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Chicago Dinner for 8-10

I've been rather disappointed with Sol de Mexico. If you'd like to enjoy our contemporary Mexican cuisine, I'd stick to Frontera Grill (mentioned above), Mexique, or Mixteco Grill, all of which are easy to get to from downtown.

about 21 hours ago
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Family August trip to Chicago - need some help and direction please

>> 1. Is there a dud on my list or a must-do, in your opinion?

No duds. I consider Sable and Jam as "must do"s. Also Anteprima, as long as the location isn't too inconvenient for you. I'd add deep-dish pizza, such as at Lou Malnati's, as a "must do". And Garrett's Popcorn, too.

>> 2. The birthday boy loves a good bouillabaisse or zuppa de pesce - any good ideas for this?

The problem there is reconciling his desire for seafood with your daughter's dislike for it, which rules out seafood-focused restaurants. So perhaps go to a good French bistro for bouillabaisse (it's on La Sardine's website lunch menu, not the dinner menu) or a good Italian restaurant (you have Piccolo Sogno and Anteprima on your list) for zuppa de pesce.

>> 3. He also loves basic sushi - spicy salmon rolls, spider rolls, etc. Any good place for mainstream sushi downtown?

I don't eat sushi. Hopefully someone else can guide you on that question. Again, though, this could be a problem for your daughter.

>> 4. I am overwhelmed with Sunday brunch options - are there some places that accept reservations that are awesome?

North Pond and Shaw's.

North Pond is the elegant restaurant in the middle of the park, facing its namesake pond with the city skyline looming over the opposite shore. When you make a reservation, ask for seating in the front room with the full-length windows. The food there is as outstanding as the setting; I had dinner there a week ago and it was wonderful, the best I've had in six months. On Sundays they serve an a la carte brunch, which is a great way to enjoy the food and setting without spending as much as you would at dinner.

Shaw's Crab House has an all-you-can-eat buffet. At $55 it's not inexpensive as brunches go, but it's really terrific. Highlights include king crab legs both hot and cold, crab cakes, the best thick-cut caramelized bacon you've ever had, smoked fish, a carving station with filet mignon and often also roast turkey, custom-made omelets, and the best crème brulee in the city.

>> 5. We would like to find a great steakhouse (daughter can have salads and chicken). Gibson's? Michael Jordan's (son would like this I am sure) or Chop House?

More steak aficionados consider David Burke's Primehouse to be the best in Chicago than any other steakhouse. A plus with Burke's is that their menu is much more varied than the typical steakhouse; I'm sure your daughter will find something there.

about 21 hours ago
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

pretheatre meal near Ford Oriental Theatre

I haven't been there, sorry. Hopefully others here have, and can provide input. Keep in mind, it just opened last summer, and it typically takes a while before very many people have tried a place.

You can read Phil Vettel's recent review in the Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com/features/food/...

Apr 16, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Special Dinner In Chicago? Where to go?

For our more unusual breakfast specialty restaurants, you'll have to travel at least a little bit. Jam, for example, is five miles northwest of the Loop, where Millennium Park is. About a mile south of Millennium Park, at Roosevelt (12th) and Wabash, is Bongo Room, which specializes in creative pancakes with sauce, such as pretzel pancakes with white chocolate caramel sauce. Their standard portion size is three gigantic pancakes; you can also order one-third and two-thirds portion sizes, which lets you try more than one dish. Another of our very best breakfast places is/are M. Henrietta and M. Henry, way up on the north side; M. Henrietta is at the Granville el stop, but I'm guessing perhaps that's a bit far to travel. Those three are perhaps our most unusual.

Breakfast specialty places fairly close to Millennium Park include Eggy's Diner in Lakeshore East, and Yolk on Ohio east of Michigan. Yolk also has a location a mile south, near Bongo Room. Lou Mitchell's is just west of the Loop. These places are not as creative/unusual as the previous group, but they are geographically more convenient.

