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Restaurants & Bars 4

Boston Hound Visit Notes

Samovar | Feb 24, 200408:32 PM

Was in town on business Sunday-Tuesday.

Based on recommendations from this board I took my grandparents to Costa's in Oakbrook Terrace on Sunday evening. Food and basic idea were spot-on, and my grandparents had a good time, although the place was quite loud (tile floors) for conversation with the hard-of-hearing and the service was very disappointing. There was an interminable wait for menus and we had to ask the waiter at least 3 times to put a shim under the uneven leg of our wobbling table. We shared a Costa's salad (basically a village salad with feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, oil) which was plenty for all of us and quite good. They were out of the baby lamb and suckling pig specials. My grandparents had, respectively, shrimp kebab and fettucine with scallops and shrimp, which looked quite good and came in enormous quantity. I orderd baby rack of lamb. The waiter recommended that I order medium, but I said no, I wanted it rare. Of course, it came medium anyway, but I was too much of a wimp to send it back (even at $28) and didn't want to spoil the mood for my grandparents. We waited at least 45 minutes for the main courses. They asked if we wanted coffee -- I did -- and then brought the check _before_ the coffee and without even asking if we wanted desert. My grandfather is turning 90 this week days and is a real desert enthusiast so I had them take away the check and bring the desert tray. He selected the chocolate cake, and then the waiter said no, for a birthday they only give the baklava free. I was ready to strangle the guy -- I didn't care if I had to pay for the &*%$ cake. When the cake finally came out 3 waiters did an annoyed and hurried "happy birthday." They again brought the check before we were even halfway through desert, but then didn't pick it up until 20-25 minutes after we had finished eating after lots of long stares from me. I can say one good thing about the service -- the staff was quite prompt with water refills throughout the evening. Overall not a bad experience, and the food was good, but I would expect better service given the price point and atmosphere.

Later that night I needed a fix of Chicago thin crust pizza from my airport hotel and basically threw a dart at the yellow pages until I found a place still open for delivery after 11 pm -- Village Pizza in Rosemont. It was just what I wanted -- thin, flaky but substantial chicago thin crust, excellent tangy sauce and Italian sausage, thick layer of cheese, cut in squares. Why can't anybody on the East Coast make a pizza like this? Drives me crazy.

Moved to the Palmer House Hilton for my business on Monday and ate with colleagues at Catch 35 on Wacker that night. Excellent service and ambience (including the conversation-conducive quiet I was missing at Costas) and good fresh fish. I had seared halibut in a wine/mushroom/crabmeat reduction. Simple but very nice.

Thanks to all for the recs. Hope to visit again soon.

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