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babern38

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Everything posted by babern38

  1. I remember enjoying the Tasting Room at Randolph Wine Cellars on a visit to Chicago awhile ago. Great selection for wine and cheese flights. Great, by the glass list.
  2. babern38

    Chicago's foie gras list.

    I was just looking for a an update regarding the foie gras ban in chicago. I thought there had been rumors about a reversal of the ban a while ago, but have not heard anthing. Are people still fighting the good fight to bring back foie?
  3. babern38

    Kevin - Chicago

    while walking around waiting for our reservation at Topolobampo I walked by Kevin Restaurant. I had never heard of this place before, but it looked great. It was a beautiful restaurant with french doors that opened to the street. It was a wednesday night, but the place looked completely empty at 7pm. Not much is discussed on this thread and I wonder why. I'm looking forward to my next trip to chicago because I think this place may be worth a try. It could be a great find.
  4. babern38

    David Burke Primehouse

    Honestly, I would consider lunch at primehouse instead of dinner. I was there on the weekend when they only serve brunch which doesn't offer their steaks so I wanted to go back for dinner. However, I do think you can get a steak for lunch during the week. Also, they offer all of their interesting and tasty appetizers on the lunch menu. I'd save your dinner for somewhere else and try some of the interesting things Primehouse has for lunch. Their 3-course prix-fixe doesn't sound too bad. http://www.brguestrestaurants.com/restaura...ehouse/menu.php
  5. babern38

    Osteria Via Stato - Chicago

    we found it pretty reasonable. The family dinner is $39 per person. I don't remember exactly how much the wine pairings were. There are three different levels, but I think the first level starts somewhere between $17-25. Given the amount and quality of food for two people a price of around $120 was very reasonable.
  6. babern38

    David Burke Primehouse

    I went to Primehouse with my mother this last Tuesday for my first dinner there. I had been twice for brunch in the past, but was looking forward to trying their steaks I've read so much about. First off, I really enjoy the look of the restaurant and I was surprised in the difference in atmosphere from daytime to night. We were not extremely hungry so we skipped appetizers. Besides, i had experienced the surf and turf dumplings (good, but a little chewy) and lobster bisque (very nice, but needed more lobster) in the past. I did have the ceasar prepared tableside which was done very well. For steak we both had the reserve cuts of 40-day dry aged ribeye. My mom ordered medium-rare and I ordered medium. We also ordered a side of mushrooms and hash browns. We found the stakes to be done to their respective temperatures and tasty unlike I've read comments about. While I'm not that knowledgeable in the differences between dry-aging etc. I found my ribeye to be very juicy and tender for a Ribeye. The only put-off was that there was a lot of fat around the bone and meat that required some dissection. While fat does offer flavor, I would have preferred a bit more trimming in the kitchen. The mushrooms were excellent. The hash brown were okay, but could have used a little more salt, pepper, or something else for flavor. For dessert we ordered the fill your own donut holes and the lollipop tree. While neither dissapointed the cheesecake lollipops were the clear winnder. They were served with a little pan of raspberry cream. The donut holes were good, but I found the three injectable fillings of (banana, chocolate, apple butter) were not that strong with flavor and did not add that much to the donuts. And trust me, I tried to squirt a ton of filling into them. All in all a decent meal but probably a little pricey for what we got. I still think I prefer Ruth's Chris (which is also cheaper). although some of you might find this blasphemy. I've never dined at David Burke's other restaurants (like in New York), but I think I've had my fill of primehouse for a good while.
  7. babern38

