I have enjoyed Mon Ami on a couple of occasions and for one dish, raw oysters served French-style (plain with a vinegar/onion sauce) they do it perfectly. So we went off on Friday with a pleasurable group of dinner companions to partake. This is Mon Ami Gabi Oakbrook, so I cannot say whether the Lincoln Park version would be the same at this point.
The oysters continue to be perfect. The mussel appetizer was unmemorable - a companion declared it too creamy, not enough wine and spices. The confit of duck was a bit tough, the bed of lentils also a bit bland. And the wine, a Pouilly Fume because they were out of the Sancerre(!) was not at all good, possibly a bad bottle, and in retrospect we should have sent it back. Our waiter seemed to be very busy elsewehere for long stretches, and it was good that my companions were so entertaining, else I might have been getting cranky.
My skate was good, buttery and tasty, though the potatos had somehow ended up with a glob of raw, crushed garlic in them, which I ate unwittingly towards the end of the meal. Not a bad experience really (though it would have dulled my tastebuds a bit to the skate if I had hit it earlier), but I doubt they meant to do that, and along with the large chunk of lemon on the skate, which should have been broken up like the other pieces, it seemed to highlight some issues. I did not sample all the other dishes, but the reports I heard were that the steaks were quite good, the paillard of chicken was again unmemorable, and VI, perhaps you can comment on the roast chicken?
Then our waiter disappeared again for a prolonged period while we entertained ourselves quite well. We had a simple bordeaux with dinner, Chateau du Maine 1999, which was quite good.
Desert was shared: a lemon tart and chocolate cake. Only ate the cake - quite good, despite my vow to not eat chocolate deserts. Coffee was good, tho one member of our party beleives her decaf was not decaf, taste was great, insomnia that night not good. And then the waiter disappeared again.
My Frambois eau de vie was mediocre at best, with a scent and taste more of berry soap than real berries.
Once the waiter returned from his most recent expedition, the meal, including tip and all came in at under $50 pp, not bad. Service was awful, perhaps because we were a 6 top and the tip was going to be added to the bill automatically? Food was spotty, some quite good, some mediocre, nothing terrible, but preparation seemed a bit sloppy.
Verdict: Not really a bad experience, other than the service, and not a bad value. I will go back again for my oysters, but perhaps only to eat them in the bar with a glass of wine. For the rest, it just did not seem they cared that much, too busy or something... Anyway, they do not need my business it seems.
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