please please swoop to my rescue with some restaurant recommendations for me!
this monday night my parents and my boyfriend's parents are meeting for the first time at dinner downtown. they are from minneapolis and my parents are from the burbs.
both his and my parents are no-muss no-fuss and don't like to pay a lot, so i am hoping for something reasonably inexpensive (no TRU). i was hoping for something in the loop or nearby since we may attend the chicago olympics event in milennium park before or after dinner, but the only spots i could think of were
sepia: which is just the type of cuisine i think they would appreciate, being reasonably health-conscious and preferring the familiar in terms of food (salads, interesting chicken, but no offal or raw whatsoever)...i'm worried it may be a bit too stuffy though, and that it is a small space for 6 people
mercat ala planxa: which i was excited about until i read it has clubby music (in the metromix first look)
and the gage: which is also usually really loud and likely a bit greasy/anti-health-conscious for their tastes.
any other ideas for relatively low-volume (it will be monday!) dining rooms in places that serve new american or italian/european cuisine? i may go to west loop as well, but we cant do sushi or indian because of taste and they would liekly balk at upscale chinese as well since in my experience it is not much better than chinatown at red light. we also have been to marche and carnivale so those are out.
sorry for the lengthy post, but i am hoping for a tip! we would even be willing to travel (probably) within about a mile, but no lincoln park or bucktown (where i live: i thought takashi might be amazing, but its too far/not sure about the fusion) becase of accommodations being downtown. river north would be fine.
i love graham elliot but i also think it'd be a bit pricey, and all 4 parents ate at avenues so also not new for them.
thanks for any tips you send my way