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Quince at the Homestead - Evanston, IL


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Finally, the former Trio space has a new occupant -- Quince at the Homestead. I received this press release late last week. The new venture will feature Chef Mark Hannon, formerly of Azul in Miami, Sous chef Jeffrey Sills, who worked worked under Dale Levitski at Trio Atelier and General Manager Joe Ziomek, formerly of Trio and Alinea. Also, worthy of note is that our own Anthony Marty (aka yellow truffle) has been hired as Quince's graphic designer, photographer and web site guru . . .

The Homestead would like to officially notify you of the opening of our new restaurant: Quince at the Homestead. Serving contemporary American food, Quince will open to the public at 5 pm on Wednesday, Dec. 6. We will begin taking reservations Monday, Nov. 20, 2006, at noon, by phone (847-570-8400).

Quince is owned by The Homestead. The restaurant occupies the space formerly belonging to Henry Adaniya and his restaurant Trio. Henry is consulting with us but is not otherwise involved with the project.

The philosophy of Quince is simple: offer the residents of Evanston and surrounding areas a superlative dining experience in terms of food preparation, wine pairing and service – all at an approachable price, and in a comfortable, lively setting.

Quince’s dining room has a new decor. Francois Geneve, designer Spring, Green Zebra and Custom House, has been charged with giving the space a contemporary feel that also embraces the classic elegance of The Homestead.

Quince’s chef is Mark Hannon, a graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute. Mark spent the last three years at Azul Restaurant in Miami, most recently as sous-chef, under Michelle Bernstein and then Clay Conley. He offers a fresh, playful perspective on both classic and contemporary flavor combinations, crafting dishes that are both bold and balanced. The food is American, but is influenced by several global cuisines, such as Mediterranean, French and Italian.

The sous-chef, also responsible for pastries, is Jeffrey Sills, also a graduate of Scottsdale. He is already a veteran of this kitchen, having worked under Dale Levitski at Trio Atelier.

Joe Ziomek, general manager and wine director, is coming off a 3-year stint working on the service staff under Chef Grant Achatz and Sommelier Joe Catterson at Trio and Alinea.

Quince’s website, www.quincerestaurant.net, will be available in about two weeks. On Nov. 30, we will begin using our website and Open Table for reservations, but will continue to accept reservations by phone or email: quince@thehomestead.net.

Questions regarding Quince’s cuisine should be directed to Mark Hannon. For all other inquiries, please contact Joe Ziomek. Mark and Joe can be reached beginning Monday, Nov. 20 at 847-570-8400.

I have to say that this is exciting news. We've had some discussion about who might eventually take over the space and it's nice to see a seasoned team moving in. I wish the entire team at Quince the best of luck. We'll be seeing you soon! :smile:

=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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  • 2 weeks later...

With Quince's opening just 2 days away, the anticipation is building. I was lucky enough to get my hands on some sample menus, which look fantastic. Here are a few excerpts:

Cold starters

Salmon Tartare capers, eggs, smoked creme fraiche, bagel chips

Shaved Asparagus Salad roasted tomatoes, parmesan cheese, 

truffle vinaigrette

Picked Greens roasted beets, grapes, walnuts, goat cheese, vinaigrette

Hot starters

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup brioche, goat cheese

Wilted Spinach Salad warm bacon vinaigrette, red onion, tomato, 

fried egg

Seared Foie Gras corn, basil, black cherry balsamic, strawberries

Seared Scallops turnip puree, black walnut vinaigrette, orange

Fennel Dusted Sweetbreads caramelized fennel, navy beans, bacon

Land

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs roquefort risotto, sweet and sour carrots

Lamb Spare Ribs curried lentils, braised shank casserole, haricots verts

14 oz Grilled Ribeye potato crema, glazed asparagus

Ricotta Gnocchi white sauce, cheese crust, bread

Grilled Pork Tenderloin parmesan polenta, broccolini, honey-lavendar glaze

Sea

Pan-Roasted Wild-Striped Bass italian sausage, corn, roasted pepper ragout, corn silk, red onion tomato salad