Some other options in/near the Loop are not exactly breakfast specialty restaurants, but are worth considering: Toni Patisserie for French pastry and breads, Intelligentsia for coffee (locations on Randolph and on Jackson), and Do-Rite Donuts, Firecakes, and Glazed and Infused (location on Hubbard) for donuts. These last two are just across the river, north of the Loop. Do-Rite serves Dark Matter coffee also.

www.jamrestaurant.com
www.thebongoroom.com
www.mhenrietta.com
www.mhenry.net
www.eggysdiner.com
www.eatyolk.com
www.loumitchells.com
www.tonipatisserie.com
www.intelligentsiacoffee.com
www.doritedonuts.com
www.firecakesdonuts.com
www.goglazed.com

Apr 16, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Special Dinner In Chicago? Where to go?

Perhaps there will be multiple celebrations, with some of them around but not on her birthday.

Apr 16, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Madison (UW) close to campus not miss?

The Capitol square area is walking distance from campus. The Old Fashioned, on the square, was already mentioned. For breakfast/brunch, go to Marigold Kitchen, just off the square. You probably won't have a need for upscale food, but if you do, L'Etoile and Harvest are both on the square also.

Apr 16, 2014
nsxtasy in Great Lakes

Anyone been to Kinmont?

I had dinner at Kinmont tonight, and I was not impressed.

I started with the King Crab Gratin. I had hoped for a dish with lots of lumps of Alaskan king crab and lots of crab taste, but 'twas not to be. There was way too much "cheesy" flavor and way too little "crabby" flavor, and not enough crab. Since it was a fairly small portion size, and since Kinmont is supposed to be a seafood restaurant, is a lot of crabmeat really too much to ask? Apparently it is. Furthermore, even though there wasn't much crab in the dish, the crab was apparently not sufficiently picked through, since there were two separate pieces of crab cartilege in the dish. This dish was a definite "miss" in every way.

I then had the rainbow trout in brown butter. I liked the trout, but hated the brown butter. Not only did I not like the taste of the brown butter, but it overpowered the delicate taste of the trout. Fortunately, it was easy enough to scrape the brown butter off the top of the fileted trout, so I could eat the trout and leave the brown butter over. So the preparation was a "miss" but my enjoyment of the trout itself made this a "hit".

There were only two desserts available - seriously? - and I didn't find either one appealing. (They were an apple pie with cheddar cheese, and an ice cream sandwich using peanut butter cookies.) So I didn't have dessert. I consider the limited selection a big disappointment.

The service was okay but I got the distinct impression that the dining room (which was full) was understaffed with servers. There were not many servers, and they all seemed extremely busy. My server was friendly and helpful but there were times when she was too busy with other tables to come by, and I could tell that this was not her fault, she was doing the best she could. The bus staff and runners seemed adequate, but not the waiters/waitresses. I could maybe understand a dining room being stretched thin at a peak period, but this was a weeknight, and Kinmont has been filling the place up. Hopefully they will hire additional waitstaff now that they are pulling in crowds.

Also, the dining room was VERY VERY LOUD. It's the kind of place where you're half shouting to people at your own table to be heard. The music, with the bass cranked up THUMP-A-THUMP-A-THUMP made this substantially worse. It's too bad restaurants do this, because for many of us who go out to eat to enjoy spending time with others, having to shout and strain to hear each other makes dining an unpleasant experience.

So no, I was not impressed with Kinmont, for all of these reasons.

Apr 15, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

pretheatre meal near Ford Oriental Theatre

I've eaten at Sable quite a few times, and while I can accept that you didn't enjoy it, I just don't think your description of the food is accurate or fair. The food is what it is - NOT bar food at all, but rather, some of the best contemporary American food in the city, most of it available in half portions so you can try lots of dishes. With dishes like sweet corn crème brulee, duck sausage with pistachio, and a flavored panna cotta, Chef Terhune is making food that many of us find creative and delicious, worthy of the finest restaurants in town. You're welcome to your opinion and I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it, but those are fine dishes, not endless fries and chips and cheese curds, so please don't label it "bar food" because it's anything but.

I would encourage anyone considering Sable - as well as any other restaurant in the city - to take a look at the sample menus on their website. If it sounds good to you, you'll probably love it. If not, then you may be better off choosing a place whose menu is more appealing to you.

