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Need Chicago recommendations


SeAAttle
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We will be spending three nights in Chicago in mid April. Arriving on Saturday, departing Tuesday. We will be hosted on Monday night so will have Saturday and Sunday evening, and Sunday brunch to sample your gastronomic offerings.

We will be staying at the Hilton on Michigan Ave so the first night (Saturday) probably should be relatively close to the hotel. Our flight arrives at 6pm.

Possibilities I have gleaned from perusing the threads here include Blackbird, Schwa, Prairie Grass, Butter, Alinea. Since we live in Seattle, seafood would probably not be high on our list to try.

Are Chicago restaurants non-smoking? That is important for us, so we would pass on any establishment in which smoke drift (from the bar, for example) would be a problem.

Recommendations for two dinners and a Sunday brunch would be most appreciated.

S.

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Seaattle,

Prairie Grass is in the Northbrook so I do not think you will want to make the trek out there for dinner. Blackbird, Butter, Alinea, Avec and Gioco (close to your hotel-Italian, porterhouse for two is great) that is a good list for dinners. Sunday brunch, I am sure the board will have some good suggestions.

Good Eating,

Molto E

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Yes, for Saturday night dinner, Gioco and Opera (same owners) are walking distance from your hotel. Custom House would be another good option.

For Sunday night, I'd recommend Spring or Avec (Blackbird is closed on Sundays, I believe); they're close to CTA stops, if that's how you plan to get around.

Gioco also serves a reasonably priced brunch. I haven't tried it yet, though.

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

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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For Sunday night, I'd recommend Spring or Avec (Blackbird is closed on Sundays, I believe); they're close to CTA stops, if that's how you plan to get around.

What CTA stop (I'm assuming the El, not bus) is near Avec?

U.E.

“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

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For Sunday night, I'd recommend Spring or Avec (Blackbird is closed on Sundays, I believe); they're close to CTA stops, if that's how you plan to get around.

What CTA stop (I'm assuming the El, not bus) is near Avec?

U.E.

It's 2-3 blocks from the Clinton stop on the Green Line. Here's a map.

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

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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If money is no object, the Ritz-Carlton has the best brunch in the city IMHO. As an alternative, the brunch at NoMI in the Park Hyatt is also very nice. Not sure how much brunch at the Ritz is, but it's $50 per person at NoMI (which also includes a spectacular view).

Edited by jesteinf (log)

-Josh

Now blogging at http://jesteinf.wordpress.com/

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SeAAtle,

Double-check on the smoking situation at these places. Blackbird, Avec, and North Pond I know are smoke free. So is Schwa. But Chicago has long been a smoker's town, so it wouldn't hurt to double check wherever you go.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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As of January 16th, a lot of the restaurants were required to go smoke free. I don't know the specifics of the law completely and how it affects hotels or if there is a bar/lounge attached they have a longer grace period (30 months) before having to go completely smoke free.

Patrick Sheerin

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As of January 16th, a lot of the restaurants were required to go smoke free.  I don't know the specifics of the law completely and how it affects hotels or if there is a bar/lounge attached they have a longer grace period (30 months) before having to go completely smoke free.

is this state-by-state, or nation-wide?

“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

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seaattle:  definitely try avec and if you are going on a weekend night, get there early (no reservations but they open around 4).

towncompany

3:30, according to Metromix.

And welcome to eGullet, towncompany!

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

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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RE: The smoking issue, as ducphat30 posted above, a city-wide smoking ban was passed and put into effect on January 16 but there are some exceptions and grace periods involved. To my knowledge, most of the spots mentioned in this thread are smoke-free but when it comes to specifics, my advice is to call around and ask each place about their policy.

I agree with Josh about brunch at the Ritz being the best one in the city. As for other dinner suggestions, I like a lot of the ones made upthread -- especially Alinea -- but I'll throw a few more out there: Green Zebra, Custom House and Tru. I don't think you can go wrong at Blackbird or Avec. I do like Opera and Gioco but consider them to be just a tiny notch below some of the others listed here. If you really want Italian, I'd recommend Spiaggia or A Tavola. And for Mexican, both of Rick Bayless' places -- Topolobampo and Frontera Grill -- are as strong as ever, IMO. A friend whose opinion I trust, really enjoys Abodo Grill (North and Wells) but I've yet to make it there myself.

