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2006-07 Chicago Zagat Ratings


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I don't have the official rankings yet but I did receive a link to this press release (via AP and ABC7) which reveals the following:

Top Food: Carlos

(Le Francais was 2nd, Les Nomades was 3rd)

Top Decor: NoMi

Top Service: Alinea

Most Popular: Charlie Trotter's

(TRU was 2nd, Frontera Grill was 3rd)

My first thought is that if you follow Zagat religiously, you barely need to enter the city to sample Chicago's best food. :wink:

Thoughts . . . anyone?

=R=

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

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Top Service:  Alinea

Based on my two experiences, this is surprising.

u.e.

Based on my experiences at Alinea, it isn't surprising at all.

But #1 and #2 for food being Carlos and Le Francais? I find that VERY surprising, even though I think both places are great.

=R=

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

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But #1 and #2 for food being Carlos and Le Francais?  I find that VERY surprising, even though I think both places are great.

=R=

... and #3 is Les Nomades. Someone clearly has a preference for French.... and yes, I agree, the two that I have been to are great. I personally don't find it "VERY" surprising - but they wouldn't have been obvious winners to me. But then again, I'm not the "people's choice."

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

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But #1 and #2 for food being Carlos and Le Francais?  I find that VERY surprising, even though I think both places are great.

=R=

... and #3 is Les Nomades. Someone clearly has a preference for French.... and yes, I agree, the two that I have been to are great. I personally don't find it "VERY" surprising - but they wouldn't have been obvious winners to me. But then again, I'm not the "people's choice."

u.e.

I guess what surprises me most about their selection is their locations and distances from downtown. Perhaps that actually factored into why they placed 1 and 2. Again, I'm not knocking these places at all. I've had phenomenal meals at both (and Les Nomades, too :wink:).

The Suburbs rule!! :biggrin:

=R=

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

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Let's not lose sight of the fact that the food, service, and decor of the respective #1s are all worthy recipients; whether or not they're the best is always up for debate.  It's not as if Johnnie's grabbed the top spot for decor!   :wink:

I agree, even though the specifics surprised me.

Also, Le Francais has been on my radar since Liccioni's return. Now, I'm even more excited to go back. Plus it's only minutes from my house and there's no foie gras ban in Wheeling. :raz:

=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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Also, Le Francais has been on my radar since Liccioni's return.  Now, I'm even more excited to go back.  Plus it's only minutes from my house and there's no foie gras ban in Wheeling. :raz:

=R=

I've been since the grand master's return. ronnie, shame on you for living so close and not having been already! Liccione's stuffed squash blossoms are always a treat.

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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Also, Le Francais has been on my radar since Liccioni's return.  Now, I'm even more excited to go back.  Plus it's only minutes from my house and there's no foie gras ban in Wheeling. :raz:

=R=

I've been since the grand master's return. ronnie, shame on you for living so close and not having been already! Liccione's stuffed squash blossoms are always a treat.

u.e.

It has mostly to do with my allergy to sportcoats, but you're absolutely right! :biggrin:

=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've been since the grand master's return.  ronnie, shame on you for living so close and not having been already!  Liccione's stuffed squash blossoms are always a treat.

u.e.

It has mostly to do with my allergy to sportcoats, but you're absolutely right! :biggrin:

=R=

Nice try ronnie - if true, you must have been awfully uncomfortable through your recent hours-long meals at Alinea and the Avenues (although I think it's jackets preferred at Elliot's). :wink: Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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Carlos continues to be my favorite restaurant in the Midwest. The food is as good as anywhere but the name doesn't have the cache of some other trendy places. If your idea of fine dining is to 'tick' off the trendy places then you may disagreee. Since Roland came back to Le Francaise, he has done an excellent job and you can count on him being in the kitchen.

It appears the Zagat reviewers are not influenced by trendy restaurants and instead solid establishments for good dining and conversation.

I agree 100% with Zagat's.-Dick

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I don't mean to move this discussion towards the pros and cons (mainly cons...there I go again) of Zagat. I'm the first to admit that it has some uses, especially if you understand how the rating are put together.

But I take any opportunity I can to plug a great article by our own Steven Shaw, "The Zagat Effect," published in Commentary, Vol. 110 • November 2000 • No. 4.

Available free here:

http://www.restaurantspy.com/articles/zagateffect.htm

Excepts of this appeared in the Fat Guy's book, Turning the Tables.

When the article first came out in print, Steven generously offered to fax it to anyone who wanted it (It wasn't available on line at the time). I made copies for almost everyone in my office. It's an excellent read.

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A follow-up piece by Janet Fuller appears in today's Chicago Sun-Times:

Carlos', Le Francais and Les Nomades -- French restaurants that, collectively, have been around for 86 years -- rank in the top three for food, according to the annual guide out in stores today.