Apr 15, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Indianapolis & Bloomington on Easter Sunday

Unfortunately, many of the better places in Indianapolis are closed on Sundays.

The Oceanaire is excellent, though, and it's open on Sundays. So is Palomino, which is very good also. Both are downtown, a few blocks from Lucas Oil Stadium. Both are serving brunch earlier in the day on Easter, and dinner after 4.

www.theoceanaire.com
www.palomino.com

You'll find info about what places in Indy are open and what they're doing for Easter on Opentable, at www.opentable.com/promo.aspx?m=44&...

Incidentally, it's not worth looking for something between the airport and downtown, as it's only a short drive with not much along the way for eating.

Apr 15, 2014
nsxtasy in Great Lakes

Special Dinner In Chicago? Where to go?

Yes, that's correct. Sable is terrific - a casual place with an open kitchen where you can watch them prepare the food. The bar itself (the other side of the hoststand/entrance) is one of the best places for craft cocktails, and a lot of folks go there just for drinks. But the food is absolutely top notch. I love the fact that you can order half portions, so you can try a lot of different things. Naha is terrific in its own way, but it is a very different place to eat, very upscale and elegant, rather than brash and trendy like Sable. In MSP terms, Naha is comparable to La Belle Vie (which I liked very much).

>> I like you suggestions for breakfast/lunch/brunch as well. We are leaving out late afternoon on Monday so catching a lunch at a place is also possible.

Great! Just be aware that our breakfast/brunch specialty places (including Jam, perhaps our best) don't accept reservations, and waits to be seated on Sundays between 9:30 and 1:00 can be lengthy (30-60 minutes). So for Sunday brunch you might want to consider a place that accepts reservations (such as North Pond). Weekdays, our breakfast/brunch places have no waits at all, so maybe Monday will be a good day for breakfast at Jam. (Or lunch at Naha.) Also note that Jam is open till 3 pm and is on the way to O'Hare (right next to the Logan Square el stop), so if you're flying home from O'Hare, it may be convenient to go on your way to the airport. It's also on the way if you're driving home from downtown Chicago.

Another word about Jam, because it's rather unique. (It's not like Hell's Kitchen in Minneapolis, for example, which is great for breakfast but also unique.) The chef-owner of Jam, Jeff Mauro, has a fine-dining background, and wanted to create a casual, inexpensive, fun breakfast-focused restaurant but with food that's way more creative (and delicious) than most. Just a great place.

>> are there any great, solely, cocktail bars that are a must visit?

Eater's "cocktail heat map" is a pretty good guide: http://chicago.eater.com/archives/201...

Apr 15, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Best french bistro (Bistro Campagne? Bistrot Margot?Chez Simo Bistro?)

I haven't been to Le Bouchon so I can't really compare the atmosphere at the two. I can tell you that La Sardine is a casual, comfortable, lively restaurant, with brick walls, tables somewhat close together (not objectionably so), and a moderately high noise level (but again, not objectionably so). The overall experience is casual and fun.

Incidentally, one other difference between the two: La Sardine accepts reservations on its own website as well as over the phone. I know Le Bouchon doesn't accept them on its website, I don't know about by phone. Also, La Sardine fills up on Tuesdays when they run their prix fixe promotion, so you'll definitely want to make reservations in advance for Tuesdays as well as weekends.

Although Le Bouchon is a little bit closer to Lakeview and doesn't involve going through downtown, the difference isn't huge, and it's pretty easy to get to either one.

HTH

Apr 15, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Special Dinner In Chicago? Where to go?

It all comes down to what you consider a "special dinner". For craft cocktails and terrific food, Sable is a great choice, and so is GT Fish & Oyster. Both are lively, fun places, and Sable in particular has some of the best cocktails in the city. (For food, don't miss Sable's sweet corn crème brulee, a savory version of the classic dessert.) North Pond and Naha are more upscale and elegant, but neither requires or recommends jackets. Alinea, Grace, and Everest are still more upscale and elegant, and do require/recommend jackets. So it just depends on what kind of experience you're looking for.

