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grimaldi's Profile

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Please pick just one restaurant of each for me!

Even if price was no limit, I would skip Spiaggia. The best Italian should never be that over-the-top on any level; Cafe Spiaggia is as far as anyone should take it. Piccolo Sogno is a loud, lewd, crowded mess; food is good, but not good enough. Prosecco is a better option so long as they give you the complimentary prosecco.

As for the steaks, neither David Burke's stinky meat nor Chicago Cut would make anyone's top five in Chicago. Chicago Cut does have a beautiful view, but that's about it. I won't give other suggestions since the OP seems to have made up their mind, but I would give middling grades to each, no more.

Jul 01, 2013
grimaldi in Chicago Area

Absolute best burger in Chicago?

I still don't understand Lakin's reasoning in opening the Lincoln Park location and not having the char-burgers available. I know he claimed the spot couldn't accommodate a flame grill, but that's like opening a steakhouse and only serving one cut of meat. Big mistake. The place is good if small, shakes great, fries awesome, but the char-burger beats the griddled ones (folks, you don't fry a burger -- not ever, not anywhere) any day of the week. Not really worth a visit otherwise.

Mar 31, 2013
grimaldi in Chicago Area

Bavette's - a Review - and the best brandade I've had in quite some time.

Understood. I'm similar in that I'd rather try as much of a given menu than linger on any one thing, and meat does tend to commandeer too much stomach estate of any given meal.

Dec 09, 2012
grimaldi in Chicago Area

Bavette's - a Review - and the best brandade I've had in quite some time.

Spot-on review. Our experience with the host and hostess was precisely the same as yours -- a pair of pretentious ass-hat power-trippers who did the place no favors -- followed by some of the best table service we've ever had. The spot has great atmosphere and fills up fast considering its location. The food, while very good, did nothing to blow our minds, but we'd still go back to try out other items.

I've got to ask, uhockey, though I'm sure you've answered this elsewhere before... why don't you eat beef? I know you like foie, offal and other juicy aspects, but what is the mindset or reasoning behind your abstention from beef flesh? Just curious, not judging.

Dec 08, 2012
grimaldi in Chicago Area

Caesar's Palace Bacchanal Buffet

Just thought I'd post an update:

All prices have been jacked up by 20%. They no longer serve king crab legs at lunch, only dinner. Also, other premium meats, seafood, regional dishes and desserts have been limited to evening hours. They have cut back on staff, leaving major parts of the restaurant blocked off without servers and/or service, thereby packing the queue to get in. Such a shame. Anyone who went in the first 2-3 weeks, consider yourself lucky.

Oct 18, 2012
grimaldi in Las Vegas

Frontera Grill Still All It's Cracked Up To Be?

It's not what it used to be, and if you're not in the mood to line up 30 mins prior to opening, that's a lot of hype to live up to. It's not bad by any means, but whenever a celeb chef begins spreading the reaches of their empire, quality will undoubtedly suffer... and it has. That said, I went to XOCO the other day and the short rib Pepito, guac and chips, churros et al. were as good as ever. I would recommend XOCO for an early lunch, or mid-afternoon snack, and plan better meals elsewhere. I just don't think Frontera Grill is worth the wait.

Oct 11, 2012
grimaldi in Chicago Area

Any Word on Buca @ Four Seasons?

I know there's a Cafe Boulud there as well, however a second TO Buca was supposed to open at the FS this month. I was just wondering if anyone had heard rumblings or had been to the hotel yet to know how close they are to Buca 2's opening night?

We'll be making a trip there shortly and it would be more convenient to try the Yorkville location than the one on King St.

Oct 10, 2012
grimaldi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Any Word on Buca @ Four Seasons?

It was supposed to open this month, as the hotel just opened last week. Anyone know the current status of the outpost or heard whispers of an opening date?

Oct 10, 2012
grimaldi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Boulud in Toronto?

Like any celeb chef with more than one venue, it's physically impossible to do better than that. Diners should know that going in. Even Keller with his closed-circuit hook-up between TFL and Per Se is hardly a substitute. Bottom line, once a chef opens their second joint, things can only go down from there. And if they maintain quality or go up, it's because they hired on a talented and enterprising upstart who took over, and will soon have a place of their own -- not because of the original celeb chef.

Oct 07, 2012
grimaldi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Caesar's Palace Bacchanal Buffet

I wonder how the service would have been had you ordered the all-you-can-drink alcohol? Would they have paid better attention to you or would you have been really screwed by never getting your money's worth? I haven't been often enough to see the difference myself.

