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.
• 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