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babern38

Ria vs TRU vs Avenues

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I am visiting Chicago later this month and its been awhile since visiting with the intention of dining anywhere besides Alinea and I was hoping the respected opinions of eGulleteers could lend me their advice in my struggle to choos between Ria, TRU, and Avenues for a nice two person dinner on saturday.

Of note, I visited avenues under chef bowels and dined solo at the counter. It was a fun experience and think my gf would also enjoy the interactivity of the counter. I have a special place in my heart for Tru as it is probably responsible for turning me into a foodie and searching out other amazing restaurants on this planet. While, I have been there a few times in the past, my date has not. Has the food or service withstood the test of time in the last 2 years or so? Ria would be the newcomer. any opinions would be greatly welcome.

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Much to my chagrin, I haven't dined at any of the above, but I've followed all three (and discussed with friends who have had the pleasure of dining at each) and will give you a sense of how I interpret the mood toward them.

Avenues is likely the most respected of the three among educated (read: trend tracking) foodies. The counter continues to be a destination dining experience, rather unique in the city. TRU has rebounded spectacularly under Anthony Martin, to the point where most believe it has surpassed the level it was at toward the end of Tramonto's time. Ria is, as you say, the newcomer, reportedly full of surprises and delights, but without the resume of the other two, and not without some chef juggling of its own recently.

I don't think you can go wrong with any of the above, however I'd say Avenues is likely your best bet. That said, if you have a special place in your heart for TRU, it might be worth experiencing its reported renaissance.


Edited by KD1191 (log)

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For your reference I have been to a lot starred places such as Alinea, Per Se, Daniel Boulud, Joel Robuchon, Pierre Gagnaire, Bernardin, and the list goes on. Of the three you mentioned I have only been to Avenues under Duffy but that meal is in my top three or four ever. The counter seating is also really enjoyable.

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do any of you know if scott tyree is still the sommelier at TRU? Of my many fine dining experiences in the last 8 years or so he remains my favorite I've encountered so far and one of the primary reasons I have such fond memories of TRU. He consistently presented me with unique and surprising beverage picks in the past and I feel his pairings not only "go with" a dish but enhance it adding more depth and complexity to the entire experience.

So far I'm holding a res at Ria, but am still bouncing back and forth on all three options. what to do what to do?

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do any of you know if scott tyree is still the sommelier at TRU?

Scott left TRU for Hart Davis Hart in '07. As recently as last year he was with Sepia, but I think he's since left Chicago.

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I've been to all three and I would recommend Avenues by a nose over TRU. I would put it half a step above TRU, which is much improved since Tramonto left. Ria was good, but not really exciting or interesting (as Avenues and TRU can be).

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I ate at Ria shortly after it was given two stars by Michelin, and the meal was a disaster, just a comedy of errors by everyone from the chefs (undercooked lobster) to the busstaff (grabbing plates while members of our party were still eating). They have a loooooooong way to go before reaching the level of TRU or Avenues.

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My vote is for Tru, especially if it has a special place in your heart and you haven't been there in awhile. As far as overall experience (art collection, precision service) it will still the blow-away you remember it always being, but the new chef Anthony Martin is really taking the cuisine in exciting directions. We were there for his last menu change in May, and it was spectacular. Bright flavors, beautiful presentations, all the surprises and then some that you would expect at that price point. Also, from what we are told by the server, he oversees the entire pastry section of the menu as well, which is unique and made the meal flow seamlessly. This guy is a big deal.

I have always liked Curtis Duffy's cooking, but that dining room at Avenues is a total snoozefest. I wonder why in such a beautiful hotel as The Peninsula the restaurant dining room would be such a dud? Hate to say it because as I said I love what's on the plate, but when spending that kind of money it matters to us. I've always wanted to do the counter service, however, so I can't comment on that. Haven't been to RIA since it first opened. Might give it another try in the next month or so.

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