    TRU - Chicago

    My wife and I went to Tru for our one year anniversary. This was our mcuh anticipated second visit. First I will transcribe the menu with a few notes and follow by some comments and observations. Its been awhile and I din't take notes so comments will be brief 1. Amuse - Buffalo mozzarella dumpling with green olive emulsion & black olive powder - a wonderful amuse. got us warmed up as its supposed to do 2. Zucchini pea Gelee, crunchy zucchini, Orange, ginger, spring vegetable cream Lieb cellars Blanc de Pinot Blanc North Fork of long island 2002 - okay. Very well done, but nothing too wowing 3. Selection of sashimi Grade fish, complementary garnishes for me King Oster mushroom, white asparagus, ramps for my wife Emilio Bulfon Cividin Friuli 2005 - nice selection of sashimi. My wifes dish was also tasty 4. Roasted with asparagus, shallots, parmesan Knoll Gruner Veltliner Federspiel Ried Kreutles Wachau 2005 - more asparagus. Okay for a salad course, but not too inventive. still nice however 5. Rabbit Consomme, Morels, Pea & lavender Emulsion for me Green Garlic soup, chive, garlic pave for my wife Barbeito Sercial Madiera 1978 for me Chinon Blanc Les Chiens-Chiens Domaine de la Noblaie 2005 for my wife - While both of these dishes were good, the rabbit was the best. I was surprised by the rabbit loin matching so well with the lightl flavored pea and lavender emulsion. the only put-off about this dish to me was the wine pairing. I thought this was the only slip-up with pairings of the night. The madeira was far too potent and heavy for such a delicate dish. Great on their own, but not together. 6. Whipped salt cod, creamy potato, smoked gelee, caviar for me Creamy celery root and romaine, cocoa gelee, raspberry, meyer lemon for wife Chassagne-Montrachet Clos St. Jean Guy Amiot 2002 for me Lewis Cellars Vin Gris of Syrah Napa valley 2006 for my wife - the salted cod was by far the best dish for me of the night. If the kitchen had said "we refuse to do the tasting menu for you, but here, try this" I might have complied happily. My wife ate all of her dish, but didn't really make any comments one way or the other. I must say it was a very nice presentation 7. Tagliolini, peeky toe crap, Uni for me Spinach, ricotta gnocchi, goat cheese, zucchini pistou for wife Kamoizumi komekome specialty sake for me Sancerre Domaine Vacheron 2005 for wife - I really enjoyed this dish, especially because of the pairing with sake. I just wish there had been a bit more because it took me a while to really understand the complexity of the flavors, but by then the 3 bites were all gone. 8. Scottish King Salmon, Red wine Boullion, white bean Greenhough Pinot Noir Hoper Vineyards Nelsen 2004 - well exectued and tasty dish, but similar to things I've had before 9. Colorado lamb ribeye, white turnips, grapefruit, bergamot for me Spring vegetable fricasee, meyer lemon emulsion for my wife Bierzo petalos descendientes de J Palacios 2005 - I love lamb and this dish was very nice. I think my wife's vegetable had more asparagus again. 10. Cheese cart Coteaux du Layon Domaine des Baumard 2003 - I love a good cheese cart and TRU has just that 11. Mint lemonade with yogurt drops - I would have liked a whole glass of this. One of the best intermezzo's I've ever had. Completely cleansed my palate but remained tasty 12. Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse, orange sherbert, cardamom-scented oranges Tokaji Aszu 5 puttonyos Chateau Pajzos 1999 - very, very, very delicious. You can't go wrong with a Gand desert. I do wish we had received a duo of desserts as we had in the past if only to experience more of her talent. I also love tokaji and was hoping one would find its way into a pairing. 