 pm

Or Avec

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#442 Post by George Hejna » July 20th, 2018, 4:35 pm

Good point on Giant. Hard to get in to though but maybe not on a Wed.

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#443 Post by David K o l i n » July 20th, 2018, 5:32 pm

Or Fat Rice

Or Carnitas Uruapan
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#444 Post by Kelly Flynn » July 23rd, 2018, 8:53 am

Folks, I want to thank you for all the good info on this thread. My wife and I had the opportunity to see some friends this past weekend in Chicago, and were able to take in a bit of the culinary scene. If you will indulge me, here are a few observations:

Acadia -- Call me a glutton, but I am not in the habit of spending hundreds of dollars and leaving a restaurant still hungry. We found the food certainly inventive, and at times quite memorable, but generally both precious and pretentious. Service was attentive but stiff and humorless. (Overly attentive, in fact, since they insisted on pouring the red before the arrival of the meat courses, leaving us with no reds when we wanted them.) On the other hand, there were some real gems, at decent prices, on the voluminous wine list: Hanzell chard; 97 Musar; Soter sparkling rose. These sort of made up for the egregious BYOB policy. Another odd fact is that neither the pairing wines nor the wine menu were available online.

Duck Duck Goat -- Now we're talking. Reminded my wife and me of Red Farm in the West Village NYC. Great flavors, wide range of courses, spice levels that complemented rather than overwhelmed. A reasonable $30 corkage allowed me to bring a 2004 Zind Humbrecht Grand Cru "Brand" VT riesling, which worked with every dish we ordered.

Sepia -- Food was "good", maybe B+. I enjoyed a lamb ragu cavatelli and then a well executed duck breast; however, outside of the somm, who was both friendly and helpful, service was terrible. For instance, our server insisted on holding the wine wine away from our table of six, and then would disappear for 15-20 minutes. Wine list was rather eclectic. Decent white selection, fortunately, for the ladies -- a sharply priced albarino and a white bdx. For the carnivore guys I found a mag of 2001 chinon for $125 that worked pretty nicely.

Though the reviews might seem harsh, overall it was a great weekend (notwithstanding relentless rain) in the Windy City. We plan to return soon, to try some of the other recommendations on this thread.

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#445 Post by Ethan Abraham » July 25th, 2018, 12:39 pm

OK, here's another one. Booked sepia for the date night dinner. For early dinner with kids, volare or coco pazzo? Or any other recs in streeterville?

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#446 Post by George Hejna » July 25th, 2018, 3:05 pm

Ethan Abraham wrote:OK, here's another one. Booked sepia for the date night dinner. For early dinner with kids, volare or coco pazzo? Or any other recs in streeterville?
They are both loud if that is what you are going for... Many better choices IMO. How old are the kids?

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#447 Post by David K o l i n » July 25th, 2018, 3:50 pm

Coco Pazzo is loud? Maybe the cafe. The principal restaurant is heavily draped
For loud and what kids love, Quartino
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#448 Post by Ethan Abraham » July 25th, 2018, 5:00 pm

They are young so somewhat loud is preferable.

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Chicago Restaurant Thread

#449 Post by George Hejna » July 26th, 2018, 6:46 am

David K o l i n wrote:Coco Pazzo is loud? Maybe the cafe. The principal restaurant is heavily draped
For loud and what kids love, Quartino
I have only eaten twice both for business. We had a large table so maybe that was it. I actually thought it closed. newhere

Ate at Quartio once a very long time ago... no clue why. All I can remember is the first thing that the waiter asked is "if anyone has had Italian food" [wow.gif]

I think Formento's is one of the best and most underrated Italian restaurants in the city and would be fine for well behaved kids. Full disclosure I am friends with the Chef.

George

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David K o l i n
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Chicago Restaurant Thread

#450 Post by David K o l i n » July 26th, 2018, 7:08 am

Formentos is a good choice. Not too far from River North. Monteverde is a fine choice, too, if you’re willing to leave the neighborhood
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