Thanks to Paul and Elena for their excellent suggestions for a white linen lunch experience in Chicago. My sister graduated Sunday from her Masters Program at DePaul, and I took the redeye from San Francisco to help her celebrate. After cross-referencing this Board, Zagat and Gayot, I chose Kevin on Hubbard, a street that still has a little edge. Perfect choice. The restaurant decor is reminiscent of the galleries that used to be here with exposed brick and ducts softened by quiet lighting and curving, japanese paper constructions echoing column capitals. We split three appetizers (the tuna tartare fully deserves its signature billing, but the sauteed scallops and seared ostrich were also excellent). My sister had the flank steak and was totally raving about it. She particularly liked the gorgonzola infused spring roll as a superior way to present a blue cheese accent vs as a topping. I went for the grouper, which was perfectly broiled--even though in the end it's still grouper, which means I probably should be thinking of it as comfort fish. Yum. Our server, Timothy, made the service part of the meal outstanding with a perfect combination of personality, deference and listening skills. He should be on a Chicago Top List. The wine list has a good range, but is especially well-constructed for the menu; our sommelier's advice was solid. They cobbled together a cheese course for us as a special request, and it was a delight; the desserts were sophisticated and appropriately proportioned. I had three small pieces of delicate fruit strudel; she had a creme tart. Apparently the menu changes daily.
Earlier, I had breakfast at Nomi and liked it's quiet sleekness and black coated hipness. I would go back for the croissants and definitely for dinner and the terrace, but I thought the lunch menu looked a little limited in variety and number of choices. I found out Spiaggia does not serve lunch any more (the cafe does). I definitely would have done Seasons, if my sister had been my aunt.
One last note: In the morning I saw Chicago magazine and my heart sank in that they only gave Kevin 1.5 stars (compared to say, three at Blackbird). Obviously I don't know the rating system,or it was a gross typo, but the seemingly low score seems criminally undeserved. My experience was definitely three bright stars (of four).