Restaurants & Bars 1

Chicago Review

klebb | Mar 28, 2011 05:41 PM

First of all I want to thank everyone on the board who gave me info and helped me plan one of the best culinary weekends ever.

Secondly, FU Schwa. Sewer problems? Typical. It would have helped if you had called me prior to me buying 4 bottles of wine/champagne.

Even with that situation everything still turned out just about perfect.

It was a long weekend and I'm not all there yet so I apologize for any typos or ramblings.

Friday Lunch - Frontera Grill - It lived up to the hype. The food was great although the service was a little inconsistent. Either way I would go back in a heartbeat. My wife and I split the app platter to start; the true standout was the Ceviche Tostada (probably the best ceviche I've ever had as it trumps the ceviche I had a Citronelle a few years ago. It was so unique with the contrast of spicy and sweet/sour). My wife got the black bean and chicken tostadas on the waiters recommendation after I almost talked her out of it because it sounded too ordinary. She was glad I didn't as it was just a standard dish done to perfection. I had to try some of the famous Bayless Mole and todays choice was the Mole con Pablano (chicken enchiladas in Mole sauce) and it did not disappoint. So complex, so great I absolutely loved it. I also had a tamarind margarita with habenaro which was great.

Friday Late dinner - Sable - luckily we got a cab immediately after the Bulls Grizzlies game. Sable was the perfect fun choice for being in our condition. We ate way too much but that's the fun of a place like this. The server was excellent and made the night even more fun and the unique cocktails got us out of hand...

Deviled Eggs w/truffle and trumpet mushrooms - excellent
Soft Pretzels - okay
Pork Belly BLT's - Wow
Fried cheese curds - just okay ( but we had to get them in honor of our Canadian friends love of poutine)
Rueben Struedel - excellent
Bison Short Rib Slider - excellent (probably my wife's favorite)
Sweet Corn Creme Brulee - excellent
Pumpkin Ravioli in brown butter - great

Saturday Lunch - Cafe Spiaggia - We were feeling pretty rough and heavy Italian food really hit the spot. The details are a little hazy with the names of the dishes on this meal but I will tell you it was A+. I started with a fish soup with cod, manilla clams, and ruby trout and my wife got the beet salad and both were an excellent way to start and nurse a hangover. We also had a cheese (can't remember the name) that was very mild and soft which was topped with shaved black Italian truffles and of course it was great. How could you go wrong with nice cheese and truffles. For our main courses we split the gnocchi with wild boar ragu and a pizza with prosscuitto, trumpet mushrooms and truffle oil on a whole wheat crust. Both were great but the gnocchi really stole the show.

Saturday Dinner - Graham Elliot - After the Schwa cancellation we had to scramble and either had to do a 9:45 at GE or a 9:00 at Avenues. I wanted to go to the Avenues a little more but I did some anger drinking after the cancelllation call I received at 6:00 and assumed I was better suited to go to Graham Elliot. It was really good and fun with an exciting tasting menu which had one of the best items I've had in my entire life: foie gras lollipop covered in salty pop rocks (I am a foie gras junkie)

Pie: cheddar pillow +piecrust+ apple gel
Ceasar: gem lettuce+brioche twinnkie+white anchovy
Sweetbread:chili espuma+finger lime+yolk sauce (wow, it was an empenada)
Octopus: meh, this was the worst dish of the weekend. But luckily everything else made up for it.
Bass: smoked leek+marcona almond+tomato marmalade
Waygu: trumpet mushroom+roquefort custard+salsify frites (again, wow. This was the best course, unreal good)
I really couldn't eat desert as I was beat by midnight after a very long day
I've already covered the greatest thing ever made... The foie gras lollipop

Sunday Lunch - Lou Malnati's - average at best. I prefer Gino's East although I may be the minority. maybe it's the South Loop location or just an off day but it was not very good. Just ate one slice and then went to the art musuem which was outstanding by the way. Didn't realize how many great pieces they had.

Sunday Dinner - Bonsoiree - We originally had reservations at Mercat but with 4 bottles of wine we figured a BYOB place would fit us better and it was the best move of the weekend. I can only say great things about this place. From all the food to the people that worked there to the chefs just the entire experience put a smile on my face. No menu on Sunday so we weren't entirely sure what we were getting in to but that is one of the things that made it so much fun.

They didn't have a menu so many ingredients may be missing

Course 1: Deconstructed Octopus salad: 2 octopus tentacles (I was skeptical after the GE dish last night but this was mild and tender and what octopus should be) w/ parsnip puree, balsamic gelle, and crispy kale. The Balsamic was strong but really complimented everything very well.

Course 2: Best Scallop Ever: It was a scallop with peekytoe crab made almost au gratin in a scallop shell. It was so rich but it was perfection. I could say more but there is no need to.

Course 3: Soup w/white fish, lobster, tempura manilla clan in a ponzu broth: the broth was the highlight as it was drinkable but the white fish was a little bland. Still great, it just didn't live up to the other dishes of the the evening.

Course 4: Boar 3 ways: braised wild boar with boar sausage over cauliflower purree with sauteed brown and white cauliflower and crispy boar belly. Greatness. The sausage was a little peculiar but everything else was A+

Course 5: Surf and turf: Waygu beef and Copia over wonton potatoes with a sauce which escapes me. The sauce and the waygu combined just melted in your mouth.

Course 6: Seared Foie Gras over frozen grapes and honeydew (I think): There is no way this couldn't be good. Only one bite but a near perfect bite.

Course 7: Desert: really too much going on for me to name but my favorite was the sliced dried strawberries with dehydrated shortbread in the middle. My wife was obssessed with the hazelnut chocolate mouse (which I asked the chef for another scoop of which he gladly obliged to and brought us 4)

The people that worked there made you feel like you were eating at their house and you were just hanging out. If you haven't been you need to go. Just a great place and a perfect way to end a really, really fun weekend.

Thanks Chicago; I can't wait to go back.

2728 W Armitage, Chicago, IL 60647

Frontera Grill
445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

Cafe Spiaggia
980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Gino's East
8725 W Higgins Rd Ste 100, Chicago, IL 60631

Graham Elliot
217 W. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60654

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