One possibility, if your visit here includes more than one dinner, is to do one dinner at one of the upscale places (with or without jackets), and another at one of the fun places (Sable, GT Fish). Another possibility is to do one or more of these for lunch or brunch; GT Fish and Naha are open for lunch on weekdays, Sable and GT Fish for brunch on Saturdays/Sundays, and North Pond for brunch on Sundays (when daylight makes it a great time to experience its lovely setting in the park).

Don't worry too much; there's no "right" or "wrong" answer here. Chicago has lots of places to eat, and it's just a matter of picking one(s) you think you'll enjoy the most, for your particular occasion and preferences.

Apr 15, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Best french bistro (Bistro Campagne? Bistrot Margot?Chez Simo Bistro?)

If you mean Mon Ami Gabi, I've eaten there several times. It's pretty good, but I'd give the nod to La Sardine (and presumably Le Bouchon) over Mon Ami Gabi. I would not call Bistro Campagne "no good"; I've had some very good meals there, but it's just inconsistent (and again, LOUD).

FWIW, I haven't been to Bistro Margot or Chez Simo.

Apr 14, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Special Dinner In Chicago? Where to go?

Thanks to both of you for the explanation. Both stated downsides of BYO make sense. (And of course there are upsides, the cost factor also worth mentioning.)

Apr 14, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Best french bistro (Bistro Campagne? Bistrot Margot?Chez Simo Bistro?)

My vote for the best goes to La Sardine, which is in the West Loop. Le Bouchon is their sister restaurant in Bucktown, which is somewhat more convenient to Lakeview. So if I were you, I'd go to Le Bouchon. Both of these have half-price bottles on Mondays and a special prix fixe for the entire menu on Tuesdays.

Bistro Campagne can be somewhat inconsistent, sometimes excellent sometimes just okay, and can be VERY LOUD.

Apr 14, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Special Dinner In Chicago? Where to go?

>> If you are spending upwards of $250 for dinner you have a right to expect a lot.

I agree. Especially if that $250 figure is per person, which it is at Alinea, Grace, Everest, and Sixteen, I think you ought to expect extremely delicious food - maybe not every single dish, but most of the dishes should make you want to shout "WOW, this is DELICIOUS!". And flawless service. In my experiences, Alinea, Grace, and Everest accomplish this extremely well, as do North Pond and Naha (despite their lower price point). Other places (including Sixteen), not as much.

>> Very anxious to try Elizabeth and Goosefoot but the BYOB at Goosefoot and Elizabeth's unconventional dining experience mean I will have to convince some friends to go with out my SO.

I'm not sure why either place would be avoided, although neither would be my first choice for a special dinner either.

Elizabeth, which is one of the three places I went last week, really didn't strike me as an unconventional dining experience, aside from the need to pay for the reservation in advance. One formerly unconventional aspect, the communal tables, has been discontinued; we sat at our own table for two. Granted, they serve from a fixed tasting menu, but that's not so unconventional these days. It actually seemed pretty conventional to me. One difference from the places I recommended previously is that the food was generally very good, but not consistently exceptional; some dishes (notably the sunchoke soup) were outstanding, while others were just okay, and the ribeye was a clear miss, arriving mostly raw. I enjoyed Elizabeth - it's worth trying - but it wasn't so great that I'm looking forward to returning.

It's been over a year since I went to Goosefoot, and I thought it was very good. The food was a bit more uniform than Elizabeth, with pretty much all the dishes qualifying as very good, although without any particular standouts but no clear misses either. Like Elizabeth, I enjoyed it and it's worth trying, but it wasn't so great that I'm dying to go back. And I'm not sure why the BYOB aspect would make anyone want to avoid it.

Apr 14, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Special Dinner In Chicago? Where to go?

There are various ways a dinner can be memorable, and obviously one way is sharing your special meal with that special person. Great food is often memorable, all by itself. The first five places I mentioned above were all memorable for other reasons in addition to delicious, terrific food. If I had to pick two of those for "most memorable", they would be Alinea and North Pond.

