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imalbert's Profile

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Top 3 Hot Dogs

I'm going to have to try this place out. I like your #2 and #3 and especially with your omission of Hot Doug's and Superdawg since I think both those places are highly overrated.

May 05, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

Sorry to post without explanation.

I concur that good food does not equate to large quantities. As it stands I think America serves too large of portions, but that's for another discussion. But let me dive into my experience at the Bristol and address your points...

Food:
Starters: monkey bread, duck fat fries, crunchy snap peas, beef heart tartare,

Pasta: chitarra, raviolo

Mains: poached cod, roasted half chicken,

Desserts: basque cake, and chocolate cremeux.

Overall I found the food to be prepared nicely with good flavors. The portions were a bit small to be considered sharing dishes but nothing unreasonable.

Food options: I found their menu to be the perfect size. Not too large as to cause paralysis by analysis, and not too small as to prevent you from finding your fix.

Noise level/ambiance: I didn't find the noise to be overly loud or anything. Ambiance was nice.

Wait time: I made reservations easily and didn't have to wait to be seated.

Wine list/drink options: I don't drink so this didn't come into play.

Service: It was normal. Not great and not bad.

So why did I say "The food was good but the prices are pretty high for what you get." when they are doing many things right? I just found the food to be good but not good enough to justify their prices. I find that although their food is elevated from the everyday chains it wasn't elevated enough to come into the territory of fine dining (i.e. iNG).

May 05, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

Your review was spot-on. The food was good but the prices are pretty high for what you get.

May 03, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

Oh man. Things have changed! Yeah, last time I was there the service was impeccably timed so that all servers would serve the dishes, unveil the dishes, and walk away at the same time. It was truly art in motion. The food matched the service too.

Never been to The Modern. I'll make sure to add that to my list. I can't wait to try out the Chef's table at Brooklyn Fare too.

Apr 29, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

Hello Jim,

I'm thinking I'm going try out Topolobampo first, but I appreciate the recommendation. Also, I was originally from San Diego so that's what fueled my craving for some good mexican food :)

I've been to Purple Pig once and didn't really enjoy the food. And it's funny, Purple Pig gets a lot of mixed reviews so it just depends who you speak to. I'll have to go again to see if anything changed.

I have tried out Korean at San Soo Gab San, Indian on Devon Ave, etc and although good, the prices are just insane. I guess I'm just used to Cali prices.

Apr 29, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

I can't express how happy I was with the experience. Chef Foss is the man.

Apr 29, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

Good to know. I have reservations for Thursday and now I'm wondering if I should go somewhere else...

Apr 29, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

Never had New Haven style..what makes it such?

Apr 29, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

I can't wait to go and experience it for myself!

Apr 29, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

Well, I must say that I am starting to see the light thanks to fellow chowhounders! I was lucky enough to try out El Ideas and iNG this weekend.

El Ideas was one of my best experiences! The consistency of each dish that came out was amazing. Not only was the presentation unique and beautiful but the flavors were crisp, deep, and perfectly matched. And as you may come to notice, I believe flavors outranks everything. As if that wasn't good enough, Chef Foss and his team are true superstars. Their motto was to present fine dining without the pretentious and stuffy atmosphere. Well, they certainly accomplished that. In between servings we walked to the designated section where you can interact with the team and watch them perform their magic. Not only were they approachable and fun to talk to but they were very open and honest. I mean Chef Foss even let me see their walk-in refrigerator. I know, I'm weird, but how often can you see the pro's refrigerator? haha

iNG had a fun and whimsy atmosphere. The food was very creative and the pairing drinks matched. I opted for non-alcoholic pairings since I don't drink and the concoctions they made were very tasty and unique. One that stuck out in my mind was the orange juice with cinnamon and maraschino cherry juice. Okay back to the main topic, their food. I wish I had a good review to present but all I could muster was an eh review. The food was fun, the miracle berry was a very unique experience, but the consistency of dishes was just not there. The first dish blew us away but then it went down hill from there. One dish was even too salty to finish. Oh well, maybe we got them on an off night.

Apr 28, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

I have and you're right, it's pretty good. But I've been craving a good white pie which you can't get at Costco.

So it looks like Coal Fire and Santullo's. Have you tried those, and if so, how did they compare to NYC Bagel?

Apr 25, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

Would you recommend ordering a whole pie or by the slice?

I definitely will! I think everyone on the forum has pointed me in the correct direction now :)

Apr 25, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

Thanks for the suggestions! The thought of a cali burrito and carne asada fries has slowly been creeping up...

Apr 25, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

Sounds good. Thanks for the input!

Apr 25, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

Awesome list! You've been very helpful. Keep up the good work!

Apr 25, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

I'm getting really excited to try it out! Thanks nsxtasy.

Apr 25, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

Is The Bristol worth trying?

Apr 25, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

I'm getting hungry already!

Apr 25, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

Thanks for the suggestion!