Grilled Halibut- bacon, brussels sprouts, mustard

Shrimp Tortellini roasted tomatoes, calabrese chilies, spinach, brown butter sauce

Grilled Whitefish watercress salad, walnut emulsion

Air

Pan-Roasted Chicken spinach and cheese stuffed chicken, grilled mushroom, roasted tomato

Roasted Duck Breast poached pears, bacon-braised greens, sweet and sour glaze

Chestnut Stuffed Squab butternut squash risotto, cinnamon cream

Sparkling selection

Gruet NV

White wines

Talia “Bianco,” Sicily 2005

Venica e Venica Pinot Grigio, Collio, Veneto 2004

Chateau La Freynalle, Bordeaux 2005

Susana Balbo Crios Torrontes, Cafayate, Argentina 2005

Albert Mann Old-Vine Pinot Auxerrois, Alsace 2004

Newton Chardonnay, Napa

Off-dry white

Breussin Vouvray, Loire Valley 2004

Red wines

Protos Joven Roble, Ribera del Duero, Spain 2004

Chateau Combray, Bordeaux 2005

Qupe Syrah, Central Coast, California 2005

Four Vines “The Sophisticate” Zinfandel, Sonoma

La Fiorita, Tuscany 2003

Terra Valentine, Spring Mountain, California 2003

Dessert wines

Chateau Sigalas-Rabaud, Sauternes 2002

Noble One, Australia 2003

Diel Spatlese, Nahe 2005

Peach Canyon Zinfandel Port, California

Vintages not listed are yet to be determined

Pastry

Pineapple Tarte Tatin mascarpone, red peppercorn, macadamia brittle

Banana Bread Pudding toffee, chocolate, peanut

Chocolate Cake orange, candied zest, micro basil

Doughnuts apple cider

Petit Fours macaroon, jelly, bon-bon, cake, peppermint bark

Sorbets coconut, grapefruit, prickly pear

Ice Creams peppermint, toffee, chocolate, vanilla

It looks like a great menu and the by-the-glass wines seem especially thoughtful. I'm guessing the overall wine list will be quite interesting as well. In any case, I'm very much looking forward to the opening and cannot wait to experience Quince at the Homestead for myself.

Good luck to the entire Quince team! :smile:

=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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Given the experiences i have had with Joe Ziomek at Alinea, I expect the service and the wine to be superb. If the food can live up to that, they should do well indeed.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

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  • 2 weeks later...
Given the experiences i have had with Joe Ziomek at Alinea, I expect the service and the wine to be superb. If the food can live up to that, they should do well indeed.

Doc, you hit the nail on the head! The service and the wine at Quince are outstanding. And, as we learned during our dinner there this past Thursday, the food is stellar as well.

Everything we tasted was delicious. In fact, my only complaint about the food is that there might have been a bit too much of it. But, in all seriousness, we asked to be put in chef Mark Hannon's hands and those hands capably delivered a progression of delectable courses to our table. Since we weren't sure how many were coming, it was hard to gauge exactly how much food was coming until it actually arrived. It was a tough problem, but we happily endured. :biggrin:

Combinations were clever and flavorful. The shaved asparagus salad, which showcased fresh and tender in-season asparagus from Peru, was bolstered with a beautiful hit of pungent truffle vinaigrette. Chef Hannon's take on tomato soup and grilled cheese was playful and delicious. The tomato bisque was rich and creamy and the basil oil atop it was a perfectly aromatic accent. The grilled cheese turned out to be warm and melty goat in between toasted slices of chewy ciabatta.

Dueling courses of foie gras and sweetbreads rivalled each other and it was hard to choose a favorite. In the end, I gave the slight nod to the sweetbreads with their perfectly crisp exterior crusting and creamy interiors. The tender and smokey navy beans was the element that pushed them over the top for me. But the foie gras, accompanied by an exquisite corn silk puree, gave the sweetbreads a serious run for the money.

