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Madame Tartine

Madame Tartine
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  • Madame Tartine

    Post #1 - July 25th, 2008, 12:01 pm
    Post #1 - July 25th, 2008, 12:01 pm Post #1 - July 25th, 2008, 12:01 pm
    Partly due to melancholy at not being able to participate in the bike ride tomorrow and partly because I passed the place and liked the look of it, I decided to have my Friday splurge lunch at Madame Tartine today.

    I haven't seen a post on this restaurant so far except a mention that it would be opening soon. I was intrigued when I stopped by last week because I liked the look of the bar. Today, I had lunch there. The menu is French bistro with reasonable prices. I had a croque monsieur and a coke. I know that's not a whole lot to judge by, but it's a start.

    I liked the feel from the moment I walked in--even if it is a little trendy. They have seating outside and large French doors open to the street. I appreciated that they didn't have the air conditioning on even though it's a little warmer and more humid today than the previous couple of days. It gave the restaurant more of the feel of a restaurant in Europe. I chose to sit inside to take in the atmosphere.

    The server gave me a mini-baguette and a carafe of tap water. The bread was warm and looked great. It tasted a just a little underdone and too chewy when I bit into it though, but it was okay. The croque monsieur came with French fries and a salad and a pair of cornichons. I've had a number of croque monieurs in France and Belgium. The sandwich is pretty bland and essentially comfort food. The cheese and ham in this one were both fine, but the bread was a little off. It was good and appeared to be fresh baked, but it was under-toasted. It made me aware that I was eating white bread, which I've never really thought about when having a croque monsieur before. The fries were more Hopleaf than Wiener and Still Champion and a little more shoestring-style than I like, but that's a personal preference because the fries were perfectly crisp and flavorful. The salad had a olive oil dressing on it that again seemed typical of what one would get with a similar salad in Europe. It was also over-salted. I didn't mind it, but I imagine others who want to determine the amount of salt they sprinkle on a salad would.

    I think the proprietors have succeeded in bringing a real flavor of France to the restaurant because it really did feel like what a restaurant in a provincial city in France feels like. Even more than the food though, I think Madame Tartine has real possibilities as an after-work place to drink. The bar is beautiful, and I was able to observe the bartender who was clearly a pro. He was preparing oranges, lemons, and limes for the day and evening. I liked the shape of the glasses they used for beer. I liked that he used the water rinser machine before putting beer in the glass. I liked that they had Stella, Heineken, Leffe, Hoegarden and one other I couldn't make out on tap. I liked the two bottles of Ricard hanging on the wall behind the bar.

    Prices seem pretty good. My sandwich was $10. I grabbed a dinner menu, and steak frites, which is what I care most about, costs $20. They have a lot of decent wines by the glass at $8 and $9. The service was very good although it was pretty empty and therefore hard to judge.

    Madame Tartine
    22 East Hubbard
    Chicago
    Have another. It's 9:30, for God's sake. ~Roger Sterling
  • Post #2 - March 26th, 2009, 7:23 pm
    Post #2 - March 26th, 2009, 7:23 pm Post #2 - March 26th, 2009, 7:23 pm
    The place seems to have shuttered rather suddenly. The bar still looks stocked, and all the furniture is still there. But there is an orange sign that the city tried to conduct an inspection on 2/9 and wasn't able to enter. It appears that Madame Tartine has been closed at least since then.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #3 - March 27th, 2009, 2:35 pm
    Post #3 - March 27th, 2009, 2:35 pm Post #3 - March 27th, 2009, 2:35 pm
    To think that this place may have taken a penny's worth of business from Brasserie Jo, Cyrano's, or Bistro 110 is sad. It was ill conceived, badly managed, and had food rarely exceeding mediocre. Oh, and the service was worse.
    Who would put a giant sceen TV in the cute, intimate black and white decor dining room and then turn in on a Saturday evening-to NASCAR no less? With a nice little old-fashioned dining room, why did they insist on seating people first in the hallway between the bar and the dining room? How could they screw up steak frites? A toilet attedant for a two holer for women? No eau de vie?
    With the locked in business from the hotel feet away from the front door, this restaurant really lacked legs.
    I'm normally sad about restaurants not making it, but not this one.

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