13. Mignardise and lollipops - gotta love the giant cart at TRU 14. take home gift of miniature lemon cakes - I love lemon cake and these were some of the best I've had - first, the service was outstanding as ever. The only thing different was that the synchronized pouring of water was not always present as it was on our first visit. Perhaps because we were seated at a two-top, booth/chair seat whereas before we were at a free-standing 4-top. - I miss the old dishes the butter came on. They used to be two perfectly cut (slightly green) glass squares and one had a slight square indentation on the top holding a pinch of salt to let you know which butter was salted. We simply had two wavy glass squares of different colors and I kept forgetting which was salted or not. Pluse, these new butter servers do not exactly match the exploding box chargers placed before you at the start of the meal. - One of the things that made our first trip to TRU so memorable was the excess of everything, especially the expensive, high-end foods such as caviar, foie gras, etc. I know that foie gras' been banned in chi-town so not really Tru's fault there. However, they also no longer include the caviar staircase with their tasting menus. Instead, you must pay a much higher price for premim caviar service in addition to the tasting menu. I was aware of this change, but it still remains a slight disappointment. - At one point I made the observation that many of TRU dishes and presentations seemed to have changed in their basic concept. Our first visit yielded dishes with many things on the plate that the diner was required to mix and bring together after sampling individually. Things such as gelees, foams, powders, sauces, etc. However, this visit the dishes were a bit more composed and constructed (stacked, layered) together like at Alinea. This does not change the way the food tastes, but I wonder if it just happened to be the dishes we received that night or some behind the scenes motivation changing the types of dishes. - One more thing, gone are the spontaneous menus or possibility of everyone at the table getting a separate tasting menu. That will be disappointing if and when we return with my family or others and no longer get to experience 4 times the number of dishes as we did on our first visit. I remember that being an exceptional thing on our first visit that I have not experience elsewhere as of yet. In addition to this, I wonder if this means the kithcen stocks a few less ingredients. I say this because I noticed white asparagus creeping into many of our dishes 9especially my wife's) more often than desired. We like asparagus, but more variety for her would have been nice. I remember on our first visit that the vegetarian menu was a bit more complex and varied with pastas, fruits, vegetables, soups, etc. that were prepared with more varying techniques and styles as opposed to a more raw approach. - Scott Tyree, the sommelier is by far the best sommelier ever. The wine program at TRU is simply stunning in that the unique wines paired with the various dishes fit so extremely well. I loved the idea of throwing a glass of sake in as a pairing. well done - My wife LOVES!! wedding cake. Since we were to be out of town and away from the top of our wedding cake in the fridge at home I had requested that a special dessert be made for us. I had rememebered reading about the cake Gale Gand made for her wedding and that she occasionally used this at TRU. I had requested far in advance and was under the impression that everything would be taken care of. We did receive a small(silver dollar), heart shaped brownie with a single candle on a plate with icing expressing "happy anniversary", but this was not really what I had in mind. Also, I'm not sure how or why, but this was taken away before we even got to eat it. Oh well. Final: while many of the above comments may sound negative, and some are, TRU is no less than one of the finest restaurants that I've dined at. Most of the negative comments are the result of fond memories I had of my first visit and my placing of expectations on the restaurant which I know may not be met. So in a way, some of those feelings are my own fault, but valid points of discussion none the less. Perhaps it is also do to the fact that my culinary experiences have increased since the first visit (i.e. we've gone to ALinea, Moto, etc. since then). All in all, this was a fantastic way to celebrate our anniversary. The service was outstanding, the wine selections were amazing, and the food was delicious. Perhaps I was not as wowed this go around, but we look forward to returning in the future.
  8. babern38