I also really enjoyed the crispy, pan-fried skate wing; a treatment I'd never experienced before. Here the large portion of perfectly crispy skate was the star but the accompanying elements -- bacon, brussels sprouts, pommes puree and mustard -- sang in their own right. The combination was terrific and measured up to just about every skate I'd ever ordered.

I absolutely loved the lamb spare ribs with curried lentils. I'd never had lamb ribs before and these were a great first experience. They were perfectly tender, rich and hearty and totally delicious. The sweet, sticky sauce was applied judiciously and it accented the natural flavor of the lamb very well. The curried lentils provided a great counternote and evoked a series of surprising emotions. Riding shotgun on the plate was an innovative rendition of Shepherd's Pie -- a miniature, oval gratin filled with braised lamb shank and topped with what I believe was a spicy eggplant and potato puree. This was just as sensational as the ribs were. All in all, the this was a very enlightening dish for me.

Even better than the lamb ribs, however, were the phenomenal beef short ribs. Here tender boneless nuggets of braised short rib sat atop a near-perfect risotto which contained roquefort cheese, bacon and sweet and sour carrots, which were shaved into small curls. The delicate braised meat was textbook and the risotto was absolutely inspired. The combination was phenomenal. In less capable hands, this dish could have been a missed bet. But here, the roquefort and bacon were incorporated deftly into a combination which complemented the meat without overpowering it. I loved this dish.

Wine service was very Alinea-like and terrific. What you get with Joe Ziomek is tremendous amounts of experience and knowledge as well as a seemingly innate ability to pair wines imaginatively with foods. The list is small but quite solid and growing (they're starting from scratch and hope to double the size of the cellar over the next year). The pairings are ready for prime time and the net result is that wines at Quince take the dining experience to a level which one might not ordinarily find at this price point. Joe's knowledge and passion for what he does come through loud and clear. While the wine service at Quince doesn't define the experience, it certainly is a distinguishing factor.

After dinner we enjoyed a solid selection of tasty cheeses which included Manchego, Humboldt Fog and Cashel Blue. The cheeses were accompanied by fennel-raisin bread, sliced apple and Quince puree. Desserts were tasty too. I particularly enjoyed the banana bread pudding and the "Cider and Doughnuts," over which the four of us actively fought. Those doughnuts were light and fluffy, the cider glaze was aromatic and delivered that distinctive "bite" of acidity which defines freshly-pressed cider. Tea selection was thoughtful and exciting, with a bunch of interesting choices. The caffeine-free Earl Grey was excellent and the custom-blended coffees, sourced from Intelligentsia, were terrific too.

In addition to dinner service, Quince also serves a promising-looking Sunday brunch which offers several traditional favorites and several innovative variations as well. I definitely plan on returning not only for brunch but also for dinner, so I can try some of the other delicious sounding offerings that we couldn't try on our first visit. We wanted to eat more because the food was exciting and compelling -- and we wanted to taste everything. But damn, we were full. So, we'll get ourselves back to Quince soon and try some of those other dishes next time.

=R=

Quince at the Homestead

1625 Hinman Avenue

Evanston, IL 60201

(847) 570-8400

"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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:huh:

If one might ask, Ron: how's the price tag at Quince?  Comparable with Trio/Alinea, or maybe a touch more merciful?

:cool:

Well, it's a totally different ballgame in that you can order a la carte courses at Quince in addition to asking for a tasting menu.

From what I recall, entrees were priced mid-teens to mid-twenties with appetizers in the $7-$12 range. I don't have the menus in front of me but I think that's a fairly accurate recollection. And according to Quince's web site, a NYE tasting menu of 3 courses and glass of bubbly will run you $50; the later, four-course NYE meal, $75.

=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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  • 3 weeks later...

If one might ask, Ron: how's the price tag at Quince? Comparable with Trio/Alinea, or maybe a touch more merciful?

