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  • Lettuce Entertain You

    Post #1 - May 6th, 2008, 3:15 pm
    Post #1 - May 6th, 2008, 3:15 pm Post #1 - May 6th, 2008, 3:15 pm
    I have a gift certificate for Lettuce Entertain you, and to be honest I have not been to any of the restaurants that they sponsor, minus Maggiano's and Cafe Baba reeba.

    This is what is on the list:

    Antico Posto®
    Frankie's 5th Floor Pizzeria
    Reel Club®
    Ben Pao®
    Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab® R.J. Grunts®
    Big Bowl®
    L. Woods®
    Scoozi!®
    Brasserie Jo®
    Maggiano's®
    Shaw's Crab House ®
    Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!®
    The Magic Pan Crepe Stand®
    stripburger ™at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!®
    Chi. Flat Sammies®
    Mity Nice Grill®
    Tru®
    Di Pescara™
    Mon Ami Gabi®
    Tucci Benucch®
    Don & Charlie's®
    Nacional 27®
    Twin City Grill™
    Eiffel Tower®
    Osteria Via Stato ™
    Vong's Thai Kitchen ™
    Everest™ P
    etterino's®
    Wildfire®
    foodlife®
    Pizzeria via Stato ™
    Wow Bao

    To me, the greatest dissapointment in life is going to a restaurant filled with anticipation of what your meal/experience will be like and then being let down. I don't want that to happen, so that is why I am asking for advice of where to go or definitely where not to go.
    Last edited by Shaggywillis on May 6th, 2008, 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #2 - May 6th, 2008, 3:22 pm
    Post #2 - May 6th, 2008, 3:22 pm Post #2 - May 6th, 2008, 3:22 pm
    If it's big enough go to Tru. It's an incredible experience.
  • Post #3 - May 6th, 2008, 3:24 pm
    Post #3 - May 6th, 2008, 3:24 pm Post #3 - May 6th, 2008, 3:24 pm
    That was honestly the only thing that stood out, but my date really isn't into food, as much as I am, so I'm not sure if it would be truly appreciated.
  • Post #4 - May 6th, 2008, 3:27 pm
    Post #4 - May 6th, 2008, 3:27 pm Post #4 - May 6th, 2008, 3:27 pm
    To me, the greatest dissapointment in life is going to a restaurant filled with anticipation of what your meal/experience will be like and then being let down.


    As much as we could say negative about LEYE, I think you get exactly what you expect at most of their places. And sometimes, I don't think it's that bad. Depending on how much you have to spend and what you like, here are my suggestions:

    Joe's Stone Crab (for stone crab...only available for one more week)
    Everest (pricey, great views, reliably good French food)
    Shaw's (the casual bar side is fun, less pricey)
    National 27 (if you want to spend it on cocktails and snacks)
    Wow Bao (cheap, but delicious fast food in the Loop)

    I haven't been to the new pizza place (Frankies), but it'd be another inexpensive place to try.

    My two cents...
    FIG Catering, For Intimate Gatherings
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    molly@FIGcatering.com
  • Post #5 - May 6th, 2008, 3:30 pm
    Post #5 - May 6th, 2008, 3:30 pm Post #5 - May 6th, 2008, 3:30 pm
    Id say stripburger in LV is your best bet...but since youll be using it in Chicago of all those places I like...

    RJ Grunts for what it is, good bar food and on a nice day the zoo is right there amongst other things to do on a nice day.

    Ben Pao, is good for upscale American-Chinese, nothing I have had there is awful so you wont be totally let down but its nothing amazing.