    Osteria Via Stato - Chicago

    My wife and I were in Chicago for the weekend to celebrate our 1st anniversary at TRU on Saturday May 20th. The night before, I talked my wife into going to Osteria via Stato (OVS) for dinner as she is a vegetarian and we were not completely sure of their vegetarian options. Plus, she was just considering having a salad for dinner. After arriving and being seated in the back room at a large communal table which I had read about and curious how these tables worked. Another family of four was dining at this table and there was a small 5inch high wood divider between us and them as well as two other place settings. While we are a friendly couple, we were prefering to be more private that night and we did not feel intruded upon or hindered by this communal table at all. Long story short, I talked my wife into the family-style dinner and things continued to get even better from there. We selected one of the available entrees, we asked them to "just bring us wine" (of which I had the 2nd level and my wife the 1st). We were under the impression that the kitchen would randomly select one of the various antipasti options on the menu, but instead they brought "all of them!!!" Our first course consisted of salad (not even listed on the menu), veal meatballs, spinach and parmesan salad, slices of onions with baked cheese, and mozzarella with olive oil and peppers. I'm lucky I was suddenly starving. The salad, veal meatballs, and baked onion-cheese slices were the best. Next was the pasta course. I was brought a large bowl of amazing chicken ragu papardelle which was awesome. My wife received the vegetarian corkscrew pasta, whcih neither of us thought was very exceptional. What was exceptional was the surprising arrival of a waiter with a copper pot full of steaming hot mushroom and vegetable risotto. He emptied to who pot onto our plates. This was my far the best risotto I think i've ever tasted. The texture, flavor, creaminess. Perfect For our entrees: I had a GIANT shortrib on whipped parsnip puree with a wine reduction which was outstanding, even for my completely full and satiated self. My wife had a polenta cake with various vegetables. I'm not sure how it was possible, but this was by far the best polenta I've ever tasted as well. How surprised was I to go to this restaurant and find two of the "best of" dishes ever. Being soooo full we only shared a small cup of pistachio gelato for desert and coffee. We paid the very modest bill (for what we got), walked back to the James Hotel and fell asleep, full and satiated beyond belief. This place is defintiely a must go to and now for us its a must go back to.
  9. This Wednesday I had my first visit to the Frontera/Topolo restaurant for a 7:45 reservation at Topolobampo. I went with my mother to celebrate the completion of the 2nd part of my medical boards. We had tried to kill time walking downtown, but eventually decided to head to the restaurant about an hour early to see if we could be seated or at the very least, have some of the margaritas I've read so much about. We were told to wait in the bar and that we probably could be seated early. At first we both ordered one of the seasonal margaritas(blood orange for my mom and mango-mulberry for me). While both tasted excellent, I was diappointed that mine was far too sweet and was more like drinking non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiri mix. I quickly finished that and ordered the proper Topolo Margarita. By far the best margarita I've ever tasted. Anyway, we were eventually seated about 30 minutes before our reservation in the nice, much quieter Topolobampo side of the restaurant. I was predetermined to do the tasting menu with wine pairing, while my mother, learning the whole table didn't have to do the tasting opted for two courses. Below is a copy of my tasting menu with my notes: the meal was started with homemade guacamole with cucumbers and jicama slices for dipping. Nice guac, nothing that special. I would prefer regular chips for dipping since I'm not really fond of raw cucumber. 1. Tamal Primaveral - tamal of fresh-ground corn masa infused with garlic chives, english peas and cilantro. 2005 Lusco Albarino, Rias Baixas, Galicia, Spain - Excellent! A great start to the meal. Many flavors all combined to form a wonderful texture and flavorful dish. 2. Sopa de CHile Verde con Queso - creamy soup of roasted poblano chiles blended with camote morado (heirloom white sweet potato) and Samuel's hand-crafted cheese; pecan-smoked shrimp, grilled green garlic, and crispy epazote. 2001 Domaine Des Baumard Savennieres, Rochefort Sur Loire, France - The bowl with the shrimp, chiles, and epazote was placed before me and the soup was then poured atop them from a little copper pot. The soup had a nice flavor and tasted a lot like lima bean soup. However, the smoked shrimp were amazing. It was like they had been bathed in smoke for days. I would have prefered a bowl of these alone. 3. Jaibas de Concha Suava - crispy-crunchy Chesapeake soft-shell crabs stuffed with homemade goat cheese. 2001 Villa Cerna Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscany Italy - I don't ever recall eating soft shell crabs before, but I definitetly look forward to doing so again. Although, they probably won't be anywehere near as wonderful as these. My mom said this was her favorite dish of the night as well when I let her taste. This was also a huge portion. 4. Borrego en Clemol Castellano - roasted Crawford Farm lamb in clemole with savory bread pudding. 2000 Reserva Cune Vina Real, Rioja, Spain - By far the most amazine lamb I've ever been served anywere........ever. The thinly sliced lamb was amazingly tender and flavorful. The tiny flakes of pasilla scattered around along with the chiles in the surrounding sauce gave a good amount of smoky heat that didn't come until 10 seconds after swallowing. The pasilla also had a nice chocolate-like flavor as well. An amazingly controlled dish where the spice (really the only spicy dish of the night) was not too overpowering, but actually improved the flavor. 5. Best of the day desser sampler - Chocolatey tropical mamey cake, crispy cocada wafers sandwiched with mexican mango crema, cherimoya ice with blackberry sabayon sauce. 2004 domaine Des Baumar "Clos De St. Catherine" Coteaaux Du Layon, Loire Valley, France - Nothing too exciting or amazing about the desserts. The sorbet/crema concotions were the best. I was disappointed in the mamey cake which I had saved for last in that it basically tasted like a chocolate brownie and was a little dry. Regarding my mom's dishes: She had ordered two: first, the Ensalada de Esparragos - this never came. She was served the Tamal Primaveral along with mine, which we were not sure why, but suspected it might have been like an amuse for her, though hers was larger than mine. Second, her main course was the Napoleon de Nopales - crispy wafers of nopal cactus sandwiched with homemade ricotta cheese and roasted vegetables. Spring cream of local asparagus, spinach, poblanos, and buttered spring morel mushrooms. - I had one bite of this and that was all I could take. It was good, but far too rich to eat a lot of it. Perhaps I was just too full to evaluate the dish completely. Final Notes: - An amazing dinner. Service was excellent, except for the hiccup in forgetting/confusing my mother's first course. They did attempt to compensate by a free dessert, something like a strawberry shortcake, which my mother refused as she was already full. Plus, we saw the table next to us get that dessert and it didn't look that appealing or special. - I had made a request to try huitlacoche (corn mushroom) since I've never had it and our waiter was very kind it checking with the kitchen to see if this was possible, but unfortunatley due to the season and availability the only huitlacoche they had on site was currently frozen. Points for trying though. - I thought the wines were paired very well. I'm not used to wine with mexican food (though this food is not what I think of as mexican), but all the selections complemented the dishes and the various spices well. - I definitely got a great taste of Chef Bayless' cuisine with the tasting menu. - I was absolutely stuffed! The servings of food were very generous and the pours of wine even more so. It was nearly a complete pour with each course! - I can't wait to return.
  10. babern38