Contact info for these places should be very easy to find but if you need any assistance whatsoever, please just say the word.

And . . . welcome, towncompany, to the eGS! :smile:

=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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Having eaten at Custom House last night, I will happily second Ronnie's recommendation.

...been keeping a close eye on custom house - so it's hitting all the right marks? my visit to spring a couple of years back was revelatory... unfortunately, my dinner at green zebra last summer didn't impress... how would you characterize custom house? i know it's more all-american - and seems like a heartier menu than it's sisters.

u.e.

“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

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Having eaten at Custom House last night, I will happily second Ronnie's recommendation.

...been keeping a close eye on custom house - so it's hitting all the right marks? my visit to spring a couple of years back was revelatory... unfortunately, my dinner at green zebra last summer didn't impress... how would you characterize custom house? i know it's more all-american - and seems like a heartier menu than it's sisters.

u.e.

See the link in my post above.

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

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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...been keeping a close eye on custom house - so it's hitting all the right marks?  my visit to spring a couple of years back was revelatory... unfortunately, my dinner at green zebra last summer didn't impress...  how would you characterize custom house?  i know it's more all-american - and seems like a heartier menu than it's sisters. 

u.e.

I ate at Green Zebra on Saturday (first time since October) and my friend and I agreed that it was by far the best meal we've eaten there (we went there a lot during their first year). Three dishes in particluar were amazing: parsnip panna cotta (why aren't parsnips more popular?), Creamy cauliflower agnolotti with black truffles (a dish worthy of any 4-star restaurant) and butternut squash gnocchi. The skate wing was also delicious. I think GZ is definitely on the must-visit list for out-of-towners.

I also had another excellent lunch at Custom House last week. I really like their "haute comfort food" vibe. Delicious oysters (Malpeques and Kumamotos) and perfect crispy skinned bass. My co-worker craves their shortrib raviolis. They will start serving breakfast soon, too.

Edited by Pugman (log)
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Having eaten at Custom House last night, I will happily second Ronnie's recommendation.

from what I've taken in, it's like if Shawn McClain and Tom Colicchio got together and had a restaurant baby.

It's in the style of "extreme a la carte" a la Craft but with the McClain touch. With that, you'll probably see a lot of braising, Asian spices, and probably Italian touches.

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from what I've taken in, it's like if Shawn McClain and Tom Colicchio got together and had a restaurant baby.

It's in the style of "extreme a la carte" a la Craft but with the McClain touch. With that, you'll probably see a lot of braising, Asian spices, and probably Italian touches.

yikes - it sounds like it'll break many a diners' heart! :laugh:

can't wait to try it!

u.e.

“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

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Seaattle,

              Prairie Grass is in the Northbrook so I do not think you will want to make the trek out there for dinner. Blackbird, Butter, Alinea, Avec and Gioco (close to your hotel-Italian, porterhouse for two is great) that is a good list for dinners. Sunday brunch, I am sure the board will have some good suggestions.

Good Eating,

Molto E

Dear Seattle: If you follow the Heartland reveiws you will see our great hurrahs for SCHWA which is a tiny dining room with enormous talents. We are Seattle, Vancouver and VI regulars ! We welcome you to Chicago. If you are dedicated diners to reasonably priced, exceptionally talented cookers, we want you to go to SCHWA on Ashland Avenue. Use my name for Brittany, she is their only server. She also takes the reservations. This is a BYOB place with two chefs both extraordinarily talented. They deserve your attention. There isn't a better priced excellent meal prepared by great talents in this city. Treat yourself and please send me your impressions. Smoke free. I hope you indulge in these chefs mighty talents. It is worth it. Judith Gebhart
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This is going to be hard, with only two dinners and a brunch! Schwa seems to be very high on many lists. They are closed Sunday's so we would have to hope that our flight is on time and book a rather late reservation.

Judith, thanks for the kind welcome. Is Brittany also the owner (I think I read this in another post)? What restaurants do you enjoy in Seattle and Vancouver?

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