Hi all - long time reader, first time poster.
I live in Washington, DC and will be in Chicago March 11 - 14 on business. All of my days, and I'm assuming most of my evenings, will be busy but I'd hate to come to town and not eat a few delicious things.
I'm interested in restaurants that are unique Chicago experiences and feature food and service I wouldn't find typically in my hometown.
I'd rather save Alinea for when I'm not dining alone (and probably can't get in anway) and I've already booked myself for graham elliot for 9:30 Wednesday night as Graham's cooking has always intrigued me and it looks like a good place to try lots of modern stuff at not absolutely insane prices.
In case I can get out Monday or Tuesday I'd like to book one more meal, or if the crowd strongly objects to graham elliot, ditching that reservation and finding two more.
My last requirements are easy to get to from the Hotel Allegro on Randolph Street as I won't have a car and will have limited time. <30 min walk or faster cab ride would be ideal. I like beer and cocktails more than wine. Service at 9:30, 10, or later would be good since I'll be working a lot. Since I'm dining alone, any menu that will allow me to taste lots of little things instead of 3 gut busting things would also be a plus.
For reference, my favorite restaurant trips the past 6 months have been Estadio, Little Serow, and Rasika in Washington, DC, and The Breslin and Momofuku Ssam bar in NYC. I like being blown away by big, explosive flavors with fresh ingredients and inventive preparations. My favorite is when I can say "I've never had anything like this before but it is delicious."
So, thoughts? I'll also take recs on traditional Chicago classics like Chicago dogs, deep dish pizza, and beef sammies, but remember my time is limited and I'd rather have a really good version of any of those over the absolute best if it saves me travel time.