    Columbia, Missouri

    First, we must have gone to Glenn's cafe on the same night because they were out of trout that night too. I wish I had seen your review earlier, because I wouldn't have ordered that dish. You are right, the morels were sooooo bland!!. That was one of the biggest reasons I ordered that because I hadn't had morels in so long. very disappointing. The desserts (bread pudding and the sampler) were the highlight. Their gumbo is still pretty good and far better than that served at Jazz. I had hoped that the effort of driving to booneville would have been more rewarding. I also agreed that the high school staff needs better training. Second, I'm not familiar with el torito. Where is it? Is that the place that took over George's on business loop?
  11. I was wondering if someone could elucidate the differences between osteria via stato and osteria di tramonto. My wife and I recently dined at via stato for the first time and were made instant fans. I was unable to find a menu of OdT on the web, but some of the dishes described upthread (short ribs on parsnip puree) sound identical to what I had at via stato. I wish their website was more informative. If OdT is anything like via stato, it looks like I might have to plan a visit.
  12. could anyone comment on whether this restaurant could do a vegetarian tasting to accomodate my wife? Thanks
  13. babern38

    Osteria Via Stato - Chicago

    I am wondering if you are required to do the 3 course deal or if you can just order ala carte. Basically, my wife and I are flying in for the weekend and were looking for a new place to try on friday when we get in late. Often my wife just feels like a salad (she's a vegetarian) and not a big meal (especially since we are eating at TRU on saturday). Would we be okay? Also, could someone comment on the available vegetarian dishes if ala carte is available. Thanks
  14. babern38

    Columbia, Missouri

    I passed by that the other day. Its in the building where george's steakhouse used to be. I don't know why George's closed, but now its a mexican resturant. Maybe I'll go for lunch tomorrow since I'm off work. I'll be sure to let you all know. Hopefully it will be a favorable report.
  15. babern38

    Columbia, Missouri

    While I apologize for your unfortunate experience, I do appreciate you taking one for the team and writing a review to spare the rest of us.
  16. babern38