Don't bother trying to look anything up on the website - the paucity of information regarding the menu offerings is breathtaking. Hope they plan on fleshing it out in the near future. Does mention the hours, though (and Open Table reservation info, as well). They will be offering a Sunday brunch, which might be very pleasant.

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Last night, four of us had dinner at Quince. Overall, I think it is quite good, worth returning to, but there is some room for improvement in minor areas as well. Here is my review.

First, I will answer Lady T's question above about the prices on the menu. Ten starter courses were listed on the menu; six were priced $6-9, three were $11-14, and the foie gras was $18. Twelve entrees were listed; six were $16-19, five were $21-24, and the ribeye was $28. Desserts were mostly in the $7-9 range; ice cream and sorbet were priced at $2 per scoop, and I suspect the scoop is the same small ping pong ball size which accompanied the desserts we ordered. We also looked at the menu for their Sunday brunch, which has an assortment of breakfast type dishes (omelettes and other eggs, steak and eggs, French toast, pancakes) for $8-12 as well as salads and fish items for $9-12 and a ribeye sandwich for $15, along with several choices for children ($5-6).

When I phoned to make our reservation, I asked about appropriate attire. The woman cheerfully responded that "anything goes" and they want everyone to be comfortable, for an enjoyable experience. Throughout the dinner, I found that, as this implied, the staff seemed very upbeat, that they enjoy working there and they want everyone to have a good time. I observed perhaps 65 percent of the men with neither jacket nor tie, 25 percent with jacket but no tie, and 10 percent with jacket and tie. I didn't observe any blue jeans, and while I wouldn't recommend wearing neat jeans at dinner there, I doubt that anyone would look askance at them, either.

We were seated in the very pleasant dining room. It was comfortable, and not overly noisy as some restaurants these days can be.

I noticed two unusual and welcome things about the menu. One is that, on the back of the menu, the names of the entire staff were listed - not just the chef and host, but everyone, including the servers and the line cooks. I've never seen this before, and I think this is a great idea; it fosters a team spirit while giving everyone credit and recognizing their contributions. The other thing I noticed is that the wine list had unusually detailed descriptions of each wine, and arranged the dessert wines from least sweet to most, both of which can be very helpful to the wine neophyte. FWIW, a few of the items mentioned by Ron were not on the menu, notably the skate wing and the pineapple tart tatin; otherwise, the menu items were pretty much as listed above.

We started with six of the starter courses and asked that they be served together, which they were. They were accompanied by a choice of three breads: sourdough, whole wheat, and olive, which were very good. They also brought butter, which was somewhat soft, which I found a welcome change from the ice cold, hard butter often served with bread.

The seared foie gras (remember, this is Evanston, not Chicago) was served with roasted shallots (actually one large one), bleu crostini, and a blackberry on top ($18). It was excellent. The bleu cheese on the crostini made it very tasty; I ate it separately from the foie gras (rather than placing one on the other), for fear of the bleu cheese overpowering the foie gras. It was a nice accompaniment.

The bibb and crab salad included peeky toe crab served on baby leaves of bibb lettuce with crispy red onion and lemon ($11). It was delicious as well as beautiful.

I ordered the seared scallops served with turnip puree, black walnut vinaigrette, and mandarin orange sections ($14). I specifically asked for them to be "cooked through", at which the server nodded. Unfortunately, they were not; they were uncooked except the very outside edges, which I not only don't prefer, but also find makes them less flavorful. I realize that this is how scallops are often served; however, that is not how I asked for them. I should have sent them back, but did not. This was the only true "faux pas" of the evening.

The wilted spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette, red onion, tomato, and fried egg ($8) was very good, although there was perhaps an overabundance of dressing.

I did not try the other two starters we ordered, both of which looked good: salmon tartare, served with capers, eggs, smoked creme fraiche, and bagel chips ($9), and pickled greens, served with roasted beets, grapes, walnuts, goat cheese, and vinaigrette ($6).

