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Business Dinner in Downtown Chicago

o
Ottawagy Jun 6, 2007 03:01 AM

I'm a going to be in Chicago for business next Monday night and I have to take some clients for dinner. Just wondering if anyone has a recomendation in the downtown area (client offices are somewhere around Aron Centre). I'm not looking for something at the Charlie Trotter price level, but the next rung down would be fine (we're on an expense account). We're a 30 something crowd,so something a little trendy and not too stuffy would be a good fit. As for food preferences, better keep it relatively accessible as I don't know my clients' food likes and dislikes (so no trendy Indian for example). Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Ottawagy

  1. chevychasemdguy Jun 15, 2007 09:44 AM

    I've a client dinner this upcoming Monday and have offered Allen's or Blackbird as a choice -I will definitely report back on how it went. Thanks for the suggestions. I trust a hound over a concierge anyday. : )

    1 Reply
    1. re: chevychasemdguy
      chevychasemdguy Jun 21, 2007 05:14 PM

      Reporting back about Monday night's dinner. We went to Allen's Cafe. It was good - but not special. The service was better than the food. Out waiter (doubling as the bar tender on this slow night) took very good care of us. The ravioli (stuffed with short ribs) were tasty, but there was nothing special about the flavor. They could have used something to give them a bright note - as they were they seemed heavy. I also ordered the elk based on the waiter's suggestion. The elk was over cooked. I ordered it med-rare and asked them to error on the rare side if they aren't going to hit med-rare just right. I had three pieces of elk on my plate and one was what looked like the end cut of a tenderloin. That piece was beyond medium even. The other two were closer to med-well than med-rare. Elk is so lean it really can't take that much cooking w/out drying out. The wines by the glass were tastey. Like I said, overall it was good - but not special. I'd go back again just to try a few other dishes.

    2. o
      Ottawagy Jun 15, 2007 02:23 AM

      Thanks for the suggestions. Client dinner was cancelled and I ended up going for dinner with some colleagues to Phil Stefani's at 437 Rush. It was a very dissapointing meal. The steak was OK, but I've had better. Same goes for the shrimp cocktail I had as an appetizer. I know Chicago has better to offer but unfortunately we followed the dining advice of the concierge at the Sheraton. I'll know better for next time.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ottawagy
        j
        jbw Jun 22, 2007 06:39 AM

        Well, at the very least, you were eating on hallowed ground. Stefani's used to be Riccardo's, a #1 hangout for Chicago writers, journalists, and other hard-partying folks in the fifties and sixties.

      2. s
        SuzMiCo Jun 6, 2007 09:40 AM

        If you are interested in Italian, Cafe Spiaggia or Coco Pazzo are great options for a business dinner (both are short cab rides from the AON Center).

        1. p
          pinotchicago Jun 6, 2007 07:38 AM

          Head to Blackbird on West Randolph. A short cab ride is well worth it.

          blackbirdrestaurant.com

          their sister restaurant, Avec, is excellent too, but does not take reservations.

          1. d
            Dedalus Jun 6, 2007 07:36 AM

            I suggest Custom House, which is a short cab ride from AON. It's very good, not stuffy, but not so trendy that that you'd feel out of place on a business dinner. If proximity to AON is important, there's a very good restaurant next door in the Fairmont Hotel--Aria. Unfortunately, on a Monday, I'm thinking Aria may be dead.

            1. j
              jbontario Jun 6, 2007 07:28 AM

              So many choices, so little time. If your clients are native Chicagoans I would suggest skipping the steak places. We professionals wine and dine steakhouses all the time. It gets kind of boring.

              Some of my most memorable and complimented business dinners have been at Allen's New American Cafe (River North, a 5 minute cab from AON). I will admit that Allen is a personal friend, but that has no bearing on how great of a meal you will have. It's low key and in the gallery district. There are the standard steak and fish, but Allen is a master with game and local ingrediants. Check it out, you will not be disappointed and many of your clients will not have been there before. www.allenscafe.com

              For a fun 30-something (that's me too) standby there is Blue Water Grill. My friends and I often cocktail and sushi there. They do have an extensive sit-down menu and the scene can be quite fashionable (but sometimes quite convention) depends on the day.

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