Alinea is really a "once in a lifetime food experience", with the presentation techniques as fun and entertaining as the food itself. To get an idea what this is like, there was a cartoon written about dinner at Alinea a few years ago; the dishes and techniques have changed since then, but it will still give you an idea of their "fun with food" concept: http://lucylou.livejournal.com/555828... When I ate there again a few months ago, my dining companions all called it the best meal of their lives, and said it really opened their eyes with a truly unusual, entertaining experience.

Last week, I happened to eat at three different Michelin one-star restaurants, but of these, North Pond is the dinner I will remember for a long time. First, of course, is its location in the middle of the park. Even as a longtime Chicagoan who has previously dined there, I still love walking through the greenery of the park, and happening upon this little building housing the restaurant, then looking out from dinner upon the pond and the skyline. On top of that, though, my dinner was just amazingly wonderful. There were specific dishes that wowed, including a warm vichyssoise (!) and a short rib topped with an incredibly concentrated red wine reduction. And Chef Sherman's style is to plate the various ingredients separately on the plate, so each dish is, in a way, its own little tasting menu, allowing you to eat from many separate tastes on the same plate. In my dinners I've loved pretty much all of those tastes. The desserts were some of the very best I've had in years, accomplishing the rare feat of combining unusual ingredients and presentations with amazing deliciousness.

I also have fond memories of the other three places, particularly Grace for its subtle but perfect service and spaciousness, Everest for its view as well as memorably impressive service, and Naha for approaching the experience of a restaurant costing 2-3 times as much. But if I were choosing a place based on how memorable it is likely to be, that place would be Alinea (if you don't mind spending the money, of course) or North Pond.

I'll add, though, that you can easily have a memorable dinner at a casual, moderately-priced restaurant as well. For example, above I mentioned Anteprima, a casual Italian neighborhood bistro on the North Side. Every time I go there, the food is outstanding, and I walk out the door wanting to return again soon. And I do, much more frequently than any other restaurant (even though it's not in my neighborhood). Granted, part of that is a matter of its affordability, but part of it is also knowing how consistently and reliably outstanding the food is there.

HTH

Apr 14, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

pretheatre meal near Ford Oriental Theatre

The Oriental Theatre is around the corner from the Goodman Theater, so the recommendations in this discussion from a few days ago apply equally to the Oriental:

Dinner near Goodman Friday night? - www.chow.com/topics/971807

Apr 13, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Special Dinner In Chicago? Where to go?

The two best restaurants in Chicago right now are Alinea (considered by many the best in the country) and Grace. Alinea features unusual presentation techniques and fun, in addition to amazingly delicious food; my dinner there was one of the 2-3 best in my entire life. Grace is more traditional luxury, with delicious food along with attentive service. Both will typically cost $300-400 per person including moderate alcohol and tax/tip.

Another excellent high-end restaurant is Everest, which offers contemporary French cuisine. It's on the 40th floor of the Midwest Stock Exchange Building and the view looking out over the city is exciting. Expect to pay $200-300/pp inclusive, except if you order the three-course fixed pre-theater menu for $50-60 at a 5:00/5:30 seating.

If you don't want to spend quite that much, or if you want a less formal experience (the previous three places all require/recommend jackets for gentlemen), I recommend North Pond or Naha. Both feature amazingly delicious food from chef-owners who won the James Beard Award for Best Chef Great Lakes. North Pond adds its exquisite setting in the middle of the park, facing its namesake pond, with the city skyline looming over the opposite shore; when making your reservation, ask for seating in the front room with the full-length windows facing the pond. Naha offers a food and service experience comparable to the super-expensive places. At both North Pond and Naha, expect to spend $100-130/pp inclusive.

All of these places require reservations in advance and I recommend making them as soon as possible. All but Alinea accept reservations on Opentable.com, although I've heard Grace does so only for weeknights, not weekends, so you may need to call them. Reservations for late May should still be relatively easy to obtain right now except at Grace, where weekend seatings have been filling up way in advance but weekdays should still be available. For Alinea you need to purchase tickets in advance on their website, and don't expect a refund if your plans change.