    I also like big bowl for what it is, ive never really had anything awful there.

    and last, L. Wood's is also good for what it is as long as your not expecting anything thats going to have you going back weekly. I really like the skirt steak from L. Wood's amongst other things like the burger's, onion straws and the apple strudel.
    Last edited by Da Beef on May 6th, 2008, 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #6 - May 6th, 2008, 3:30 pm
    Post #6 - May 6th, 2008, 3:30 pm Post #6 - May 6th, 2008, 3:30 pm
    Osteria Via Stato was great. Forget the a la carte menu and get the 3-course meal. Better yet, order the Just Bring Me Wine menu. Highly recommended.
  • Post #7 - May 6th, 2008, 3:43 pm
    Post #7 - May 6th, 2008, 3:43 pm Post #7 - May 6th, 2008, 3:43 pm
    I think you should go to whatever type of food and whatever level of dining you would like. You've got quite a variety of choices. If you like Thai, Vong's Thai Kitchen; if you like tapas, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba; Joe's or Wildfire for steaks; tru or Everest for the finest high-end dining; etc.
  • Post #8 - May 6th, 2008, 3:47 pm
    Post #8 - May 6th, 2008, 3:47 pm Post #8 - May 6th, 2008, 3:47 pm
    think you should go to whatever type of food and whatever level of dining you would like. You've got quite a variety of choices. If you like Thai, Vong's Thai Kitchen; if you like tapas, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba; Joe's or Wildfire for steaks; tru or Everest for the finest high-end dining; etc.


    That is why I'm asking. :D
  • Post #9 - May 6th, 2008, 4:02 pm
    Post #9 - May 6th, 2008, 4:02 pm Post #9 - May 6th, 2008, 4:02 pm
    It all depends on what kind of food you like.

    I sometimes get Lettuce Entertain You gift cards at the end of the year when they have their bonus offer. I usually end up using most of them at Maggiano's, whose dinner salads I really like. But if you like seafood, go to Shaw's; French bistro, Brasserie Jo; etc...

    Also, I believe L2O is opening in another week or so, a high-end seafood-focused LEY restaurant in the former Ambria space.
  • Post #10 - May 6th, 2008, 4:16 pm
    Post #10 - May 6th, 2008, 4:16 pm Post #10 - May 6th, 2008, 4:16 pm
    On that list, you have two exceptional places -- Everest and Tru -- and a few good but not great places.

    Of those other places, I like Brasserie Jo. It reminds me of places that I went to in Paris. A nice place, great to sit outside when weather permits, with good relatively traditional French food. People who are not that serious about food will find stuff that they like on the menu.
  • Post #11 - May 6th, 2008, 4:59 pm
    Post #11 - May 6th, 2008, 4:59 pm Post #11 - May 6th, 2008, 4:59 pm
    MrAndersen wrote:Osteria Via Stato was great. Forget the a la carte menu and get the 3-course meal. Better yet, order the Just Bring Me Wine menu. Highly recommended.

    Apropos this, we returned to OVS recently (it was kind of a last minute subtitution for where we were originally planning to go, and I can no longer remember why), and they seem to have pretty much abandoned the "unlimited seconds, family-style, 3-course" thing for a traditional a la carte menu. That is to say, you can still get the 3-course thing if you want it, but that's in contrast to how the restaurant was when it first opened, when you pretty much had to go that way (or were strongly encouraged to, because it was the restaurant's whole shtick, gimmick, Unique Selling Proposition, or raison d'etre, depending on your term of choice). Personally, our party of four was pleased to have the freedom of choice the a la carte menu offered. And it must be the case we're not alone; presumably the restaurant shifted its focus in response to customer demand.
  • Post #12 - May 6th, 2008, 5:58 pm
    Post #12 - May 6th, 2008, 5:58 pm Post #12 - May 6th, 2008, 5:58 pm
    To echo others, Everest and Tru are the two best on the list, but quite pricey.

    I also wonder whether you couldn't use the cert at L2O - Larent Gras' new seafood restaurant - not opened yet, but they are taking reservations. Might want to call and ask. And report to us how it was...

    Of the rest, I thought Frankie's 5th floor was not bad for a cheap meal on Michigan avenue.

