Maybe I was setting myself up for disappointment ... I dunno. But after obsessing and obsessing on where to take some friends out for dinner for a very special occassion ... I decided to go on your recommendations and make reservations for one sixtyblue last week. I came in from New York City and wanted to take friends out ... I wanted it to be special. There was nothing special but the price tag!
First of all .... our waiter. Gooooood god. He was relentless. As soon as we sat down, he goes into his pitch on cheese. Well, first we were offered water. Then .... cheese. Immediately. We weren't even given a chance to look at the menu. He immediately started yapping on and on about cheese. For the record - he told us the goat cheese was his favorite - THREE TIMES.
I said, "Do you start with cheese here?"
"Yes, most people do," he replied.
"Well, I like to start with a cocktail." was my response.
It was utterly idiotic. The guy was on autopilot. The second he slapped down the menus he was going on and on about cheeses. Note to him: give people a minute to relax before you bombard them with your sales pitch!!!!!! He was like a robot reciting his favorite cheeses ... quickly and awkwardly. And we hadn't even been sitting for 5 minutes!
After getting our drinks .... he was RELENTLESS in getting us to order. He came about five times, asking us if we were ready. I finally said, "NO." Has this guy ever been out to eat himself?!?!?!?!?! LEAVE US ALONE FOR A FEW MINUTES TO CATCH UP!!! GEEESH!!!!! We were not that late either (our reservation was for 8:30 p.m. and we were on time!)
The food ... it was okay. Nothing special, really. The two cheeses (!!!) we had were decent ..... soft cheeses. Cheese, cheese, cheese.
I had the Peekytoe crab salad and my friends the caesar salads (a sign I should've just taken them someplace cheaper). All were okay. I had the lamb ... good. My friends - a steak and the risotto .... both good. Not great. Not stellar. Just decent. And a side of fingerling potatotes which were probably my favorite. Whoopie.
All in all ... it was a nice night out in Chicago. I drove by Black Bird on the way over and was glad I hadn't chosen there. Atmosphere is just as important to me ... and the place looked PACKED and way too bright. (What IS it with Chicago restaurants and their need to keep everything so horribly lit and bright?!?!?!?!?!) If it weren't for my waiter, I probably wouldn't be as upset ... but this guy made things UNPLEASANT. Even my friends were irritated with him.
Maybe this was because we were the last ones sat - not late, considering it was 8:30 ... but doesn't anyone eat out after 9 p.m. in Chicago?? Is it because I'm a New York snob? I don't think so!!
I also happened to go out to the Fronterra Grill the following night - after seeing Bayless on Oprah, of all things ... catering her party. I stopped by at 5 p.m. that night and put our name on the list for 7 p.m. ... and we had a GREAT time there .... imagine: that restaurant was featured on OPRAH that day ... and our waiter DID NOT RUSH US! You'd think they would've tried to turn the table as quickly as possible since they were up to a two hour wait when we arrived for our reservation ... but they did not. They were nice and HUMAN ... at least our waiter was! (But the same should be said about the lighting there - why do they keep it so bright????)
So thank you for your advice ... I took a risk and maybe I could just blame my bad time on the waiter. I hope he someday gets a clue!