There are some other high-end restaurants, but these five are my absolute favorites among the high-end group, over all the others. These are the places serving one "wow this is amazingly delicious" dish after another after another, without misses or disappointments in some of the courses.

www.alinearestaurant.com
www.grace-restaurant.com
www.everestrestaurant.com
www.northpondrestaurant.com
www.naha-chicago.com

If you wanted to spend even less than North Pond and Naha, I could name some other restaurants, but they tend to be casual neighborhood bistro type places, and it sounds like you're looking for more of a special occasion type place. If I'm mistaken and you'd like to hear some of those recommendations, just ask.

If you're looking for other places to eat while you're here in addition to your special dinner, my favorites which I would consider "do not miss" type places, are Sable (for contemporary cuisine in a small plate format, and craft cocktails), GT Fish & Oyster (for seafood in a small plates format, and craft cocktails), Anteprima (for the best Italian food in the city), Lou Malnati's (for our delicious local specialty of deep-dish pizza), and Jam (for breakfast/brunch).

www.sablechicago.com
www.gtoyster.com
www.anteprimachicago.net
www.loumalnatis.com
www.jamrestaurant.com

All of the above places, except for Anteprima and Jam, are in the downtown neighborhoods or relatively close by. You don't mention where you're staying or how you're getting around. If you need transportation advice or recommendations specific to where you're staying and/or spending time, again, just ask.

Apr 13, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area
1

New Finds in Saugatuck

I don't know how "trendy" Everyday People Café is, but we've always had outstandingly delicious food there!

Apr 12, 2014
nsxtasy in Great Lakes

First Time at Devon Ave or up north generally

Very true. In fact, the OP has completed this trip, and as it happens, they didn't make it to Devon Avenue, but dined at India House in River North downtown, and enjoyed it. This per their report at www.chow.com/topics/972130

Apr 12, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

00 flour in Evanston IL

King Arthur sells a variety of flours, and claims their "Italian-style flour" is "an American clone of Italian 00 flour". They sell King Arthur flour at Whole Foods. If they don't have this particular product there, you can order it from the King Arthur website at www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/ki... It's also likely to be very fresh when bought from their website, since it won't have been sitting on a store shelf for any length of time.

Apr 12, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Best Short Ribs in the City?

I'd like to report one more outstanding short rib preparation in the city. This past week I had dinner at North Pond, the restaurant in Lincoln Park (in the middle of the park itself). As described on the menu, this was "Grassfed Beef, Mushroom: New York Striploin Medallions, Short Rib; Beech Mushrooms, Confit Potatoes, Mushroom 'Pudding', Marrow, Pistachios". The short rib was all meat, no fat, yet amazingly moist and tender. It was covered with a red wine reduction that is one of the thickest, most concentrated reductions I've ever had. The other items on the plate were all very good as well, but oh, those short ribs! Wow!

Incidentally, the rest of the dinner was equally stellar, the best dinner I've had since I ate at Alinea last fall. Every dish was a stand-out. Of particular note were the desserts, two of the best, most creative desserts I've had in a long, long time. A lot of desserts are delicious but not all that unusual, or unusual but not that amazingly delicious, but these were wow-worthy in every way!

www.northpondrestaurant.com

Apr 11, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Chicago Dinner for 8-10

The Publican may or may not be suitable for your needs. With 8-10 people, you'll be seated at one of their looooong communal tables (they have conventional private tables but only for groups up to 6). And it's extremely loud so those at one end of the group won't be able to hear those at the other end. So that's something to consider on whether that will or won't work for you.

Here are some other possibilities. I'd consider one of our more festive ethnic restaurants with terrific food - specifically, Frontera Grill for contemporary Mexican, Mercat a la Planxa for tapas, Carnivale or Nacional 27 for Latin fusion, or Brazzaz for Brazilian-style steaks. All are very lively, places where you can make a little noise and not be out of place, but you'll still be able to hear each other.

www.rickbayless.com/restaurants
www.mercatchicago.com
www.carnivalechicago.com
www.n27chicago.com
www.brazzaz.com

I don't know anything about the Wrigley rooftop clubs; hopefully someone else here can help out with that.

Apr 09, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Updating Devon Indian Restaurants?