Apr 25, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

Thanks for your input. Yeah, my list could have been better but I wanted to throw it out there and start getting feedback. My sentence summary was just to give you an idea of my palate and not the conclusion to the restaurant or a ruling out factor of Chicago restaurants. I could go in more detail, I could list more restaurants, I could do more but l just wanted to get pointed in the right direction. And I agree that the whole experience defines a restaurant but I was simply stating that my experiences haven't lived up to their reputation based on the public (yelp, awards won, etc).

Others have given me a fair amount of restaurants to try so I'm very excited to see how those experiences stack up.

Apr 25, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

I've been trying to go to Sun Wah for a few times but I keep getting there too late after going to Tank :) Thanks for sharing!

Apr 25, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

That's a very good way to go about it! I have been craving a few things and would really appreciate some suggestions. Where can I get a good NYC style pizza, a white pie more specifically, and a really good burger.

Thanks for the help ahead of time.

Apr 25, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

I was just stating sources I used to find "good" restaurants and the accolades that were bestowed upon them.

Apr 25, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

Thank you klyeoh and nsxtasy for the recommendations.

Apr 25, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

I can totally see that. But having yet to experience it, I can't add my two cents...yet.

Any good eats you would recommend? And yes, I will do my research prior to traveling. Just thought I would ask.

Apr 24, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

I agree with you on certain points and disagree with you on some too. You are correct that I have more to try and these new experiences may flip my opinion on its head. I also agree that not every dining experience can be a positive one. But I have to disagree with you in regards to my effort. Although I have more to try, the handful that I have tried ranging from fine dining down to the hole in the walls have not lived up to their ratings on Yelp, James Beard, Michelin Star, etc. Yes, you will get dealt a bad hand here and there in NYC, Vegas, LA, etc. but I've never been dealt this many subpar cards.

Seeing that my daily job is not a taste tester it will take me some time to visit these other restaurants, but I hope I can be a huge Chicago supporter like you. And thank you for your suggestions!

Apr 24, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

Thank you Klyeoh! I actually have a trip booked for New Orleans in the next few months. Let's see how it goes and I will report back.

Apr 24, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

You are correct, I have yet to try out any of your favorites. I look forward to trying them out. Thank you for the recommendations! Fingers crossed!

Apr 24, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area

Chicago = Overrated?

Am I missing something? Is my palate that off? I’ve enjoyed food in many different countries and different states. I just don’t get it. I moved here from San Diego a year ago and have been trying to immerse myself in all the great restaurants that Chicago has to offer. In my opinion, Chicago has a reputation of a great foodie destination just behind New York and San Francisco. Yet, all the hyped establishments have not lived up to their accolades. I am not trying to start anything, I am simply trying to enjoy great food. Good food does not have to equate to fine dining either. Please offer me some establishments that will fit the bill. Just to give you an idea of some of the establishments that I have visited and enjoyed outside of Chicago and ratings for Chicago restaurants.

Foodie Resume
• French Laundry (Napa) – Great food, plating, and service
• Bazaar (LA) – Inexpensive tasting menu that was awesome
• Toque (Montreal) – Foie Gras was great here
• Jean George’s (NYC) – Best service hands down
• Gotham Bar and Grill (NYC)– Fresh and tasty food
• San Tung (SF) – Dry fried chicken wings and black bean sauce noodles!
• Binkley’s (AZ) – Sloppy joe the size of a dime!
• Ink (LA) – Great innovative food
• Cut (LA) – Wagu steak
• Tacos El Gordo (San Diego) – Adobada tacos
• Lotus of Siam (Las Vegas) – Best thai food in the us!
• Oklahoma Joe’s (OKC) – Best bbq

Yum in Chicago (Would revisit)
• Francesco’s Hole in the Wall – Homey atmosphere with great food with a great price
• Gene and Jude’s Red Hot Stand – Taste better than Hot Doug’s but less selection
• Garrett’s Popcorn – Chicago Mix is weird but damn tasty
• Gino’s East – Not a huge fan of deep dish, but if I were to get one this would be it.
• 90 Miles Cuban Café – Puerco Rostizado had such deep flavors, Ropa Vieja was good too
• Millie’s – Fresh juices and great breakfast
• Nhu Lan – Banh Mi
• Chi Café – Tasty cheap chinese food

Eh (overrated) in Chicago (May revisit)
• Alinea – Good and solid food. Service was good, but not great. I thought Jean George’s (NYC), Bazaar (LA), Gotham Bar and Grill (NYC) were all better.
• Tru – Similar to Alinea except with worse service. For that type of establishment service should be outstanding yet I observed servers rolling their eyes at each other due to waiting for each other to serve.
• Hot Doug’s – Duck fat fries were dry and tasteless, hot dogs were creative but nothing special.
• Big Star – Their tacos although good can’t be compared to San Diego tacos.
• Xoco – San Diego Mexican food is better
• Irazu – 90 Miles was much more flavorful.

Yuck in Chicago (Would not revisit)
• Girl and the Goat – Every dish was so salty that the whole meal was comped. Even if the next meal was free, we wouldn’t go back.
• Big Jones – There was no flavor in any of their dishes and the batter for their friend chicken was too coarse. Too much use of corn meal. I mean Mariano’s fried chicken was better.
• Crisp – Bonchon in NYC or LA is far superior

Apr 24, 2013
imalbert in Chicago Area