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How often does Chef Achatz himself create the tableside dessert at Alinea?

That is interesting. Since the menu is exactly the same. But the final course (frozen mousse & creme brulee) is served on a plate instead of tableside.

Aug 24, 2011
theskinnyduck in Chicago Area

Somewhat dissapointed with Alinea

First, I am sorry that it was not a good experience.

That said, maybe the perspective was different? What I meant is that, Alinea's staff is well known for being professional but non-pretentious. They occasionally throw out some jokes here and there. This is unlike many other 3-star restos where no joke is allowed, and conversations with the guests must be kept at minimum. Are you sure that their comment on the centerpiece was not one of those tongue in cheek moment? Of course, whether or not it was serious, making the guest feels offended is not-acceptable.

Like you, I am also young, and in many restaurants, the majority of diners is nearly twice my age. At first, I was quite self conscious with that fact, but that truly takes some toll out of the experience. Maybe this also applies to your case?

Aug 17, 2011
theskinnyduck in Chicago Area

Best Tasting Menu in Chicago

The last time I made a reservation at Alinea, that's 150 phone calls in the first hour. Sure it's not as hard as TFL, but you still need to wait for that first day of reservation, and many people have work commitment at 10am.

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Alinea
1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

Aug 09, 2011
theskinnyduck in Chicago Area

Best Tasting Menu in Chicago

Alinea. Hard to see any other contender. A pain to get a reservation though.

If you need a second choice, I would say Tatami Room at L2O.

Aug 09, 2011
theskinnyduck in Chicago Area

uhockey reviews a quick trip to Chicago: 6/16-6/18: Including Next, Avenues, Naha, Longman & Eagle, M.Henrietta, Doughnut Vault, and more.

> It sounds like Aviary is now pretty easy to get into. Leaving cost out of
> it, how easy would it be to make a full meal out of the bites there do
> you think?

There bites there are REALLY small, each piece is about an inch-cube. We had a 10-course tasting with quite many bites, but they're like nothing.

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Jul 27, 2011
theskinnyduck in Chicago Area

How often does Chef Achatz himself create the tableside dessert at Alinea?

Lol, that does have some truth to it. He is very quiet and focused while preparing the dessert. If you can meet him at the kitchen after the meal, however, he's a nice person to talk to.

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Jul 26, 2011
theskinnyduck in Chicago Area

How often does Chef Achatz himself create the tableside dessert at Alinea?

This information is actually from a conversation with a front of the house personnel. Chef Achatz always tries to cover as many tables as possible. For most nights, he covers them all. Once in a while, when many tables finish at the same time, he can't, so another chef will need to cover for him. Also, in some rare occasions, he mayl not be at Alinea at all (Next's first day of a new menu for example). So my suggestion is that, avoid the first 10 days of October (since this is when the new menu for Next is introduced). Also, pace yourself to make sure that you don't finish at the same time with a lot of people.

About book signing. Yes, he does sign them if he has time. Most often time, he will make time to sign (and chat with you a bit). I would reserve a late time slot, so that when finish, he is not too busy anymore.

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Jul 25, 2011
theskinnyduck in Chicago Area

uhockey reviews a quick trip to Chicago: 6/16-6/18: Including Next, Avenues, Naha, Longman & Eagle, M.Henrietta, Doughnut Vault, and more.

Truly uncooked chicken, unlike many other uncooked meat, can be dangerous since it can carry salmonella without being detected.

Chicken can be pinkish but fully cooked (via sous-vide), those are safe. This practice becomes very common lately. I can't tell if L&E sous-vide their chicken since I never had their fried chicken; though I would not be surprised if they do.

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Jul 23, 2011
theskinnyduck in Chicago Area

Limited time and want it alll

I am pretty sure that the 7-course is cheaper than that (since the 10-course KT is $165). If I remember correct, the 7-course is around $120 or $125.

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Jul 23, 2011
theskinnyduck in Chicago Area

Limited time and want it alll

For cocktails, I recommend 2 places. The first one is for great cocktails, the second one is for very unique/fun but still good cocktails.
- A solid place would be the Drawing Room. Mixologist Charles Joly works there every Friday and Saturday night. Seat at the bar, don't seat at the tables. Tell them what you like (flavor, texture, strength, whatever..) and they will custom make the cocktails for you. Charles Joly is arguably one of the top mixologists in the nation, so seat back, and enjoy. You need to make reservations, the place is full during the weekend.
- The second place would be The Aviary. Newly opened during the Spring, the place serves VERY unique cocktails. You cannot order custom-made one like above, only off menu, but the experience is like no where else. They also offer Kitchen Table option, it will be a 4 hour long of 10 different cocktails. That can be fun too. Of course, reservation is always needed for the weekend.

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Jul 22, 2011
theskinnyduck in Chicago Area

Best BYOBs in the City

Yeah, I agree that corkage fee can be insane. The French Laundry charges $75 per bottle.

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Jul 21, 2011
theskinnyduck in Chicago Area

Best BYOBs in the City

Are you looking for best BYOB (per title) or new BYOB (per post body)? For Best BYOB, I would go for Bonsoiree. Besides awesome food and friendly (but still professional) services, they also have recommendations on which wines you should bring (to best pair with their menu).

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Jul 19, 2011
theskinnyduck in Chicago Area

Restaurant recommendations with a color in the name

Besides Purple Pig, on top of my head there are Blackbird ( www.blackbirdrestaurant.com ) and one sixtyblue ( www.onesixtyblue.com ).

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Jul 19, 2011
theskinnyduck in Chicago Area

TRU or Everest. Which would you pick?

Both TRU and Everest are great. Comparing them is like apple and orange. Since you like Alinea and L2O, TRU might be a bit more appealing (modernist/temporary). Other top restaurants in the city are: Charlie Trotter's, Avenues, Seasons, Sixteen.

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Jul 19, 2011
theskinnyduck in Chicago Area

Duffy leaving Avenues

From Eater Chicago, they're aiming for a Spring 2012 opening date, Curtis is likely to leave Avenues sometime in September.

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Jul 14, 2011
theskinnyduck in Chicago Area