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Business Dinner In Chicago


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Some VPs and my team will be in Chicago next week for a conference and I've been asked to find possible places for a dinner on Monday night near the McCormick Center as we are staying at the Hyatt. There will be 8 of us and if we could find somewhere with a small private room that would be the best. Not looking for a super high end molecular experience but more of your tried and true, business dinner place with good food.

Open Monday? Private Room? Near McCormick? anyone?????

Thanks so much if you have a recommendation!

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Hilarious- I was about to start a topic asking for lunch recommendations w/in a 10 min cab ride from McCormick Place. (despite the username, I have not lived in Chicago for a few years. Sob.) I'd appreciate any recommendations on that score! Thanks.

What do you mean I shouldn't feed the baby sushi?

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I'm fond of Custom House in the south Loop (500 S. Dearborn, Chicago). Open Mondays, small private dining area, and outstanding food in a wonderful contemporary environment run by an acclaimed chef. Check their website: http://www.customhouse.cc/. There is very little immediatly adjacent to McCormick Place but the south Loop area is only a 15 block cab ride.

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Some VPs and my team will be in Chicago next week for a conference and I've been asked to find possible places for a dinner on Monday night near the McCormick Center as we are staying at the Hyatt. There will be 8 of us and if we could find somewhere with a small private room that would be the best. Not looking for a super high end molecular experience but more of your tried and true, business dinner place with good food.

Open Monday? Private Room? Near McCormick? anyone?????

Thanks so much if you have a recommendation!

How near is "near?" I know the Hyatt has a shuttle service but I don't know where it goes. Otherwise, you'll pretty much have to take a cab (well, two cabs) to anywhere, or you can take a very short ride on the Metra Electric Line to the Loop or the South Loop.

I know that Gioco, which is walking distance from the Metra Roosevelt stop, has a private banquet room for 20+ persons, but if it's not being used for a banquet I don't know if they'll do regular dinner service in there.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

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Here are several recommendations, with a bit more detail. All are a short cab ride from McCormick Place, except Cuatro, which is just a few blocks away.

1. Cuatro (Latin Fusion)

2030 S. Wabash Ave.

312-842-8856

Cuatro is very hip (music, decor) and the food is excellent. I don't think they have a private room, though. And they are not open for lunch. So it might not be the best choice for that business dinner for eight, but it's the most unusual of this group when it comes to the food.

2. Custom House

500 S. Dearborn St. (just over two miles from McCormick Place)

312-523-0200

Custom House is from Shawn McClain, who has several local restaurants, all outstanding. The food is American, using local ingredients where possible, with some emphasis on meat. Classy place (although business casual attire is fine). Their website says that they can provide "Semi-private in dining room up to 11; separate space available for 75 people."

3. Opera (upscale Chinese)

1301 S. Wabash Ave. (just over one mile from McCormick Place)

312-461-0161

Their website says they have a banquet room that seats 8-14, which sounds perfect for your needs. Also, they are relatively quiet on Mondays. (They have a three-course $25 deal on Sundays and Tuesdays, which may be why they are not busier on Mondays.)

4. Gioco (Italian)

1312 S. Wabash Ave. (just over one mile from McCormick Place)

312-939-3870

Their private dining options may be too large for your needs ("Speakeasy seats 36-60; Banquet room seats 96-150; Entire restaurant seats 230")

All of these places are open on Mondays, and all except Cuatro are open for lunch.

For your business dinner, Custom House is the nicest, but it's possible that the size of the private room at Opera may make it a better fit for your needs.

There's also a restaurant (NetWorks) right within Hyatt Regency McCormick Place. I haven't been here and don't know anything about it, other than that it's right IN McCormick Place, so you can't beat it for convenience and proximity.

BTW, it's "McCormick Place", not "McCormick Center".

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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thanks Ronnie, NAHA is on my list but over the budget for this dinner.

If Naha is over your budget, then so is Custom House. Custom House is at least as expensive as Naha, maybe a tad more.

Of the places mentioned above, Opera is the least expensive (even aside from their Sunday/Tuesday special deal), Custom House and Naha are the most expensive, and Gioco and Cuatro are in between. (They all show prices on the menus displayed on their websites.)

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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thanks Ronnie, NAHA is on my list but over the budget for this dinner.

Well, I took my own advice and made a reservation at NaHa for tomorrow night :biggrin:

=R=

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ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Another place I've had very nice, weeknight, business dinners is Kiki's Bistro. It's a bit further north but the food is solid and the vibe is conducive. It can get a little crowded on weekends.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Kiki's, like Naha, is on the other side of the Loop (downtown Chicago) from McCormick Place, so cab fares will be a bit more. Not a showstopper, just an FYI. Good French bistro food. Little-known fact: Kiki's is one of only a handful of restaurants in or around downtown which offers free valet parking, so if you have rental cars... :wink: Another little-known fact: Kiki for many years owned/ran the only French restaurant in the Loop, Le Bordeaux.

