Chicago Restaurant Thread

I thought it made sense to have a catchall thread to post about interesting restaurants in town, whether or not they BYO.

Speaking of…

I was able to snag a reservation to Schwa without any fuss. I asked whether they had a favorite bourbon to bring and the man who answered laughed and said that it wasn’t necessary because they were all trying to cut back.

  1. Do I bring something for the kitchen anyway?
  2. Any ideas on what wines to bring? I have read that two whites (perhaps one with bubbles and one still) might work best, but I’m toying with the idea of bringing a red Burg because Linda isn’t a huge fan of bubbles.

Congratulations on the reservations. One of the things that always bugged me about that place.

We brought something for the kitchen… I think they have a ton of stuff so I would not feel obligated. If there is something unique beer wise… maybe.

Wines - Bubbly definitely. Bring a red and a white so you have flexibility.

BTW - Oriole is the best restaurant in Chicago right now. Absolutely killing it.


So 3 bottles?

As for reservations, I had tried for rezzies ages ago and gave up because I hated the process. I called recently and they picked up on my first try and the gentleman who answered was very pleasant. When I asked about dietary restrictions they were very accommodating. I’ll report back after my dinner.

I’d like to try Elske. Food looks great and it’s $80 for the tasting menu and $45 for a wine pairing. Plus you can offer a la carte, which is nice when you’re limited, like I am.

I agree about Oriole killing right now. We went last fall and were completely blown away. Will be going back when time permits.


Bring 3 if you have to bring one home so be it. That way you are covered. Have not been to Elske yet.


Congrats on Schwa! We took a white and a red - and they served a few things with courses the night we were there so that was a good amount. We took a mini-keg of Bell’s Oberon from Plum Market which was appreciated.

I’ve been out of town so much - and my dir/sil chefs are off in Seattle, soon to be Mammoth Lake - so I’ve been missing all the new spots. Will be following this thread closely. I do continue to enjoy meals at Kitchen and lunch at Bernie’s but need to branch out again.

Schwa is always great. That egg yolk ravioli is arguably the greatest bite of food on earth. Enjoy!

Other great meals I have had recently (I’m not really a tasting menu guy, most the time):

  • Dinner menu at Cellar Door Provisions (byob and pre fixe)
  • table, donkey and stick (tuesdays are the best, “terroir Tuesday”)
  • Roister
  • Bavette’s

So many more!! Great thread idea.

I did Schwa last year and took a bottle for the kitchen as well as bubbles a white and 2 reds. Do not be surprised to see your wine hat you brought being poured for another table. Food is excellent. Atmosphere is contagious. hard not to have fun.

You brought 4 bottles of wine for a party of…?

Was led to believe I should bring stems.

Party of 4…just an average Thursday.

+100 on Oriole. Late Oct, week before Michelin announcement. Not a mis step in the entire menu, excellent wine pairings, flawless service and a hint of magic in the air. Definitely an Experience. One of our top three or four meals ever.

I haven’t been there for a while, but when I was last there it was a good idea to bring stems. Oh, wait, I forgot I already told you that.

I was hoping someone would tell me that they’ve upped their stemware game so I could bring one less thing. Ah well.

The glasses are fine. Unless you a bringing Montrachet you will be good.


I have seen the Schwa team reject craft beer, as they feel it is overhopped.

Things are much different there now. Reservation system is much more reliable, and bringing something for the kitchen does not get me extra courses, as it once did.

Might be making a trip to Chicago sometime in early April, would be helpful if I could get some recommendations on wine shops and wine bars there? Think I’ve got food sorted. Thank you all in advance!

Another recommendation for Cellar Door Provisions on Diversey. $45 pre fixe dinner tasting menu and BYOB no corkage. Decent white-wine-size stems but probably want to byo. Excellent staff and service.

Schwa. OMFG.

Corey - perfect review!

I’ll never go back. It is interesting and very tasty, but the wine service at Schwa was so poor (the worst I’ve ever experienced at a fine dining restaurant) that I just cannot justify returning.

I brought 4 bottles, not intending to go through them all (there were only two of us after all). They whisked the my wine bag, containing the bottles, in the back telling me they’d take care of it. I was asked whether we wanted to start with the White Burgundy or the Pinot – I said White Burgundy (“good choice”) and the Pinot appeared two courses later.

After we had finished the sixth course, a server/cook appeared and said that he was serving us the Champagne we brought because it would go well with the course…that we had just finished. We weren’t asked whether we wanted the wine opened. Nope, it was too late in the meal and it was clear the two of us weren’t going to come close to finishing the two bottles that were already open. So in addition to popping a bottle that shouldn’t have been opened, it was served too late in the meal (after the course had been consumed) and they didn’t refill our glasses, so basically it was a wasted of an expensive bottle. The desert wine was never served and wasn’t in my wine bag when we got home. Basically $150 of wine down the drain.

I get that service isn’t their gig. But if you say you’re going to handle the wine service, a basic level of competence is required. Never again.