I am coming to Chicago at the end of June and plan to dine out as much as I can afford. I like to think I am not a foodie (hate them actually) but am pretty passionate about flawlessly executed food and consider myself knowledgable. I toyed with the idea of a career change and, to that end, staged in a top French place here for some time before other obligations shot that dream down for the time being. Heck, maybe I am a foodie after all
My tastes tend toward the French (especially Alsatian). I would like recommendations or your thoughts on the following restaurants. Hopefully I'll get to at least 2 or 3. I'd also like to know who's being sensible about wine (offering for instance, decent and appropriate racks/half bottles for the tasting menu instead of hoping you'll mortgage your house):
1. Le Francais: Has Banchet actually packed it in? I was hoping to sample and to get him to autograph a book in which he appears. If he has, I'll pass.
2. Charlie Trotter's: Been there before and am amazed by what he can do. He's one of only two chefs I've ever encountered who makes me say "how does he do that?" This is coming from someone who would NEVER order a staircase of fish eggs, by the way.
3. Arun's: I like Thai and French. Is it really as good as they say it is?
4. Ambria: No comments on this place but the menu looks really good.
5. Everest: I can't find any online menu but Joho is Alsatian, do they take special dish requests in advance?
6. Tru: I liked them in Evanston at Trio and think they can cook up a storm. The menu looks great if you ignore the nonsense and get down to the actual food but is Tru THAT weird? That staircase of caviar is absurd in my opinion but some of the more traditional dishes sound wonderful.
Anyway, these are my first choices. Any suggestions would be appreciated.