There are many, many more restaurants just north of the Loop than in the South Loop, towards McCormick Place. Some of them are less expensive than Naha/Custom House, too. The trick is finding one that has the small private dining room you're looking for AND is not expensive AND is open Mondays. Kiki's doesn't say anything about a private room on their website. Perhaps Coco Pazzo Cafe, also just north of the Loop, might meet your needs. It's moderately-priced Italian (sister restaurant to the more expensive Coco Pazzo), very good food, open Mondays, and their website says "For groups up to 25 guests, Coco Pazzo Cafe can accomodate your party in our charming platform area, please contact Jack Weiss for further details 312.664.2777."

As another option, Greek Town (just west of the Loop) has a lot of inexpensive Greek restaurants but they tend to be louder/busier than typically desirable for a business dinner. They may have private rooms that will work for you. Places there include Greek Islands, Santorini, the Parthenon, etc.

Price-wise, Kiki's is similar in price to Gioco and Cuatro. Coco Pazzo Cafe is similar in price to Opera. Greek places in Greek Town are priced similar to Coco Pazzo Cafe and Opera, maybe a bit less.

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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I looked at the menus for both NaHa and Custom and they were really different. mains from $40-$60 at NaHa but at $24-48 at Custom.....

I don't know where you're getting those prices. Most of the main courses are around $27-33 at both places, with only one or two items higher than that. On the Custom House website menu, the only entree shown above $33 is the New York Strip, but it's $38, not $48. Here are the entrees on the dinner menu at Naha, from the website link provided in Ronnie's post:

Line Caught Monkfish Loin and "Fresh Bacon" Kurobuta Pork Belly with Golden Chanterelles, Wood-Grilled Leeks and Herb-Crusted Salsifis, Lobster Red Wine Jus

$31.00

Wild Carolina Coast Striped Bass "Riviera" with a Salad of Shaved Fennel, Arugula and Babaganoush, Cured Tomatoes, Spanish Olives and Yellow Pepper Broth

$30.00

Skate Wing and a Cannelloni of "Sunchoke" with Butter Poached Chesapeake Bay Lump Crab, Jerusalem Artichokes and Oyster Mushrooms

$29.00

Medaillons of Ranch Venison, Huckleberies, Roasted Chestnuts and Brussels Sprouts, Celery Root and "Honeycrisp" Applesauce

$39.00

Wood-Grilled 18oz. "Prime" Ribeye of Beef with a Gration of Macaroni and Goat Cheese, Glazed Shallots, Oxtail Red Wine Sauce and Fleur de Sel

$46.00

Braised Short Ribs of Beef, Wild Boar Bacon and Cauliflower Puree with Roasted Winter Root Vegetables and Cippolini Onions,Smoked "Manuka" Sea Salt and Herb Salad

$32.00

Blossom Honey "Lacquered" Aged Moulard Duck Breast, Caramelized Quince and Fennel, Broccoli Rabe, Sicilian Pistachios and Port

$32.00

Roast "Brace" of Quail and La Quercia "Americano" Prosciutto with a "Fondant" of Austrian Crescent Potatoes, Roasted Acorn Squash, Red Pearl Onions, Swiss Chard and Tarragon

$27.00

Roast Loin of Rabbit with a "Ragout" of Braised Rabbit, Confit Garlic Crushed Potatoes, Applewood Slab Bacon, "Hen of the Woods" Mushrooms, Glazed Young Carrots and Turnips

$26.00

Wild Alaskan Troll Red King Salmon, Yukon Potato Gnocchi, Braised Artichokes and Leeks, Enriched Chicken Jus with Chives and Chervil

$33.00

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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My last meal at Gioco was pretty bad.  I'd skip it.  I agree with the Custom House suggestion.  And I highly recommend NaHa.

=R=

Please do tell. I have had a few meals there and all seemed fine. Sirvice is a little slow but the food matched what I would expect.

Living hard will take its toll...
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My last meal at Gioco was pretty bad.  I'd skip it.  I agree with the Custom House suggestion.  And I highly recommend NaHa.

=R=

Please do tell. I have had a few meals there and all seemed fine. Sirvice is a little slow but the food matched what I would expect.

. . . gummy pasta, soggy salad, very unevenly cooked steak. It wasn't a disaster but I didn't think it warranted a return visit. I will say that this was a few months ago, and shortly after the chef had left. Perhaps the kitchen has their feet under them again by now.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

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ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I will say that this was a few months ago, and shortly after the chef had left. Perhaps the kitchen has their feet under them again by now.

Fred Ramos is the chef there and he's a talented guy, so I would give it a second chance. I haven't been since he's taken over, but a few friends have told me the food is solid.

It's a good choice in terms of a business dinner with all of the small private rooms/nooks they have in the back of the restaurant and everyone will find something they like on the menu.

Although, I'd rather go to NAHA as well.

Edited by ducphat30 (log)

Patrick Sheerin

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