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Lettuce Entertain You

Lettuce Entertain You
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  • Post #31 - August 20th, 2008, 8:49 am
    Post #31 - August 20th, 2008, 8:49 am Post #31 - August 20th, 2008, 8:49 am
    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.


    Just don't get the bacontini.
    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
    Read "Cooking for One" at Literary Orphans via my author page.

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  • Post #32 - February 20th, 2009, 7:55 pm
    Post #32 - February 20th, 2009, 7:55 pm Post #32 - February 20th, 2009, 7:55 pm
    Disclaimer: Didn't pay for the food...

    So I am picky about food... especially Chinese food, because well... I'm Chinese. :) The boy and I are looking for a place to have our rehearsal dinner. Has to be near the hotel and preferably an Asian restaurant. I could charter a shuttle bus and schlep everyone to Chinatown, but that is crazy expensive. So I was left with 2 choices, PF Changs or Ben Pao.

    I just got back from meeting with the nice folks at Ben Pao to discuss whether they can make authentic Chinese food for the dinner. Mike's family is more Shanghainese, mine is more Cantonese. We are looking at a menu that has dishes from both regions. What I wasn't expecting was 2 appetizers and 4 entrees being served. We now have 6 boxes of leftovers in the kitchen!

    We had:

    1. Ginger Shrimp Dumplings - Think har gow filling in a regular (ie not handmade) wonton wrapper. Nicely seasoned with a kick of ginger. Served in a spicy sweet soy sauce and chili oil. Canton style filling in a Northern Style (aka thick) wrapper. Very good. Would be better if the wrapper was made in house.

    2. Crispy Garlic Tofu - Tofu quality was excellent! Silky soft, and tastes like... soy! The only complaint was the sauce was too sweet and thick. It would have been better served on the side.

    3. Spicy Dragon Noodles - Noodles were a little overdone. I prefer a chewier noodle. Sauce was a little sweet and oily. But the beef was pretty well stir-fried. Good wok hay on the beef

    4. Shanghai Prawns - Nice tang to it. The chef has a good hand with vinegar. I was puzzled by the water chestnuts being in the dish, but they were fresh and not out of a can. So props to the poor kitchen staff who had to peel them!

    5. Black Pepper Sea Scallops - a little overdone, and sweet. The black pepper was cracked over the scallops. Would have been better if it was incorporated into the sauce like Black Pepper Crabs in Singapore.

    6. Barbecued Pork Shoulder - I saved the best for last. AMAZINGLY GOOD. Tender pork, nicely marinated. Juicy, and seasonings were spot on. Caramelized bits on the outside, nice fat layering on the inside. Mike's favourite dish of the night, though he thought it was a tiny bit too salty. Luckily Mike is leaving tomorrow, so I get to eat the leftovers!

    Overall, the only one request I would make when ordering is to tone down the salt. Service was impeccable. We had a very nice server who explained everything without sounding like a know-it-all. They are truly interested in discovering more authentic tastes, but because of their clientele, have to "fix" it to suit their tastes. That being said, almost everything we have having for our rehearsal dinner is not on their regular menu (except for the pork shoulder!). There is a dish I'm requesting and they are going to research and prepare for our dinner. I know it's a chain restaurant, but I am honestly pleasantly surprised by Ben Pao.
  • Post #33 - February 20th, 2009, 9:35 pm
    Post #33 - February 20th, 2009, 9:35 pm Post #33 - February 20th, 2009, 9:35 pm
    Disclaimer: I worked as a prep cook at Wildfire for a summer about 10 years back.

    LEYE might not be the best at what they do, but I'd say they rate a solid good at minimum. With a few exceptions, I wouldn't say an LEYE place would be good for, say, an LTH outing, but as somewhere to take your parents or some unadventurous co-workers, sure.

    This might be a bit off-topic, but LEYE is great to work with for parties. I've had the dubious honor of planning my company's Christmas party the last several years and have done it at LEYE places each time. Their party planners are very easy to work with and helped me come up with appropriate menus for both the year we had to spend a lot to reserve the time slot we wanted and this year when we had half the budget we have in the past. I've done the party at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba, Ben Pao, Mon Ami Gabi and Osteria Via Stato and have gotten nothing but positive comments from co-workers (from the ones who were scared of Ben Pao because it was "not normal food" as well as from the few that frequent LTH.)

    To me, LEYE's biggest strength is consistency. And in my experience, if a dish at one of their places tastes one way today, it's gonna taste exactly the same tomorrow and next week and next year. There's definitely something to be said for consistency.
  • Post #34 - February 21st, 2009, 5:12 pm
    Post #34 - February 21st, 2009, 5:12 pm Post #34 - February 21st, 2009, 5:12 pm
    eli wrote:With a few exceptions, I wouldn't say an LEYE place would be good for, say, an LTH outing, but as somewhere to take your parents or some unadventurous co-workers, sure.

    This might be a bit off-topic, but LEYE is great to work with for parties.
    We used to have clients in from Detroit and all go out as a group of about 20 or so. The clients all loved Maggiano's and it was a place that everyone could find something to eat on the menu (important since we have vegetarians in our group). I've planned parties/meetings there for 30-40 people back in the day as well. Everyone's always been really happy with it.

