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Graham Elliot


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#31 robyn

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 03:34 PM

I have been totally slammed since we got home from Chicago - and my schedule the next couple of weeks doesn't look any better. No time for long reviews. We dined at GE one evening in Chicago - and I think my opinion is pretty much in between UE's and Lenski's. Good dinner - not outstanding. (Note that I am a harsh grader - "outstanding" is usually reserved for meals at the 2 and 3 star Michelin levels.) I'd probably go again next time I'm in Chicago.

One thing that did stand out was the service. I had read some negative reviews about it - but our server - and the service - were terrific. We also had a nice chat with the chef after. The restaurant was pleasantly full on a weekday night (we had a 7:30 reservation and pretty much closed up the place) - but not so crowded that it detracted from the dining experience. As for the loud music that I'd read about - or any other loud noise - I simply didn't notice any (perhaps they were playing mellow "classic rock" that night :smile: ). The dining atmosphere was fine even for an old person like me :wink: .

Guess you have to be a friend of the restaurant to get the Foielipop as an amuse. We didn't. I'm not complaining. Just make sure that if you want it - that you ask for it.

As for price - considering the money we spent taking out family members on this trip (we were in the midwest for a wedding) - and what we spent on my father's catered 90th birthday for 35 last weekend - this will be a mere blip on our AMEX bill this month. Wasn't a cheap meal - but it wasn't that expensive either. OK price-wise for the quality of the meal. Robyn

#32 ulterior epicure

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 05:26 AM

graham elliot gets 2 stars from Phil Vettel.
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#33 MikeHartnett

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 01:25 PM

"You've got some [restaurant raters] that will include you only if you use high-quality silverware, fancy tablecloths—they've got checklists. Well, [I summarily reject] that."

It looks as though Vittel didn't appreciate that comment. Oh well. I found it to be fantastic, and I'm a huge fan of what Chef Bowles is going for. This seems to be one of those cases where you either go for the stripped-down, just for the food approach, or you don't. I do. Phil doesn't.

#34 ulterior epicure

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 01:36 PM

"You've got some [restaurant raters] that will include you only if you use high-quality silverware, fancy tablecloths—they've got checklists. Well, [I summarily reject] that."

It looks as though Vittel didn't appreciate that comment.  Oh well.  I found it to be fantastic, and I'm a huge fan of what Chef Bowles is going for.  This seems to be one of those cases where you either go for the stripped-down, just for the food approach, or you don't.  I do.  Phil doesn't.

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As I replied to a similar line of reasoning on another forum:

Right, as I just said to a friend, expectation often forms 90% of a dining experience take-away.

I don't necessarily think there's a[n inside] "joke" to get. People need to wipe the Bowles slate clean and start anew. For those who don't approach graham elliot like they would any other restaurant of its look and feel, I think the "joke's" on them. While it may seem incredulous to the members on this forum who care enough to be following this thread, people are still showing up at graham elliot dressed to the nines expecting linen and *plush.* I find that sad.


As I had noted in my review (upthread), I think Bowles is at a stage in his career (surprisingly early and young) where he's through with catering to the critics. Although I'd like to think I'm a fairly objective fellow, I'll allow that being a friend of Bowles may have colored my experience/assessment (of course, I don't think that it did).
“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”
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#35 MikeHartnett

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 02:02 PM

I actually responded to the same thread on that other forum...

I have no relationship with Chef Bowles at all, but I've been to both Avenues and Graham Elliot, and I'll eat what he's cooking wherever he's cooking it. His food has repeatedly blown me away, and while I enjoyed the atmosphere at GE, I would look past it if I hadn't.

#36 robyn

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 02:45 PM

It's odd. I am neither young nor "hip" - but I liked the restaurant decor and the ambience. And I saw the place twice - once at dinner when it was dark outside and once earlier in the middle of the day when we were gallery hopping in the neighborhood. I thought the place even looked ok in broad daylight (which is rarely the case in a "darker wood" kind of environment - as opposed to a "white box" like Blackbird). Also - although I appreciate fine crystal - china - etc. (I am not above turning over plates to see the brand if they appeal to me) - I like Ikea too - because it has great style for the price. So I really don't understand where this critic is coming from. When I compare GE to Michael's Genuine in Miami - about the closest comparison I can make in terms of recent dining experiences - well everyone raves about Michael's Genuine but I thought both the food and the atmosphere at GE were about 10 times better. Robyn

#37 ulterior epicure

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 10:33 AM

graham elliot will be rolling out a new autumn-minded menu in two weeks. They'll also be turning over their decor and "theme" to suit the seasonal change.

Hours are being adjusted as well: Monday-Saturday 5pm-10:30pm. The restaurant will close on Sundays.

You can find details of specific dishes to be added/dropped at the ulterior epicure.
“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”
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#38 Lenski

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 12:20 PM

Changing the menu at GEB
Changes

#39 smorris291

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 12:50 PM

From the Crain's article Lenski linked, this sounds more like a fairly big shift in style than just seasonal changes to the menu...taking this more in the direction of fine dining rather than the "bistronomic" idea GEB started out with. UE, since you're pretty tied in here, any insight?

#40 Lenski

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 02:06 PM

From the Crain's article Lenski linked, this sounds more like a fairly big shift in style than just seasonal changes to the menu...taking this more in the direction of fine dining rather than the "bistronomic" idea GEB started out with.  UE, since you're pretty tied in here, any insight?