I can't speak for anyone else, but for myself, I haven't been to Devon Avenue (not Devon Street :) ) in a while. When I was going there more frequently, there were a lot of Indian places that were okay, but none that was head and shoulders above the others. Hence I'm reluctant to recommend any particular place.

One approach you could take is to walk down the street and look at the menus posted in the storefront windows, and if one particular menu catches your eye, eat there.

Apr 09, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

First Time at Devon Ave or up north generally

>> Is there a convenient el stop to Western Ave?

Not around Devon.

Assuming you're coming from somewhere in the greater downtown area, the easiest way to get to that stretch of Devon Avenue via CTA is to take the Red Line to Loyola, then catch the #155 bus southbound on Sheridan Road at the el stop. The bus then turns west onto Devon, and you can get off wherever you like along that stretch. Reverse those steps for your return.

Make sure to pay your el fare with a fare card, not cash, with at least an extra $.25 on it. The fare card will be charged $.25 for the transfer. That avoids getting charged a second full fare if you pay cash.

Additional CTA info is on their website at www.transitchicago.com including a system map at www.transitchicago.com/travel_informa...

Apr 09, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

A "Remember" moment in Chicago

>> how can you not mention Italian beef sandwiches?

Huh? I mentioned it in my previous post, and so did Huffington Post as #1 in the linked article.

Apr 09, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Dinner near Goodman Friday night?

Although the question hasn't been asked recently about the Goodman, it's been asked numerous times about other nearby theaters, including the Cadillac Palace Theater and the Chicago Theater.

Good places within a few blocks of these theaters include Atwood for contemporary American, Petterino's for steaks, Pizano's (on Madison) for deep-dish, and Vivere, the Florentine, and Tesori for Italian. All of these are in the Loop.

www.atwoodcafe.com
www.petterinos.com
www.pizanoschicago.com
www.vivere-chicago.com
www.the-florentine.net
www.tesorichicago.com

The Goodman is only half a block from the river. The area across the river is called River North, and many of the restaurants there are also within walking distance. The best at that end of River North include Sable for contemporary American small plates, Naha for finer dining, Piccolo Sogno Due for Italian, and Shaw's Crab House and GT Fish & Oyster for seafood.

www.sablechicago.com
www.naha-chicago.com
www.piccolosognodue.com
www.shawscrabhouse.com
www.gtoyster.com

All of these except Pizano's accept reservations in advance, including on Opentable.com (And if you go to Pizano's, call ahead with your pizza order to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes while seated for it to bake.) Wherever you go, make sure to let them know what time you need to leave to make your show. Due to the proximity to the theaters, they're all accustomed to making sure their pre-theater diners are done on time.

Apr 08, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

August Visit to Chicago - Itinerary and questions

Yes, Mundial Cocina Mestiza closed a couple of years ago, unfortunately.

If you want really terrific creative Mexican cuisine in the city, I recommend Topolobampo and Frontera Grill in River North, Mexique in West Town, and Mixteco Grill in Lakeview. Also, in the northern suburbs, Yolo and Libertad in Skokie, and Wholly Frijoles in Lincolnwood.

www.rickbayless.com/restaurants
www.mexiquechicago.com
www.mixtecogrill.com
www.yolomexicaneatery.com
www.libertad7931.com
www.whollyfrijoles.net

Apr 08, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Private room near Des Plains?

We've arranged successful private dinner parties at Cooper's Hawk in Wheeling and at Pete Miller's in Wheeling, which are both about seven miles north of Des Plaines. Cooper's Hawk serves American cuisine with global influences; they also produce their own wine, so there's a wine tasting room at the entrance. Pete Miller's is a steakhouse; they also do seafood well.

In the Des Plaines/O'Hare area itself, the main options for private dining are largely the steakhouses which predominate around the airport, such as Gibson's, as well as McCormick & Schmick (seafood).

We used to hold our private events at the Black Ram in Des Plaines. Since then the restaurant closed and changed hands, so I can't vouch for the quality now. But I know they have several private rooms including one that should fit your group nicely. It's worth looking into, especially considering the location. www.blackram-restaurant.com

Apr 08, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area