    I like Mon Ami Gabi as well, especially for a date or a girls' lunch/dinner. I used to go directly from work there sometimes to meet a friend and it really is a relaxing atmosphere there. I could feel the cares of the day just floating away.
    "things like being careful with your coriander/ that's what makes the gravy grander" - Sondheim
  • Post #35 - January 3rd, 2018, 12:08 pm
    Post #35 - January 3rd, 2018, 12:08 pm Post #35 - January 3rd, 2018, 12:08 pm
    I was given an LEYE gift card this year. It's been quite a while since I've been to one of their restaurants. I'm looking to go to one of the mid-range places. Any suggestions/comments on them would be greatly appreciated. I'm not set on any particular cuisine, just looking for good food in an enjoyable environment.
  • Post #36 - January 3rd, 2018, 12:24 pm
    Post #36 - January 3rd, 2018, 12:24 pm Post #36 - January 3rd, 2018, 12:24 pm
    knitgirl wrote:I was given an LEYE gift card this year. It's been quite a while since I've been to one of their restaurants. I'm looking to go to one of the mid-range places. Any suggestions/comments on them would be greatly appreciated. I'm not set on any particular cuisine, just looking for good food in an enjoyable environment.

    I was at Di Pescara in Northbrook this week, and it seems to have upped its game the last few years. The Supper Club menu was three courses for $19.99, and the whitefish entrees were well executed with good vegetable accompaniments. Salads were full of fresh ingredients. Service was good.
  • Post #37 - January 3rd, 2018, 12:25 pm
    Post #37 - January 3rd, 2018, 12:25 pm Post #37 - January 3rd, 2018, 12:25 pm
    I've always enjoyed meals at Joe's, Mon Ami Gabi, and L Woods.
  • Post #38 - January 3rd, 2018, 12:26 pm
    Post #38 - January 3rd, 2018, 12:26 pm Post #38 - January 3rd, 2018, 12:26 pm
    L. Woods is always a solid choice for me.
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #39 - January 3rd, 2018, 1:00 pm
    Post #39 - January 3rd, 2018, 1:00 pm Post #39 - January 3rd, 2018, 1:00 pm
    Obviously, your location might play into your decision. And most of their restaurants are open for both lunch/brunch and dinner, with lunch specials that are often bargains (and not always shown on their website menus).

    Here are the LEY restaurants I went to and enjoyed during 2017.

    I'm a big fan of seafood, which is why I made several visits each to Di Pescara (Northbrook), Reel Club (Oak Brook), and Shaw's Crab House (Chicago and Schaumburg). Di Pescara and Reel Club are quite similar, with some of the same dishes on their menus; Di Pescara also adds Italian/pasta dishes. In addition to dinner and weekday lunch, all three have a worthwhile buffet weekend brunch; the best (and, at $59, the most expensive) of the three is the downtown location of Shaw's, which is the only one with Alaskan king crab legs, along with their amazing thick-cut caramelized bacon, a carving station with beef tenderloin, Chicago's best crab cakes, made-to-order omelets, Chicago's best creme brulee, and much much more.

    I get carryout frequently from Maggiano's. I'm particularly fond of their chopped salad.

    I had an excellent lunch at RPM Steak. It's great for dinner, too, but more expensive than lunch, and you need to reserve well in advance for desirable dinner seatings.

    Speaking of which, if you want to stretch your gift card dollars further, Restaurant Week is coming January 26-February 8, and some of the LEY restaurants are participating.

    P.S. Props on the nine-year topic bump! :)
  • Post #40 - January 3rd, 2018, 2:40 pm
    Post #40 - January 3rd, 2018, 2:40 pm Post #40 - January 3rd, 2018, 2:40 pm
    Thanks, should have specified city. And no, I didn't resurrect the old thread, somebody combined it, but thanks for the props anyways.

    Has anyone been to Babareeba recently? The menu at Oyster Bah looks good.
  • Post #41 - January 3rd, 2018, 10:06 pm
    Post #41 - January 3rd, 2018, 10:06 pm Post #41 - January 3rd, 2018, 10:06 pm
    Hi Knitgirl. We dined at Cafe Babareeba the week before Xmas. We’ve been a few times this past year after not going for almost a decade. No real reason we stopped going except the location was no longer particularly convenient for us after a few Chicago moves. Tapas are particularly good for us with our 5 year old and they execute well for what they are. The baked goat cheese was exactly as comforting as I remembered from years ago. The service is friendly and professional and the pacing is not too quick but without lengthy gaps either. It’s an enjoyable evening out for us.
    That being said, LOVE the walleye at L. Woods.
  • Post #42 - January 3rd, 2018, 10:57 pm
    Post #42 - January 3rd, 2018, 10:57 pm Post #42 - January 3rd, 2018, 10:57 pm
    knitgirl wrote:The menu at Oyster Bah looks good.

    Oyster Bah is a short bus ride from my work, so have been a few times for the happy hour oyster special, always sit at the bar, and add a few other dishes and drinks. In addition to $1.50 oysters, one each from east and west coasts, there are a few other items at reduced cost during HH. From their website, Happy Hour runs Mondays-Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on Fridays-Sundays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

    I also consistently enjoy Mon Ami Gabi (especially the patio in summer), Joe's, RPM Italian, Stella Barra, and Ramen-San. Friends have had very good experiences at Beatrix, RPM Steak, Naoki Sushi, and Booth One, although all except Beatrix might be beyond the OP's price point. Tiki drinks at Three Dots and a Dash might be another fun way to spend some of the gift.
  • Post #43 - April 15th, 2018, 10:19 pm
    Post #43 - April 15th, 2018, 10:19 pm Post #43 - April 15th, 2018, 10:19 pm
    I had a really good experience having the omakase at Sushi-San over the weekend. It was the only sushi restaurant I have been to in Chicago where chef makes each piece of nigiri one at a time, dresses it with nikiri, and places it in front of you before moving onto the next course similar to fine sushi restaurants in Tokyo.

    IMO, a good deal at 88 dollars for a small appetizer, 12 piece of nigiri, and a hand roll for the quality of fish you get.

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