Oct 02, 2012
grimaldi in Las Vegas

Caesar's Palace Bacchanal Buffet-Best Times

I never go to breakfast buffets. They aren't any cheaper than ordering someplace a la carte and you're not getting the premium buffet items they serve at other times. At Bacchanal, I would go for lunch (get in line around 10:30a for the 11a lunch service) or dinner, which I believe starts at 4:00p. If you can, avoid Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but if you can't, go early and be prepared to wait. Also note, they only serve king crab legs -- no more stone crabs or snow crabs -- people found them too hard to open. Enjoy.

Oct 02, 2012
grimaldi in Las Vegas

Best Italian restaurant in mag mile area?

I'm not sure if you folks know what Riccardo Trattoria is exactly. First off, it's nowhere near the Mag Mile -- it's in Lincoln Park, and it does not have a large outdoor terrace. I've been there many times and it's better than average, but I don't know if I'd go out of my way for it.

Skip Spiaggia as it's overpriced and undersized in portions. Cafe Spiaggia is a better bet if the menu appeals to you. I found the original Piccolo Sogno to be overhyped, way too loud and quite middling in its fare. Due is better in terms of ambiance but they haven't gotten their act together yet with regards to food. I'd still steer people towards Prosecco. I have never been let down there in terms of food, service or atmosphere.

Oct 02, 2012
grimaldi in Chicago Area

My Baccanal Buffet (Caesar's Palace) review - LONG

They stopped serving them on Friday. As I said, they might come back, but that's a pretty quick kill on what some might consider a big draw.

Sep 22, 2012
grimaldi in Las Vegas

My Baccanal Buffet (Caesar's Palace) review - LONG

So it appears the dumbing down has already begun. They have already stopped serving stone crabs altogether -- that the first week of diners got lucky as they were only trying it out. They may come back in the future but they have stopped serving them as of now.

Sep 22, 2012
grimaldi in Las Vegas

Graham Elliott

GE has got some serious problems, and I mean the chef as much as the resto. It's not a coincidence or atmospheric anomaly that he keeps losing talent. Then again, he did train under Charlie Trotter, and was probably the chef's most avid supporter, and so their tyrannical egos are cut from the same cloth. I've been to GE and it was good, not great; been to the sandwich shop and it was OK, not good. He needs to spend more time working the line and getting his ship righted than spending time on TV or growing his empire.

Rome wasn't built in a day... but it did burn down in one night.

Sep 20, 2012
grimaldi in Chicago Area

My Baccanal Buffet (Caesar's Palace) review - LONG

Excellent report, and a thorough visualization for those of us who have yet to go. We'll probably pay a visit later this year, but I'm wondering how long until this buffet starts to cut corners the way Bellagio and Wynn (and now Wicked Spoon) have done. They create a magnetic venue, get the great reviews, then slash and save knowing they don't have to do better anymore. Hopefully, BB will maintain its quality and allure, at least until we get there. Then they can do whatever they want. :-)

Sep 18, 2012
grimaldi in Las Vegas

Any Reports on the New Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace?

The real question is whether or not they serve king crab legs at lunch. With the exception of brunches, no other buffet in Vegas does that to my knowledge. According to the initial reviews, I believe they do serve them for lunch (though I'm only going by the first day open and the times the reviews were posted). If so, that would certainly contribute to the higher price tag with regards to the competition.

If anybody has visited for lunch, please let us know what "premium" items are on the menu, and/or how it measures up to their dinner if you visited, or other buffets on the strip.

Sep 11, 2012
grimaldi in Las Vegas

What was the name of this restaurant???

Monday's? Maybe not.

Aug 21, 2012
grimaldi in Chicago Area

2013 Michelin Star Handicapping

If the reviewers can't procure tickets to Next, and don't feel like jumping through hoops to get them, then Next shouldn't be on the list at all. It doesn't matter where it belongs, or that it belongs, they have no obligation to award it anything from a bib to *** if it's an impossible meal to obtain.

Aug 21, 2012
grimaldi in Chicago Area

Looking for decadent Sunday Brunch

In the far back they provide the typical breakfast items: waffles, MTO omelets, breakfast meats, fruits, pastries, etc. There is a sushi chef creating rolls and nigiri, though they do not take requests. There are numerous small plates with salads, various "tapas-like" dishes. There is a long table of more lunch/dinner plates of pastas, duck, pork, fish and beef dishes. They have Peking duck which they carve-to-order. Also, there is a dessert table in the middle with a lot of chocolate options and other various delicacies.

Aug 19, 2012
grimaldi in Chicago Area

Looking for decadent Sunday Brunch

I never said anything negative about anyone. Only that it created a more crowded and thus less attentive atmosphere. Not an opinion, a fact and an observation.