Not that Chicagoans don't appreciate what Achatz is doing at Alinea, his year-old Lincoln Park restaurant. They voted it tops for both service and "New American" cuisine.

She even mentions the fading 'jackets required' trend. :biggrin:

Appetites here favor French

=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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My first visit to Le Francais was in 1979, at the pinnacle of Chef Banchets mastery. It is still an experience unmatched by any and I can vividly recall every dish and detail of that incredible evening. I have returned many times over the years through it's various incarnations hoping to relive that experience, often leaving underwhelmed. It is reassuring that Chef Liccione has raised the bar again. In the words of Mario Batali, "wretched excess is barely enough".

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Food editor at the Daily Herald, Deborah Pankey, weighs in as well:

Since chef Roland Liccioni returned to Le Francais in late 2004, the Wheeling restaurant has been regaining its stature in the dining community. It earned the second highest rating is the new Zagat Survey restaurant guide.

Diners at Wheeling’s venerable Le Francais restaurant think something’s going right since chef Roland Liccioni moved back to the kitchen. The restaurant’s “new French” cuisine rated a 28 out of 30 in the 2006/07 edition of the Zagat Survey restaurant guide released today.

Le Francais picks up spots in Zagat guide

=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 felt Alinea's service was superb and I would be extremely suprised if U.E. has a third dissapointing performance from the front of the house.

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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When Roland came back to Le Francaise, I called about 10:30am to make a reservation. I said "I want to make sure Roland will be in the kitchen". The voice on the other end said, "This is Roland."

I also agree that when Banchet was Chef, things could be magical. I remember a Wellington of Veal with an ethereal mousse surrounding the veal in a rich pastry with a sauce that was divine. The Wellington was cut at tableside and I've never had anything like it since!

Of course I also remember when I walked in with the in-between management and the place smelled and I walked out!-Dick

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I've always been fuzzy on Zagat's accounting method. When I'm sent the voting requests, I'm asked to evaluate the restaurnat in each category as a 0, 1, 2, or 3. How do they get double digit scores/ratings? Can anyone 'splain?

u.e.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“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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I've always been fuzzy on Zagat's accounting method.  When I'm sent the voting requests, I'm asked to evaluate the restaurnat in each category as a 0, 1, 2, or 3.  How do they get double digit scores/ratings?  Can anyone 'splain?

u.e.

To begin with, although it might come as a surprise to anyone who has not participated in a Zagat survey, the 30-point ratings in the book do not represent actual choices. In fact, the surv form is much cruder, offering oy four choices, 0 through 3. Thus, a conscntious participant who believes that a restaurant’s rank should be, say, 25 on a 30-point scale must choose either a 2 or a 3, each of which represents an inaccurate extreme. These tings are then averaged and multiplied to give the appearance of a more nuanced evaluation.

There now it's not exact, I would have figured since the article had been pointed I would have thought people of intrest would have read it.Sorry my bad

Edited by monkfish_103 (log)
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Thus, a conscientious participant who believes that a restaurant’s rank should be, say, 25 on a 30-point scale must choose either a 2 or a 3, each of which represents an inaccurate extreme.

Yes, to be sure, but this is where I go fuzzy:

These ratings are then averaged and multiplied to give the appearance of a more nuanced evaluation.

“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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Thus, a conscientious participant who believes that a restaurant’s rank should be, say, 25 on a 30-point scale must choose either a 2 or a 3, each of which represents an inaccurate extreme.

Yes, to be sure, but this is where I go fuzzy:

These ratings are then averaged and multiplied to give the appearance of a more nuanced evaluation.

The average is multiplied by 10. If the average is, say, 2.1, it's reported as score of 21.

"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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I've always been fuzzy on Zagat's accounting method.  When I'm sent the voting requests, I'm asked to evaluate the restaurnat in each category as a 0, 1, 2, or 3.  How do they get double digit scores/ratings?  Can anyone 'splain?

u.e.

To begin with, although it might come as a surprise to anyone who has not participated in a Zagat survey, the 30-point ratings in the book do not represent actual choices. In fact, the survey form is much cruder, offering only four choices, 0 through 3. Thus, a conscientious participant who believes that a restaurant’s rank should be, say, 25 on a 30-point scale must choose either a 2 or a 3, each of which represents an inaccurate extreme. These ratings are then averaged and multiplied to give the appearance of a more nuanced evaluation.

monkfish, these are Fat Guy's exact words from his above-referenced article. Nothing wrong with that per se, but you should have enclosed the paragraph in quotation marks and cited the source. You still have plenty of time to edit your post, 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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