    I've always considered Scoozi and Wildfire good. Not outstanding, but very consistent. Cafe Babareeba has its moments. I had a good seafood Paella there once, and some a wonderful beef and blue cheese tapas plate.

    My favorite on the list is Brasserie Jo, largely on the strength of the Choucroute as well as a very good beer list (and good wine list as well). If you haven't had it, Choucroute is a traditional Alsaetian dish with strong German roots - a giant mound of sauerkraut piled high with smoked home made sausages, smoked meat, and potatoes. Served with a pot of spicy mustard. I must have ordered it half a dozen times, although I have tried other dishes and never really had a dud. It's convenient for me so I often end up there a lot by default.

    The rest that I've tried I could take or leave.

    The ones I would definitely shy away from are RJ Grunts, which is bad, overpriced bar food, and Big Bowl on Ohio. I'm also no great fan of Ben Pao, although I've only been there once. As far as VTK goes, why would anyone go there with so many great and cheap Thai restaurants in town?
  • Post #13 - May 6th, 2008, 8:10 pm
    Post #13 - May 6th, 2008, 8:10 pm Post #13 - May 6th, 2008, 8:10 pm
    I'm amazed at how LEYE has grown. There was a time they had only a handful of restaurants, and generally goofy ones at that (Fritz That's It, Great Gritsby's Flying Food Show, R.J. Grunts), and now they have some places that don't sound like Monty Python skits.

    If your date is not really into food, LEYE is perfect. It's generally very tasty, even when it's not best in genre.

    I do think Mon Ami Gabi is a nice intermediate -- moderately priced outlet for an excellent high-end chef.

    Shaw's has dandy sashimi, among other seafood treats.

    And how serious is this date? If you're engaged, you may have to use the card on her, but if not, take her someplace she'll enjoy and then, if you really want to go to Tru, find someone else to go with -- someone who will let you use the entire gift card on your own dinner.

    Just a thought.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #14 - May 6th, 2008, 9:17 pm
    Post #14 - May 6th, 2008, 9:17 pm Post #14 - May 6th, 2008, 9:17 pm
    I'm in the minority on Brasserie Jo - I've been there twice and found the food rather uninspiring and overpriced.

    OTOH, I threw my parents' 40th anniversary party five years ago at Mon Ami Gabi at Oak Brook and it was absolutely fantastic for the price point (about $60/person for four courses, wine, and beverages, in a private room in the back). Guests still rave about it to this day - not that the food was Michelin starred, but it was just extremely well executed for what it was.

    For a date, it is a very good choice.
    "Fried chicken should unify us, as opposed to tearing us apart. " - Bomani Jones
  • Post #15 - May 6th, 2008, 9:34 pm
    Post #15 - May 6th, 2008, 9:34 pm Post #15 - May 6th, 2008, 9:34 pm
    Cynthia wrote:I'm amazed at how LEYE has grown. There was a time they had only a handful of restaurants, and generally goofy ones at that (Fritz That's It, Great Gritsby's Flying Food Show, R.J. Grunts), and now they have some places that don't sound like Monty Python skits.

    And who could forget Lawrence of Oregano and Jonathan Livingston Seafood?

    Actually, if Lawrence of Oregano were to return to its old location on Diversey, it would probably be the best thing on the street.
  • Post #16 - May 7th, 2008, 9:25 am
    Post #16 - May 7th, 2008, 9:25 am Post #16 - May 7th, 2008, 9:25 am
    how much are the prix fixes/food at Tru and Everest?
  • Post #17 - May 7th, 2008, 11:21 am
    Post #17 - May 7th, 2008, 11:21 am Post #17 - May 7th, 2008, 11:21 am
    phr208 wrote:how much are the prix fixes/food at Tru and Everest?