    Columbia, Missouri

    My mom stopped by Jina Yoo's today after I mentioned hearing about it here. She said it looked like it wouldn't be open for another 1-2 months. There was no ceiling or anything else in place she said. On another note, have you seen that a new thai restaurant is open on nifong. It took up the building where (blue moon cafe) or whatever its name was. Its right next to the break time and across from first national bank on nifong. I think they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I've never had thai breakfast, but it sounds intriguing.
  17. babern38

    Columbia, Missouri

    yeah, the place is pretty dirty. Its like an old house made into a restaurant. Food was pretty good though. I'l have to go back now that I know its still in business.
  18. babern38

    Columbia, Missouri

    Sutton's Bar-b-Q used to be pretty good, but I think it might have closed for the second time. I don't remeber where it is, since I had only been to the new location once. It may be worth looking up.
  19. babern38

    TRU - Chicago

    I was just hoping to check in on this thread and see if those posts from awhile back regarding the absence of the caviar staircase with most collections (unless you fork over $200) is true or not. I have been looking forward to returning to Tru in a couple months and would hate to be disappointed if I was expecting to dine on "the staircase" again.
  20. babern38

    Columbia, Missouri

    I just ate breakfast at Taqueria El Rodeo for the first time and it was AWEOME!!!! I just ordered the breakfast plate, choosing chorizo as my choice of meat. It came with the chorizo mixed with 2 scrambled eggs, their awesome potatos, chilaquilles, and their beans. Flour tortillas were served alongside. The also have tacos for breakfast and one of the filling choices said Nopalitos. I asked what this was and was told it was cactus, so I had to try one. I thought it was pretty good. Definitely not what I imagined cactus to taste like. It was like a very mild pepper. Great place, will definitely continue to return. The chilaquilles were awesome. I have only had chilaquilles once before in Belize on my honeymoon and they were nothing like these.
  21. babern38

    Columbia, Missouri

    I love HuHot. It takes awhile to figure out what sauce combinations you like. I've found that adding a ladel of the chili oil helps make the sauces less sweet or salty and keeps your teeth from grinding. Sounds weird, I know, but its great.
  22. Sweet lord!! Why was I not invited!!!???? Sounds amazing. Makes me wish I was turning 34 soon.
  23. for non-italian, more fine dining I recommend NIche - http://www.niche-restaurant.com/ - 3 courses for $30 - I think they've also started a 7 course tasting for ~$50-60 Savor - http://www.saucemagazine.com/savor/ - enjoyed my one visit there. Lots of variety Monarch - http://www.monarchrestaurant.com/ - we did a tasting menu here where the chef personally comes out to plan the menu with you depending on your likes/dislikes. 1111 Mississippi - http://www.1111-m.com/ - great atmosphere and really enjoyed everything on my 2-3 visits here Chez Leon - http://www.chezleon.com/ - the only quality french restaurant I've been to in St. Louis. Great foie gras appetizer and sweetbreads.
  24. babern38

    Columbia, Missouri

    I've only eaten at cherrhill brasserie once, which is unfortunate because I thought it was quite good. I really enjoyed the gorgonzola cheesecake appetizer as well as the frog legs dish. I'm looking forward to going back. Going to Taqueria El Rodeo for like the 5th time tonight. Last weekend I visited to try two of their (weekends only) dishes. My first experience with menudo led be to learn that tripe is not my thing for textural reasons. The soup itself wasn't as flavorful or spicy as I thought it would be either which didn't make the expereince any better. It was basically some orange flavored broth water with some tripe in it. Never had it before so I have nothing to compare it with. I don't know if this is a standard/common presentation I also had another dish which was basically a shrimp ceviche in a large margarita glass served with saltine crackers. I thought the saltines a bit strange and the ceviche could have used more chunks of vegetables, but it was still good when you added enough hotsauce for flavor
  25. I completely agree with Ulterior Epicure's assessment. Chef Bowles was robbed. I found his dishes to be far more creative, beautifully plated, and intriguing in their unique and complex creations.
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