For a main course, I ordered a double portion of an appetizer, the crispy sweetbreads with mustard spaetzle and micro cole slaw ($12 times two). The sweetbreads were delicious, although slightly on the dry side (perhaps slightly overcooked?). The portion size was surprisingly large for an appetizer (assuming that the appetizer serving is one of the two pieces I received as the double portion). The nice sized portion of tiny (rice grain size) spaetzle was superb as well. For me, this was the best dish of the evening. It, and perhaps the foie gras, were the only dishes "to die for".

The sturgeon schnitzel (prepared like any schnitzel, pounded thin, breaded, and lightly fried) with pomme puree, melted leeks and shitakes, pearl onion glaze ($19) was tasty, but it too was somewhat on the dry side.

The pork tenderloin with goat cheese gemelli, broccolini, and honey lavender glaze ($19) was ordered "cooked through" (explicitly asking for "not pink") and this time, the request was honored and this how it was served. It was very good.

The chestnut stuffed squab with butternut squash risotto, cinnamon cream, and cranberry sauce ($21) was also very good.

We shared two desserts, and they were somewhat of a disappointment.

The huckleberry shortcake was arranged with huckleberries and dried plum ice cream, accompanied by a small glass of pistachio soda ($8). All of it was quite tasty. However, the portion size was very small, with the shortcake perhaps two inches across and the two pieces (top and bottom) each perhaps half an inch high. Huckleberries are very small (half the size of peas) and they were arranged attractively over the shortcake and ice cream. We all laughed at the name of the ice cream flavor, which sounded like they were intentionally avoiding the use of the word "prune".

The banana bread pudding with coconut sorbet and peanuts ($8) was more disappointing. For one thing, there was nothing puddinglike in its consistency; it was rather dry, like the consistency of a coffee cake. I expect bread pudding to at least be VERY moist (centered on bread but with a custardlike consistency), and it's even acceptable for there to be custard in any voids between bread pieces when baking. The portion size of this dessert, too, was quite small (roughly 4" x 2" and maybe 3/4" high). While I am not an advocate of oversized portions, both desserts seemed smaller than I would have expected. (Portion sizes of earlier dishes were adequate, except for the sweetbreads, which seemed on the generous size, as previously noted.) Another member of our group ordered a plate of three cheeses ($8) which I did not try.

The service was efficient and friendly. There were a few very minor lapses, mostly concerning coffee and tea service (sweetener was neither brought nor offered when serving iced tea, it was not brought when requested and we had to ask a second time, no spoon was served when coffee was first served).

We went easy on wine (five glasses among the four of us) and our total was $78/person including tax/tip.

All in all, we had a delicious, enjoyable dinner. Although not everything was absolutely perfect, this was an auspicious start for a new restaurant (they have only been open a month). I look forward to returning in the future.

Quince

1625 Hinman Avenue

Evanston IL 60201-4570

847-570-8400

www.quincerestaurant.net

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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Dish, Chicago Magazine's weeky column, just printed a very negative and unnecessarily mean-spirited capsule review of Quince. I'll refrain from quoting any of their vitriol. It seems rather unfair and disingenuous to blast a new establishmet, which is just trying to get off the ground, based on a one-time experience. The "Power of the Pen" seems to have gone to the authors' heads. Based on this ignorant mini-piece, I can no longer consider Dish a reliable source of information. I now see it as nothing more than a self-righteous gossip column, and will take whatever I read in the future in it with a hefty grain of salt. Everyone's entitled to his/her opinion, of course, but the carelessness with which the negatives were spewed struck me as incongruous with the spirit to which the column purports to aspire, that is, the promotion of new places which are honestly trying to create and celebrate a dynamic restaurant scene in our area.

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I read their review. I think the biggest problem with it is that they are comparing Quince with the various iterations of Trio which preceded it in that location. I think that's totally unfair - unfair because there should be no expectations associated with a location, and unfair because they are totally different types of restaurants (casual/fun vs creative/formal, with the recent prices at Trio roughly triple those at Quince).