    The three-course at TRU is $95 and they offer a la carte as well, according to their current website. Everest's website does not show prices, but they have a three-course pre-theater prix fixe special for $50 at 5:00/5:30 every night they're open except Fridays. The last time I went, I ordered a la carte; I don't recall exactly what we paid, but my recollection was that it was slightly less than I've paid at the other top restaurants in its class.
  • Post #18 - May 7th, 2008, 12:44 pm
    Post #18 - May 7th, 2008, 12:44 pm Post #18 - May 7th, 2008, 12:44 pm
    I don't care what anybody says, Wildfire is super and the key lime pie is a reason to go in itself.

    I also loved Nacional 27. Petterino's is very good but you pay a high price for not much entree. Tucchi Benucch is closed, unless there is another location besides the one at 900 (or is it 700?) Michigan Ave. Foodlife is interesting if you're in the mood for a food court style meal. Mity Nice Grill, Maggiano's, Scoozi, and Big Bowl are all good but nothing to race back to for a second visit, in my opinion.
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love

    There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach

    I write fiction. You can find me—and some stories—on Facebook, Twitter and my website.
  • Post #19 - May 7th, 2008, 12:53 pm
    Post #19 - May 7th, 2008, 12:53 pm Post #19 - May 7th, 2008, 12:53 pm
    LEYE is not usually my first choice, but they are reliable and I have been to quite a few of them.

    I have had good experiences at many of the restaurants. If I had to choose I would probably pick Cafe Ba Ba Reeba. It has a fun atmosphere, priced well, and the sangria and food are pretty darn good. The bacon wrapped dates are delicious, but I was very disappointed when they removed the escargot from the menu. They were my favorite. The paella is so-so but I am not a big paella fan. I'd stick with the tapas.

    If you're in the mood for something a little more romantic go for Mon Ami Gabi. The food never disappoints and they have wonderful desserts. I am a big fan of the strawberry ice cream crepe.

    Nacional 27-- I have had some good meals there in the past, but their horrible service absolutely ruined my father's 60th birthday party dinner of 12 people. The food is good, but I don't think it's as good as it used to be, and the service was so awful that I can't ever see myself going back, but clearly I am biased against them.

    Eiffel Tower in Vegas was definitely a place where you are paying for the view, but the banana souffle was to die for.

    Everest is fantastic if you have money to spend. We went for our first anniversary as a gift from my father-in-law. Great service, great food, great view, but I am just not the type of person who can spend that type of money on a meal.
  • Post #20 - May 7th, 2008, 12:53 pm
    Post #20 - May 7th, 2008, 12:53 pm Post #20 - May 7th, 2008, 12:53 pm
    I am a regular diner @ Joe's especially during stone crab season. I also think they have some of the best steaks in town. I also think Shaws is decent.

    The places I have been and did not like: Maggiano's, and Wildfire,

    I want to go to Reel Club, but have not yet made a visit
  • Post #21 - May 7th, 2008, 10:41 pm
    Post #21 - May 7th, 2008, 10:41 pm Post #21 - May 7th, 2008, 10:41 pm
    Nacional 27 - My family and I actually experienced really nice and knowledgeable service here. I thought the food was really good and priced pretty well. Definitely enjoyed the amuses pre-dinner and pre-dessert.

    Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba - Not bad. I've had better tapas elsewhere, but there were some good ones here. Pretty affordable too.

    Maggiano's - It's a chain. Not the best or most sophisticated Italian food, but I actually think it's pretty decent for family-style Italian-American fare. I really like the Maggiano's salad as well as the pesto with chicken pasta.
  • Post #22 - May 11th, 2008, 11:33 am
    Post #22 - May 11th, 2008, 11:33 am Post #22 - May 11th, 2008, 11:33 am
    My 2 personal favorites are Osteria Via Stato and Joe's. The salmon at Joe's is amazing!



