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Jan 19, 2006 07:44 AM

Your Opinion on Sassafraz

  • j

I want to go out to a decent restaurant in Yorkville with my boyfriend, and I came across Sassafraz. I heard it's a celebrity venue aka very pricey. I am just wondering whether the priciness is worth it in the end. How's the food and service? Do you think I can find a better restaurant with a similar price range in Yorkville?

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  1. The food at Sassafraz is okay to good...service can be a problem...I much prefer Opus on Prince Arthur West of Avenue...great wine selection ,excellent food and service...also can be romantic and cozy...Miranda

    8 Replies
    1. re: Miranda

      Seconded. Opus is about food. Sassafraz is about being shallow. It advertises on television like chain restaurants. To make it worse, they don't even advertise the food, just the fact that you can see celebrities there and be seen in their magical aura.

      Go to Opus and eat well. If there are any celebrities that like really good food, you might see them there :)

      1. re: Willis

        And a third from me. Avoid Sassfraz. Opus is great. Another lovely option in the area is Boba.

        1. re: Jo

          And yet another vote for Opus (or fourthed the vote if you prefer).

          I have been to Sassafraz a couple times in the last while (not by my choice) and both times felt it was lack lustre at best, both in terms of food and service.

          Each time I have been to Opus, both the food and service have been excellent.

          Opus seems to be (at least to me) one of those hidden gems that people frequently gush over, but forget it is there because not on the main strip. So it almost becomes a recurring new discovery when someone suggests it.

          1. re: Lazar

            I agree Opus is a much better option. I would even go to Flow before Sassafraz.

            1. re: funfoodie

              Thank you all for your opinion. Opus it is!!!

            1. re: Jo

              It is very sad news, but my good friends Bob Berman and Barbara Gordon have closed their wonderful restaurant BOBA.

        2. Yawn... We've always enjoyed the Studio Cafe at the Four Seasons (the lobster club is pretty yum)... :)

          1. Just skip sassafraz, overpriced and medeocre at best.
            Service can be a problem and the crowd overly pretentious.. that is for a group of people eating at Sassafraz for the sole purpose of "Celebrities have been seen there"
            Please, I live in Yorkville, and spend soo much time there, I've seen more celebrities at the Starbucks down the street then at Sassafraz.

            Great choices to eat in Yorkville:

            The Four Seasons
            Arlequin (Avenue and Davenport)
            Cafe Nervosa is relatively cheap and cheerful, very relaxed and has decent pizza and pasta. It's not a grand culinary experience, but, you won't regret it. Across the street from Sassafraz.
            Flow Restaurant - Trendy with a tendancy to use too much salt. But, pretty decent.
            Jacques Bistro Du Parc (My Favorite!) This tiny husband and wife team will transport you to a charming Parisian Bistro with fresh ingredients and delicious Bistro fare. Very good at wine pairing, I've had some of my best meals at this tiny upstairs eatery.

            Yorkville has some great places to eat, and it also has it's unfortunate flops. Maybe I'm being too hard, but, I do my best to be truthful, especially when it comes to eating out, which can turn into a significant expense. You want to spend your hard earned dollars well on something that you will excite you, not make you feel ripped off.

            Good luck and Have a great night out!

            4 Replies
            1. re: MsMarieAnn

              Thanks for the advice! Gonna check out a few soon...

              1. re: MsMarieAnn

                Arlequin has been closed for over a year now.

                1. re: estufarian

                  This is kind of an old post. Sassafrazz has burnt down and been rebuilt during the time.

                  1. re: Dimbulb

                    Old but still relevant, since it's open again. When someone does a search on Sassafraz ... voila. People need to know what the place is like!

              2. Avoid this place like the plague.

                My husband and I stumbled upon Sassafraz one cold November afternoon, and went inside to ask to see a menu (they do not display one out front, probably in an effort to appear exclusive). Oddly, we were handed a bar menu, and had to ask further for one from the dining room. We found the dishes interesting enough to make a reservation for that evening, a Sunday. When we arrived for dinner, there were a few people in the bar/lounge, but the vast dining room was empty and uninviting. Just one lonely pair of diners sat against the back wall. My husband and I were marched to the back of the room, to the table next to the kitchen and table-busing station -- a table from which we would have had the pleasure of seeing into the kitchen every time the door swung open. I looked at the hostess and said "No". She looked puzzled, and I explained that placing people at such a table in an empty dining room is equivalent to telling them to ... well, you know. So we turned around and left that sad, empty place and went to Cafe Nervosa just up the street. It was full of happy people, and the waiter welcomed us even though we had no reservation. As luck would have it, a table had opened up just as we arrived. We dined simply, but well. And we were treated with respect.

                1. I actually enjoyed my experience there, although this is before the fire and renovation.

                  Unlike others, our party had a GREAT waiter. He was very helpful and made our experience there memorable. We didn't like the food on the regular menu and the waiter had no problem handing us the bar menu, although we sat in the dining area. The food was not bad, but was not out of this world. What I do remember though, aside from our great waiter, was the sorbet trio we shared as dessert.

                  Also, when we were there, the place was pretty packed, both the bar area and the restaurant area.

                  I guess the fire really killed the place. After the re-opening, many have suggested we avoid it as well. How unfortunate though!

                  2 Replies
                  1. as with everything, its a matter of relative experiences. for me, Cafe Nervosa is just perfect. Sassafraz is/was a place 'to be seen' as was the Belair Cafe once up on a time. I wouldn't bother personally.

                    One thing that I will enjoy with a slight slowdown in this town and this may sound quite cold is that these restaurants will have to come back down to reality with their prices and service. No more of the attitude and a return to service which is, surprisingly, what kept a lot of these old-time restaurants still in business after the 'recession' of the 90's.

                    We pay good $ for our meals - these days it seems like they're giving us the meal for free.

                    1. re: bluesbreaker1969

                      I was reading about Boba and searched more about it, and this post also came as a result (i guess someone talked abotu boba above). But my take of Sassafraz is that its a great place during filmfestival if you want to be seen there (not with other celebritiees, but other wanna-be's and those trying to hang out with celebrities as well -- truth is, they do a great job at PR but abrely any celebrities go there).

                      My favourite place in Yorkville, to have a quiete evening for a long time, has been the Hyatt roof top bar. Some peopel like Sassafraz for that. My favourite place to eat, is now Prego. I thought it was shut down ... but found myself there when a friend made reservations recently for dinner (actually ont he 31st). I had fantastic food there, and super good times -- The place was packed and felt like the old times. I went back there for lunch again this week (just to check it out again) with my daughter, and food again was great - and moderately priced. Anyways, hope no more restaurants close down. It makes me sad.