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I have not been there in a couple of months. I love that place but it seems to be changing. I will try to go on my next trip to Chicago...


PS. I have seen the man many times (both at Avenues and at his new venture) but I have never talked to him.
l

#41 ulterior epicure

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 04:28 AM

From the Crain's article Lenski linked, this sounds more like a fairly big shift in style than just seasonal changes to the menu...taking this more in the direction of fine dining rather than the "bistronomic" idea GEB started out with.  UE, since you're pretty tied in here, any insight?

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I spoke with Elliot the other day about the recent press that he and his restaurant has received.

After three months of getting feedback from our guests (reviews, bloggers, foodies, etc), he knew he needed to make some changes to the restaurant's format. He knew he could do a higher level of food, but wanted to find the right balance between fine dining and casual. He says that he's moved closer to his target: playing more indie music (not hits from the 80's), having servers wear dress shirts with seasonally changing t-shirts underneath (currently orange), adding a reserve wine list, and of course, changing the menu to feature more of the cuisine he's been known for. Since they were planning to change the lighting and decor seasonally (orange, gold, squash, pumpkins, etc. for autumn), he waited to incorporate all of the other changes at once - at the turn of this past season change, thereby launching "GE 2.0." But, he never said that the restaurant "wouldn't survive unless we made a change."

Elliot maintains that he holds true to the principles of Bistronomics and "fine dining redefined," but he admitted that the restaurant is still evolving. If I know Elliot, he'll continually try to make it better, more provocative, and interesting.
“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”
Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

#42 ulterior epicure

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 07:52 PM

Happy anniversary, graham elliot! One year is not a smile milestone in these uncertain times.
“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”
Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

#43 snekse

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 08:55 AM

Ditto, congrats! Looking forward to making our first visit in August. Do you think ChefGEB would resurrect dishes of days past for someone who never got a chance to hit Avenues? Anyone know what days he's usually in the kitchen?
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#44 Nate_the_great

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 09:49 AM

did anyone visit the graham elliot food stand at Lollapalooza? I tried the lobster corn dog with lemon aoli which was amazing but the best part was meeting the man himself who was actually there cooking at his own stand - one of the most down to earth chef's I've ever met!

#45 babern38

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 11:48 AM

I'm sad to admit that last friday I had one of the least pleasurable "fine dining" experiences ever at Graham Elliot. I've had the pleasure of eating chef Bowles' food at Avenues and a few years ago at Graham Elliot, so I was greatly looking forward to my return visit with my family. We did the chef's tasting ~15 courses. Honestly, I can't remember a single stand out dish. If I had to pick a color to describe the overall feel, taste, and color palette used during this meal I'd have to go with beige....or gray. I'm often a positive person and can find some good in most things, but am really struggling here to describe this meal. All the typical ingredients of a large format tasting were there (caviar, foie, wagyu) but simply displayed poorly.

The presentations were all very similar and uninspired. Most were brought out on the same large plate and the course plated on the plate edge/rim leaving a broad, open canvas of white/beige plate. Unique for one or two courses, but not 5-6. Also there was an average of 10-15 minutes between courses. We had explained that we only had about 3.5 hours to eat and were repeatedly told by our waiter that he was pushing the kitchen. In the end the meal took about 4 hours.

One dish, featuring some meat or mushroom on the plates rim was served with heated pine branches on the plate for aroma......all too reminiscent of an alinea dish that was far more impressive given the amount of branches placed before the diner. This just seemed underwhelming and like an uninspired and half hearted attempt.

The carrot cake consisted of a dry, beige cake with a quenelle of ice cream and shaved raw carrots. I remember having a similar dish elsewhere that I really enjoyed due to the combination of flavors and that the carrots had at least been lightly cooked and seasoned with nutmeg and brown sugar. In this dish, the ice cream was the only enjoyable ingredient.

They even managed to make the tenderloin center a muted shade of red. Perhaps it was purposeful that they are attempting to make every dish like the mossy terrariums throughout the restaurant.

I won't belabor the point, but just wanted to share my dissatisfaction and disappointment. At least our wine was comped without any statements by us (or maybe simply forgotten to be billed). I understand restaurants can have an off night, but a friday night with a half full restaurant seems like a strange time for this to happen, but from my impression this was not a one night thing.

#46 JBailey

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 02:33 PM

From what I have read recently, there have been a number of changes of chefs at the restaurant. I also recall reading that maybe Elliot himself was back in the kitchen to cover some of the bumps in the road. Their executive chef Andrew Brochu lett recently and the pastry chef Bryce Caron had wanted consideration to replace him. Then Caron left suddenly.
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#47 Todd in Chicago

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 05:56 PM

From what I have read recently, there have been a number of changes of chefs at the restaurant. I also recall reading that maybe Elliot himself was back in the kitchen to cover some of the bumps in the road. Their executive chef Andrew Brochu lett recently and the pastry chef Bryce Caron had wanted consideration to replace him. Then Caron left suddenly.


Very interesting post. We live about 4 blocks from there and passed by last Saturday and......it didn't look that busy. I thought.....hmmm....that was strange. When we were there before people were standing in line before they even opened the doors!

:-( Sad to hear about that experience, hopefully that was just a "bad night" and not just symbolic of the new "normal".

Todd in Chicago