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The Alchemist in J.P.

t
TheScribe Sep 7, 2006 02:55 PM

I went there last night for the first time. I had a great meal! I ordered the spare ribs appetizer and the roast chicken entree. Both dishes showed a lot of imagination and came with some great 'sides'. Plus, the bread and flavored oil at the start of the meal were divine. Good prices. Our waiter was friendly and fun, but the rest of the staff were just so-so. The dining room could use a bit more atmosphere, while the lounge area was bustling and fun.

http://www.thegeminiweb.com/babyboome...

  1. w
    windycity Dec 12, 2006 07:10 PM

    I had a great BBQ pork sandwich at the Alchemist a few weeks ago for I think $9 with honey mustard sauce. I would definitely go back for another one. Plus the vibe is good and the place has great music.

    1. f
      FoodFemme Dec 11, 2006 11:29 PM

      I dislike it when restuarnats suprise you with an ingredient larger than a garnish. That's sort of how I felt about the pepper overload on my steak.

      1. b
        Bluebell Dec 11, 2006 12:45 AM

        We ended up at the Alchemist tonight after finding Cafe D closed for a private party. Great dinner for the three of us, and the service was nice and kid-friendly (we arrived just after 6). I had the portobello burger (ground-up, as one poster mentioned), spouse had the burger, and kidlet totally enjoyed her mac and cheese. The $4 grilled asparagus side was skimpy and not very grilled, but the focaccia was very nice, fries were good, and the drinks were wonderful. My gin ginger gimlet was better than the West Side Lounge. If we lived closer, we'd be regulars!

        1. t
          TheScribe Sep 10, 2006 02:39 PM

          When I went the waiter promised we would love the chocolate mousse but we had no room for dessert. Glad to hear it was good!
          I will definitely be going back, too. I just hope the service picks up a bit.

          http://www.thegeminiweb.com/babyboome...

          1. c
            carfoodie Sep 9, 2006 08:21 PM

            We ate there last night for the first time. The wait was non existent, but by the time that we left (9:30) there actually was one. Neat space, cool bar, but too highly lit. I hope that they turn down the lights.

            The service was spotty. While bread and water flowed fast and free drinks and a proper wait person were slow to arrive. It seemed that they were understaffed. Hopefully this was an off night for them.

            As for the food: I had a mixed greens salad with a nice light lemon vinaigrette I liked the salad but they should have left the tomatoes off, they were not good. My wife had the same. Dinners were both good. I had the Braised beef in tomato sauce over papradelle. It was a good dish, the portion size was adequate not too small not too big. My wife had the salmon over jasmine rice, overall the dish was good but the rice was over salted. Strangely enough we both had desert. I had the strawberries and balsamic reduction over a ricotta cream. I liked this a lot, savory and sweet. My wife had a chocolate mousse that was chocolate mousse. Over all we will definitely be returning.

            1. e
              eatanddestroy Sep 7, 2006 05:52 PM

              I found that the risotto and the broth had very little flavor. I actually liked that it was fried. Also, the mussels that we received were not choice picks. However, my main complaint, which could have had influence on my overall opinion of the dish, is that it was sprinked with peas (no mention of this on the menu), and I have an extreme hatred for peas that I have not been able to shake over the years.

              (oops, meant to post this as a reply to Dax's above comment/question)

              3 Replies
              1. re: eatanddestroy
                Dax Sep 7, 2006 05:58 PM

                The peas tasted somewhat frozen. I hate them too.

                My broth and risotto had plenty of flavor. I mean the flavor could have been stronger, but it was tasty to me.

                1. re: Dax
                  Joanie Sep 7, 2006 06:06 PM

                  Let's start a no peas campaign. All these perfectly good scallop dishes are ruined cuz chefs think peas go so well with them. Corn please with my scallops.

                  1. re: Joanie
                    e
                    eatanddestroy Sep 7, 2006 06:21 PM

                    I second the anti-peas campaign and, Dax, next time I go to the Alchemist, I will try the Risotto again, but I'll ask for no peas and see if I have a change of heart without those invasive green critters.

              2. e
                eatanddestroy Sep 7, 2006 04:30 PM

                I was there on Saturday. The highlight of the meal was the focaccia that they served before the meal. Unlike Dax, I was not impressed with the fried risotto, although the presentation was great. My steak sandwich was basic and good. Others who I was dining with really liked the baked penne and the flatbreads and found the pulled pork sandwich to be mediocre since it lacked spice. The cocktails were hit or miss (depending on who made them and how much attention they were paying).

                Our waitress and the hostess were outstanding...

                Although this is not the type of food that I crave on a regular basis, I will be back...

                http://www.eatanddestroy.com

                2 Replies
                1. re: eatanddestroy
                  Dax Sep 7, 2006 05:15 PM

                  What about the risotto did you not like? That it was fried and kind of crunchy more than rich and smooth?

                  1. re: eatanddestroy
                    f
                    FoodFemme Sep 8, 2006 03:26 AM

                    I have dreams about the focaccia. The drink I had was amazing as well.

                    The steak sandwich I tried has potential, if they do something about the overabundance of pepper and fine tune grill skills, so as not to leave the meat too dry.

                    Dining companion had the flatbread pizza. perfectly acceptable, but nothing special.

                  2. Dax Sep 7, 2006 03:09 PM

                    I ate there with a friend last Friday night on a whim.

                    Excellent focaccia, the oil was just eh, the tasty kalamatas were a nice touch.

                    Ordered the fried risotto with mussels, clams, etc. as an app. Man that was good, the combination of a mussel with a bite of that fried risotto was rich, crunchy and bursting with seafood flavor all at once. Sopping up the broth with the focaccia was a treat as well.

                    I had one of the flatbread pizzas with prosciutto and ... I forget. It was good, but I'll stick to the regular entree list next time. The "crust" could have been a little more cooked. Maybe you can request well done?

                    My friend ordered the sheppard's pie. He ate it all. I had a bite of the meat (real chucks of beef, not ground beef) and it tasted well seasoned and very tender.

                    Service was great.

                    Interesting mix for the crowd.

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