Aug 19, 2012
grimaldi in Chicago Area

Looking for decadent Sunday Brunch

I was just about to correct the time myself. Thanks. Yes, indeed, go at 10:00am!

I've been to Shaw's six times in the past year and it's getting more and more crowded each time, I'll assume because buffet brunches are no longer in abundance in Chicago. Nor am I making a generalized statement here -- this is a first-hand observation -- however there is a particular ethnicity that LOVES seafood buffets, and each time I've gone their numbers have increased on order of four to five times. That's why I suggest going when they first open. Afterwards, service, waiting in line, and replenishment of selection becomes more of a struggle than a standard. Also, I never liked that kids under 12 eat free. That's just inviting a family element into what is otherwise an adult venue, the parents never care that their kids are just ransacking the dessert tables, and it brings down the whole atmosphere. However, all of that speaks of the clientele, not the food or beverage. I can distinctly separate the two.

So once again: the earlier the better.

Aug 19, 2012
grimaldi in Chicago Area

Looking for decadent Sunday Brunch

Sixteen and NoMI used to do very decadent brunches -- in fact Sixteen probably had the best as the dining room alone on a bright, sunny Sunday morning was worth the price of admission alone. I guess there just wasn't enough profit to be made from all that food. The Ritz and Four Seasons used to do it as well, alas, they, too, have gone the route of a la carte. So when it comes to decadent buffet brunches, as nsxtasy has stated, you are left with Shaw's and The Lobby at the Peninsula. I can confirm that The Lobby does still do a buffet, and it's a beautiful room, and the choices are in abundance, however even when all of the top hotel-restos were doing buffets, it would have been #3 on my list. Also, it's rather expensive with mimosas et al. it could get up to $100 per head w/tax & tip. Shaw's is primarily seafood, and not the largest selection, but still one of my faves for king crab legs, carving stations, MTO omelets, ambiance and service. North Pond's a little out of the way and cute, but nothing extraordinary. I live not a five minute walk from there, been there for every meal they serve and it's OK. Nothing special. If you go to Shaw's, however, take note: Make your rez for 10:30a when they open as it will get crowded over the following hour. Enjoy.

Aug 19, 2012
grimaldi in Chicago Area

Chicago Solo

Agreed. People need to get over themselves about L&E. Unless you're in that neighborhood, absolutely no reason to go out of your way to eat there.

Aug 17, 2012
grimaldi in Chicago Area

Need (3) Recs -- Money No Object

As soon as we get back we'll update this thread so you know how things went. We used to go to Toronto all the time, living so close. Now, we're in the States and haven't been back in years. I'm sorry we only have a single day to check things out, or else a healthy weekend would've been just up our alley. Anyway, there are too many good choices and only 3 1/2 meals to play with. Decisions, decisions.

Aug 09, 2012
grimaldi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Need (3) Recs -- Money No Object

Do you prefer Toca over Deq?

Aug 08, 2012
grimaldi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Need (3) Recs -- Money No Object

I realized Black Hoof's hours after I posted, which is probably for the best since we wouldn't have that much stomach real estate to play with. Hoof Cocktail might be the way to go, although Bar Chef does look interesting before or after dinner.

I guess breakfast is the weakest meal as it's on a weekday. We were really hoping for one of those places that just does awesome French toast and omelets in a cute little setting. Every city seems to have them, and I'm sure TO does too, but only on weekends.

Aug 08, 2012
grimaldi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Need (3) Recs -- Money No Object

Thanks for the fantastic suggestions. I would like to throw in someplace with an ethnic tinge, and Lai Wah Heen seems like a perfect fit. I considered Buca, but the reviews are either love it or hate it and I don't want to take that chance. Also considering Black Hoof for a little pre-dinner snack and/or cocktails, but we may or may not get out of there with an appetite for dinner.

Aug 08, 2012
grimaldi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Need (3) Recs -- Money No Object

We were thinking about Splendido for dinner and Canoe for lunch. If that is the consensus, I think we're good to go. Any ideas on a great breakfast place, and a place for cocktails? We'll be in town on a weekday, midweek.

Aug 07, 2012
grimaldi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Need (3) Recs -- Money No Object

SO and I will be in TO in about a month and we need recommendations for one breakfast, lunch and dinner in the central downtown area. Although we will have a car, we'd rather not drive anywhere as time is a factor, so nothing more than a modest cab ride.

We have no budget. We don't care what any meal costs, we just want the best that TO has to offer. I'm considering Splendido or George for dinner. Not sure which is better. We've been to Scaramouche, Opus and North 44 in the past. I'm hoping the experts can give us their wishlist for a 24-hour culinary tour de force. Also, if you have any suggestions for drinks before or after dinner, please don't hesitate.

Aug 07, 2012
grimaldi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)