    Anne
  • Post #23 - May 11th, 2008, 12:08 pm
    Post #23 - May 11th, 2008, 12:08 pm Post #23 - May 11th, 2008, 12:08 pm
    Cynthia wrote:I'm amazed at how LEYE has grown. There was a time they had only a handful of restaurants, and generally goofy ones at that (Fritz That's It, Great Gritsby's Flying Food Show, R.J. Grunts), and now they have some places that don't sound like Monty Python skits.


    I was thinking the same thing. But maybe my tastes weren't very discerning at the time, but I loved Fritz That's It. I remember their salad bar being pretty revolutionary at the time. I also seem to remember a pretty good roast beef sandwich. Mainly though, I remember a lot of very potent drinks. Hmm, maybe that part clouds the rest of the memories. :?
  • Post #24 - May 11th, 2008, 9:25 pm
    Post #24 - May 11th, 2008, 9:25 pm Post #24 - May 11th, 2008, 9:25 pm
    Of the LYE restaurants I've visited, Wildfire is my favorite. I really enjoy the trio of filets, you choose a different crust for each steak! The one I enjoyed the least was Tucci Bennucch. Service was friendly but slow and they actually attempted to serve my wife cold baked spagetti. The words cold and baked obviously don't go hand in hand. Best of luck on your decision. http://www.hungryz.com/tuccibenucch
  • Post #25 - August 19th, 2008, 12:35 pm
    Post #25 - August 19th, 2008, 12:35 pm Post #25 - August 19th, 2008, 12:35 pm
    Diner alleges tapeworm came from Shaw's:

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/08/19/tapewo ... index.html
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #26 - August 19th, 2008, 2:27 pm
    Post #26 - August 19th, 2008, 2:27 pm Post #26 - August 19th, 2008, 2:27 pm
    David Hammond wrote:Diner alleges tapeworm came from Shaw's:

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/08/19/tapewo ... index.html



    Due to the facts that A) it's only alleged and Shaw's denies it, B) the incident was in 2006, and most importantly, C) they have an amazing chopped seafood salad that I get at least once a month, that article won't put a crimp in my dining there! :P

    As an aside, they happen to have what might be the best iced tea I've ever been served in a restaurant. I just discovered it this summer, but it continues to impress me.
  • Post #27 - August 19th, 2008, 6:59 pm
    Post #27 - August 19th, 2008, 6:59 pm Post #27 - August 19th, 2008, 6:59 pm
    Two things:

    1) I still miss Tucci Milan terribly. The budino with almond milk....*sigh*

    2) GWiv would hate Don & Charlie's with the heat of a thousand suns. Worst meat-jello style ribs ever; inexplicably, it's been at its roost in east central Scottsdale for at least 35 years. Go figure. Blech!
  • Post #28 - August 20th, 2008, 5:47 am
    Post #28 - August 20th, 2008, 5:47 am Post #28 - August 20th, 2008, 5:47 am
    sundevilpeg wrote:2) GWiv would hate Don & Charlie's with the heat of a thousand suns. Worst meat-jello style ribs ever; inexplicably, it's been at its roost in east central Scottsdale for at least 35 years. Go figure. Blech!

    Sundevilpeg,

    Next time I am in Phoenix, two of my wife's sisters now live there, a side trip to Scottsdale seems in order. How can I resist a visit to Don & Charlie's with that kind of build up. :twisted:

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #29 - August 20th, 2008, 6:00 am
    Post #29 - August 20th, 2008, 6:00 am Post #29 - August 20th, 2008, 6:00 am
    i know don and charlies used to be operated by carsons ribs son
    chris operates the palces in chicago and his brother went to phionex
    to me more of a steak house than bbq place
  • Post #30 - August 20th, 2008, 6:20 am
    Post #30 - August 20th, 2008, 6:20 am Post #30 - August 20th, 2008, 6:20 am
    Joes Seafood is great although I have not eaten there in about 3 years
    First Place BBQ Sauce - 2010 NBBQA ( Natl BBQ Assoc) Awards of Excellence

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