I don't think it deserves the drubbing it received. I stand by my review above; to summarize, on a scale of "poor/fair/good/very good/great", I consider it good.

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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I will agree with one thing that Pollack said, "it's the end of an era." I am shocked that the Dining Editor (is he a critique as well) of Chicago Magazine just figured it out. nsxtasy was right in deciphering the type of restaurant that Quince is. Upon my recent dining experience at Quince, I noticed the crowd's demeanor was livelier than what would have been at a restaurant of this caliber. I found the atmosphere, food and price of Quince to be more approachable than its previous tenant.

When people go in with expectations that don't fit the basic concept, they will surely be disappointed. Note to self, Quince is not Trio or Trio Atelier.

Not to go too off topic, but I agree with George that Dish is starting to sound more like a "self-righteous gossip column," rather than an information source.

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I was pleased to see a more detailed and measured review in this week's edition of Time Out Chicago:

Once you’re seated you get the sense that something unexpected or special, or both, is going to happen. And it does happen—once you get over not getting an amuse.

It happens with the sweetbreads—crispy, dusted with fennel pollen and, on one visit, plated on a pile of ethereal mustard spaetzle. It’s a dish that makes you wonder, Which is lighter? The offal or the spaetzle?, until you realize you’ve gone back and forth too many times, and there’s nothing left to taste. It happens again with the lamb spareribs, luscious meat hiding a creamy layer of fat, which are plated on top of toothsome curried lentils and served with a juicy shank-meat casserole topped with a savory, creamy eggplant mousse. And it happens with the flounder, firm and flaky under its crispy golden crust, with a pile of smoky, bacon-tossed brussels sprouts underneath. The red wine–braised short ribs with Roquefort risotto—a dish so big and rich it should come with a pillow for the nap you’ll have to take after you’re done—come with sweet-and-sour carrots that cut through all that heaviness.

Quince - Something special is happening in the former Trio space by David Tamarkin

=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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As one of the writers of the Dish column, I was obviously interested in this thread. I normally don't reply here, though I am always interested in what you folks are thinking - about restaurants and media coverage of them. I should say: I consistently respect the opinions that I find on these message boards.

I am curious what you believe the Dish column "purports to aspire" to. Yes, one of our goals is to provide information about restaurants - but the truth is, it is a gossip column. We are dining writers, and when we feel it's necessary, we pass judgment on restaurants. Even though it’s still new, we felt it necessary to pass judgment on Quince. In the press materials, a big deal was made of the fact that the restaurant was in the old Trio space – the Homestead people obviously were playing up the familiar address. Like it or not, people want to know how it compares to the space’s previous incarnations. Granted, it’s a tough spot for the Quince people, but that’s just a fact of life. If the item seemed overly negative, it’s probably because, based on the people involved, we had (and still have) such high hopes for the restaurant.

One other thing: We used our column as the forum for this because it certainly wouldn’t have been fair to rate a new restaurant in the magazine that quickly. We have a strict policy about that.

Hope this doesn't sour you on the Dish column completely.

Jeff

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One other thing: We used our column as the forum for this because it certainly wouldn’t have been fair to rate a new restaurant in the magazine that quickly. We have a strict policy about that.

So why is it fair to "review" them in a blast email that thousands of people read? I have to say (and maybe I'm a-typical), I read Dish more than I read the magazine. It's no better than when metromix does those "first look" articles about restaurants that have been open for a week.

-Josh

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

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I am curious what you believe the Dish column "purports to aspire" to. Yes, one of our goals is to provide information about restaurants - but the truth is, it is a gossip column. We are dining writers, and when we feel it's necessary, we pass judgment on restaurants. Even though it’s still new, we felt it necessary to pass judgment on Quince. In the press materials, a big deal was made of the fact that the restaurant was in the old Trio space – the Homestead people obviously were playing up the familiar address. Like it or not, people want to know how it compares to the space’s previous incarnations. Granted, it’s a tough spot for the Quince people, but that’s just a fact of life. If the item seemed overly negative, it’s probably because, based on the people involved, we had (and still have) such high hopes for the restaurant.

