Restaurant for 50th Birthday Dinner
I am meeting my mother and three sisters in Chicago (none of us are from the area -it's just a central location) to celebrate one siter's 50th birthday and would like advice on a restaurant for celebrating her big day. I am not very familiar with Chicago but we are staying at a hotel on the Magnificent Mile and have been told that this is a great central location. We would like to stay in the neighborhood or within an easy cab ride. Looking for really good food (any cuisine but seafood) and pretty setting - it just can't be too trendy (in food or design) because mom is 72 and old-fashioned and one sister isn't comfortable in overly formal environment. Price not really an object - but, again, mom and one sis are a little out of their realm in the highest end establishments. Just want a place that will create a really good memory for all of us and want to treat my sis to a special night out. Thanks!
How about Brasserie Jo? It's French, the food is great, the atmosphere is not formal or trendy, and the service is friendly. Here's a link: http://www.brasseriejo.com/second_lev...
Their "Famous Shrimp Bag" is delicious, and I see that they now have a chicken version, since you don't want seafood. I'd also recommend their duck breast and confit of duck combo. This is not what I would call a "high-end" place - just good French brasserie food. At 59 W. Hubbard, it's just a short way from the Mag Mile.
Cafe Spiaggia is a one option, it has the same kitchen as Spiaggia (which is also wonderful, but probably too fancy for your sister). The food is wonderful, but the atmosphere is a little more relaxed and the prices are a little more reasonable.
RL is right on Michigan Avenue. Its a very good restaurant associated with the Ralph Lauren store - but run by the same people who run Gibsons, one of the best Chicago steak houses. Traditional American food in a kind of 50s country club setting (Ralph Lauren - go figure...) I've been there a couple times and have found the service and food consistently good. Nice, but not too formal. Full menu is at http://rlrestaurant.polo.com
Cafe Spiaggia and Brasserie Jo are good too. You won't go wrong at any of them.
I suggest you try Custom House. I just took a birthday group there this weekend (an 80th!! birthday). It manages to span the the needs of both the Chowhound and the Chowphobic. It's a meat oriented restuarant opened by one of Chicago's hotest chefs, Shawn McClain. Those looking for steak or lamb will find dishes that don't challenge them. You can also get Veal cheeks or rabbit, and its all done quite well. It's a sleek and modern room that tells you this is a special occasion, but it's not overly formal. It's also pricey but not nearly a top end meal. Everything is a la carte, with most entrees in the low twenties. I think this would be just right for your group. Everyone in mine loved it.
Try Tango Sur, they have GREAT steaks at a reasonable price as well as being BYOB. It's a great atmosphere dimly lit and intimate, however get there for an early dinner or you'll be there waiting for hours!
you could also try Jane's in bucktown, it's great food!
You might check out Allen's on Huron. I went there with my sister and mother for her 65th birthday and it was perfect. The food is great without being unapproachable. The interior is very warm and the staff very accomodating. I'm headed back some day soon. Check it out http://www.allenscafe.com