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Mike G | Apr 2, 200309:49 AM

Chicago magazine has an issue out with one of those dopey but addictive magazine gimmicks, Overrated/Underrated. It warmed my heart to see that the advertising one had Marlboro as Overrated and the Veg-O-Matic as underrated, since I worked down the hall from the Marlboro account for a couple of years, for instance. But you asked about the restaurant one.

It will not come as a huge surprise, I think, that their most Overrated restaurant was Bob Chinn's. The Underrated choice was Meritage, which is nice but did not impress itself on me so firmly that I feel the need to fly into battle for it. But that's okay, seems like a respectable choice.

MY choices would be: Overrated, hands-down Gino's East, which isn't even in the top 10 pizzas-- top 10 deep dish-- top 10 deep dish starting with G-- but has an inflated rep among tourists. And Underrated, well-- I'm half tempted to channel RST and say "all the ethnic food in Chicago that doesn't get written up by the food press in its endless quest to ape New York and San Francisco dining trends," but limiting it to their presumed criteria of places that you could imagine being hyped but aren't, well, it's our old pal Erwin, never flashy but not stodgy, chugging along making fine food for grownups without a lot of press or Zagat-clutching foodies.

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