Feel free to compare it to Trio if you must, because it occupies the same space; that still seems a rather inane practice. But your blasting of a restaurant barely a month or two old based partly on the fact that it isn't up to the calibre of the space's previous tenant just doesn't hold water.

I was under the impression that you aspired to some kind of entertaining yet informative format. But swift and damning comments about a restaurant in the first stages of its life which affect the livelihoods of all those who work there are not entertaining to me.

Edited by gmi3804 (log)
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I did not try the other two starters we ordered, both of which looked good: salmon tartare, served with capers, eggs, smoked creme fraiche, and bagel chips ($9), and pickled greens, served with roasted beets, grapes, walnuts, goat cheese, and vinaigrette ($6).

I also initially read the second starter mentioned above as "pickled greens," but the menu actually reads "picked greens"---an odd choice of words for a simple item, but in any event what we are talking about is a fairly straitforward salad, with the beets and grapes served to the side on a teardrop shaped plate (presented horizontally).

I didn't want any fans of pickled greens rushing to Quince only to be disappointed :raz: .

My husband and I had a pre-theatre dinner there two nights ago (a Saturday). Our reservation was at 5:30 and we were the second table seated. By 7 o'clock the restaurant was completely full. Service was, as you'd expect, super attentive while there were only a few tables full of customers, but it declined markedly as the restaurant filled. We had trouble getting someone to take our credit card until we stood up and prepared to leave. But despite the sense that the staff was a little stressed by the full house, we enjoyed our evening very much. The atmosphere is calm and elegant, with lots of votive candles. The dress code did truly seem to be "anything goes," at least for men: I noticed at least two men in jeans, but no women wearing them. (One of the men in jeans was on crutches, FWIW). But you definitely could go without a jacket, even on Saturday night.

I had the sweetbread starter described by several others above. It is indeed a generous portion, but I didn't find it as tender and flavorful as some. The mustard spaetzle seemed a little gummy to me. My entree, sea bass, was much better. It was a moderate sized filet, topped with a salad-like combination of hearts of palm, red onion and tomato, ringed by a delicious basil cream. I would compare the dish favorably to fish entrees I've had anywhere in Chicago. My husband started with the "picked greens," and then had shrimp tortellini in a spicy red sauce. There were both tortellini stuffed with a shrimp mixture and sauce-glazed whole shrimp in the dish--very pretty, though after tasting it I preferred my choice.

For dessert my husband had the huckleberry shortcake, which was fairly petite as mentioned above, but I don't think that's such a bad thing in a dessert--most are too large. However, I didn't really like the cake used in the dish--it seemed to be a poppyseed cake, not a true shortcake. I had cheese to finish--3 choices for $8.00. I had the cashel blue, Pont l'Eveque and Humboldt Fog. The Pont l'Eveque was cold, which was disappointing, but the other cheeses were closer to room temperature. The portions were just right for one person.

I enjoyed the whole experience very much, especially at that price point. You could easily pay as much at Davis St Fishmarket for much more basic fare.

Edited by Midwesterner (log)
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  • 2 months later...

This week's Time Out Chicago selects Quince as one of the "five best holiday brunches in town."

A proper Easter deserves a proper brunch, and no brunch is as proper as the four-course extravaganza at Quince. Start with the “snack” course of croissants, scones, muffins and jams. From there choose a first course such as cucumber carpaccio with lime aioli or strawberry crêpes; a second course like lobster Benedict with vanilla hollandaise or duck confit with potato hash; and a finale of chocolate doughnuts or chocolate-chip cookies and coconut macaroons.

It sounds absolutely delicious :smile:

=R=

Edited by ronnie_suburban (log)

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

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