Father's short visit to Chicago
My father (75 years old) is going to be Chicago in a couple of weeks for a brief stopover (he is going to be staying near the miracle mile) and I was wondering if the Chicago Hounds could recommend a great place for dinner and lunch. He is originally from Ireland and so he likes his meat and potatoes or alternatively classic French (As an example one of his favorite restaurants is La Gavrouche in London).
Consequently, I was thinking maybe a great steakhouse for dinner and perhaps an old fashion classic french or seafood restaurant for lunch. Thanks very much in advance.
Thanks very much for all of the suggestions! I gave him a number of your suggestions and in the end, being the stubborned old bugger that he is, has instead made reservations at Morton's and Keefer's. Gibson's sounds great but I think he was put off by the "boisterous" environment. Anyway, thanks again. BTW if you are ever up in Calgary please check out the following restaurants:
With Calgary's booming economy the culinary scene is quite exciting.
Unfortunately, "classic French cuisine" -- as opposed to Nouvelle or bistro cooking -- has virtually disappeared from Chicago. Once upon a time, we could have recommended L'Escargot or La Tour to this gentleman, but no longer. Brasserie Jo is also in the area, and may suit his needs.
What about Bistro Zinc, right there near Gibson's? It's open for both lunch and dinner. Very classic French Bistro. I'm not sure it's the best bistro in Chicago, but it's good and close to Michigan Ave "Mag Mile" (I really like their roast/stewed chicken)
1131 N. State St.
BZ might be one of the better choices in that specific area but IMO not nearly one of the best bistros (based on one visit, and the thickest, toughest, beefiest "veal" liver I've ever had) in Chicago. It might be a good choice for a quick lunch, but, in any case, in quality, menu, and price, it is definitely a bistro. La Gavroche it ain't.
For steakhouse, I think an older Irish guy would like Gibson's. The setting is great, the food is good...
As to the classic French, that's a bit more of a problem... In the immediate neighborhood, Les Nomades is more classic-to-nouveau, NoMi is definitely more creative "french influence". For authentic "rustic French" Cafe Bernard is about 15 minutes away by cab and very reasonably priced. The atmosphere is something like an old french barn and may be a bit too simplistic, however. It's also very BYOB friendly if that's important.
Gibson's is great, but it's definitely known as much for the scene as for the food. It can be crowded, boisterous, and not particularly conversation-friendly. FWIW, the Saloon has excellent food and is a bit quieter.
In terms of an old-fashioned seafood place, he may enjoy the Cape Cod Room in the Drake Hotel.
He might enjoy The Pump Room for dinner. They have new management, chef (Rick Tramanto is consulting) and wine director, and the quality has really come back to where I believe it to be at the level just below the city's best. It's a very historic room in one of Chicago's most exclusive neighborhoods but very convenient to Michigan Avenue.
I do believe that they plan on shutting down for a couple of months in late Winter for extensive renovations, so you might want to check beforehand.
When I see "meat-and-potatoes," "75-yrs-old," "London," I think Lawry's. It's touristy and sometimes uneven, but it's one of the "clubbier" restaurants near the Mag Mile and very accommodating to single diners. It's a good choice for lunch, too. Here's their site:
I'm pretty sure Lawry's has ONLY prime rib (also some seafood entrees, but no steaks) and Gibson's has ONLY steak (also some seafood entrees, but no prime rib). So it may depend on which type of meat he prefers.
FWIW, based on my visits to both, I consider Lawry's okay but not particularly memorable (the food was okay not great, including the so-called "famous spinning bowl salad"), whereas I have found Gibson's to be much more impressive (the steaks are great, it's fun to see all the cuts, and the atmosphere just screams "Chicago steakhouse"). Which is all the more surprising since I generally prefer prime rib to steak. Just my opinion, of course...
1028 North Rush Street,
(corner of Bellevue and Rush)
Chicago, IL 60611
French, open for lunch:
Bistro 110 (French bistro
)110 East Pearson Street
Chicago, Illinois 60611
NoMi (French contemporary
)Park Hyatt Chicago, Seventh Floor
800 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago IL 60611
312 239 4030
If you would be willing to switch your requests - in other words, do the steakhouse for lunch and French for dinner - that would open up some additional options. Gibson's is open for lunch. French/seafood/etc dinner options in the area would then include several places which are not open for lunch:
Avenues (in the Peninsula Hotel
)108 East Superior Street (at North Michigan Avenue)
Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA
312 573 6754
676 N. St. Clair St.
222 E Ontario St
Chicago, IL 60611
All of these are right off the "Magnificent Mile" stretch of Michigan Avenue.