My partner and I will be visiting Chicago in late June with his parents. Based on the great info I've found on this Chicago board, I have already arranged for a special birthday dinner for my partner and his family at North Pond. I debated the food vs. ambiance issue for a while, and decided to go for the "special occasion" ambiance over the "wow" food factor (it needs to be a relaxed and casual place, and when we went to Alinea when it first opened, my partner hated the length of that dinner and the pretentiousness of the food). I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that they'll have an "on" night in the kitchen. BTW, are there any recommendations on particularly good dishes at North Pond?
We will probably have one other night where we will be able to pick the restaurant. What would be a good place to go for a nice dinner near downtown (we will be staying at the new Trump property on the river) that isn't too expensive? I have a feeling that his parents might want to treat us to dinner one night, and I want to keep the price reasonable. I read that Everest has an "early bird" dinner for $50 pp which sounds like a great deal, and I think his parents would love the old-world style and service. Any other thoughts for nice places to eat for a great price? And when I mean "reasonable cost" I mean around $50 or less pp w/o wine.
The only other restaurant of note we have eaten at was Topolobampo, which was a disaster, so we won't be going back there, or to any other of Rick Bayless' restaurants.