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Restaurants & Bars Chicago Area Trip Report

Quick trip report

mdpilam | | Jan 28, 2013 08:50 PM

Just a quick TR on my visit last week (hope to be back often and hopefully moving there in the not too distant future). You guys have a great food city I can already tell. I will say it is a little weird because there are a lot of "suburban chain" type of restaurants around the city - along with some really great local restaurants. I wasn't able to do too much research before my trip, but here's where we ate:

Del Seoul - quick lunch. Nice neighborhood spot with some Korean/fusion/streetfood. Good quality meats (pork was best). Tacos were good, but a little dry - could use some sauce (more than Sriracha).

Purple Pig - dinner. Really good. Would love to have this here in DC. Beet salad and butternut squash w/ ricotta were just excellent. The pork "steak" was very good too. The only disappointment was the chorizo stuffed olives.

Wood - dinner. Also very good. We had a flat bread, pasta and salad, and all were very good, but the tagliatelle was top notch.

Raj Darbar - dinner. we were turned onto your "Bib Gourmand" list by a fellow restaurateur, and after googling, found this place in the neighborhood. We had reservations for 10pm (they closed at 11) and showed up slightly late at 10:10. We were met with rude service and essentially told to order right now. The waiter hovered the whole time we hurried over the menu and prompted us again to order quick, the kitchen was closing. We had to ask for wine. As we were about 2/3 the way finished the waiter told us again that they were closing. We finally just got so fed up with the rude service and wanted to be out of there, that we just got the check and left. The food was ok - average, run-of-the-mill Indian, but the service was the worst I've had in years. This was the first time in probably at least 10 yrs that I tipped ZERO. The service was that awful. Not to mention the food was just average. It's one thing if you have fantastic food - then I'll put up with some bad service, but not with mediocre.

Antique Taco - lunch. This "Bib Gourmand" - I still don't really get that list - was actually really good. Kind of a "fancy-gourmet" taco, but everything was very fresh and high quality. Carne Asada was probably the favorite. Can't wait to get back for the chilli cheese curds (I grew up in MN).

El Patron - lunch. Really good taqueria. Very much enjoyed their "gringa", and the tacos were excellent (meat was great to stellar - chorizo). Very good escabeche as well. Super friendly.

Tierra Caliente - lunch. Terrible (see my post for details).

Peasantry - brunch. Good. Great neighborhood spot, with good food and friendly service. Very curious about their lunch/dinner menu items (they had a special of corned beef tongue Reuben that we just missed).

Piccolo Sogno - dinner. Wow. Very good. We had the beet salad, quattro formaggio pizza, 2 pastas (ravioli and gnocchi) and the branzino (special). Everything was just really good, but the ravioli was sublime. Pizza was probably some of the best I've had since Italy. And I actually really liked the branzino (I hate fish). Service was excellent as well.