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In town from SF Sunday, Sept 9...

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ptrachel Jul 15, 2007 12:41 AM

hi, all --
my husband and i will be staying downtown on sunday sept 9, and want to go to a nice place for our anniversary. looking for contemporary american or french, asian fusion, or any other interesting recommendations. thanks!

  1. p
    Pugman Jul 16, 2007 04:32 PM

    Lots of good recs from other 'Hounds, but several of the places metioned are closed on Sunday (definitely Avenues, Blackbird and Le Lan). I had a FANTASTIC birthday dinner at BOKA last night. My second-best Chicago meal of the 2007 (#1 being Alinea) and topped only by a few (and much more expensive) meals in Los Angeles and NYC. Avec, while great fun and delicious, is not really "anniversary appropriate" since it is generally off-the-chart crowded and loud. They do open around 3:30, so it could be a great pre-dinner place for some wine and snacks.

    I still think Spring http://springrestaurant.net is one of the best restaurants in the city. Certainly in the very top-tier among seafood-focused places. The chef won the 2006 James Beard award (and many other awards over the years). Some people find the flavor profiles to be a bit subdued, but I've always appreciated the subtleties. I like the fact that the chef's fish dishes are still instantly recognizable as fish and that he shows restraint in his approach to fusion (always just the right number of ingredients).

    If cost is not a consideration ($135 and $195 before beverages, tax and tip), Alinea is the way to go (and they are open on Sunday). After 7 or 8 meals there since opening, I think it may be the best restaurant in the country.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pugman
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      ptrachel Jul 16, 2007 10:27 PM

      sweet. just got reservations for the 12 course menu at alinea. thanks for all the great suggestions -- can't wait to visit, revisit, and try them all! :)

      1. re: ptrachel
        p
        Pugman Jul 17, 2007 03:53 PM

        PERFECT choice! I actually prefer the 12-course over the "tour". If you enjoy wine, be sure to do the wine pairings.

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      naperwino Jul 16, 2007 09:59 AM

      I had one of my best birthday dinners ever at Meritage in Bucktown. They have this amazing outdoor patio - a very romantic atmosphere. My birthday also happens to be on Sept. 9th.

      1. mitch cumstein Jul 16, 2007 05:51 AM

        i think avec, although recommended to everyone, is one of the most unique and best culinary experiences we have to offer. it is the "little" sister restaurant to blackbird. both are in the school of chez panisse, and i second the avenues nod, i still dream about a prosciutto wrapped rabbit loin i had there over 2 years ago!

        www.avecrestaurant.com/

        1 Reply
        1. re: mitch cumstein
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          wak Jul 16, 2007 06:07 AM

          I love Avec. In fact, I like the food more than some of the other places I mentioned. My only issue with Avec for an anniversary dinner is that they don't take reservations and they have those big communal tables where you are pretty much forced to bond with the people next to you, or potentially eat at the bar. Fun if you are in the mood for it, but maybe not the best for an intimate dinner for two. You are right though, it is one of the most unique and best places in town.

        2. mitch cumstein Jul 15, 2007 01:09 PM

          I'd be wary of catch 35, to me it seemed pretty uninspired, and nothing will come in fresh that day being sunday. I think in the french/asian or french vietnamese route i would suggest
          Aria
          200 N. Columbus Drive
          http://www.ariachicago.com/

          Le LAN
          www.lelanrestaurant.com

          749 N Clark St
          Chicago, IL 60610
          (312) 280-9100

          I would suggest le colonial, but i believe there is one in sf.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mitch cumstein
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            ptrachel Jul 15, 2007 07:54 PM

            awesome, guys - checked out reviews for all of the above, and they sound great. keep it rollin'-- i'm definitely open to suggestions outside of the fusion realm. we'll try anything good!! :)

            1. re: ptrachel
              w
              wak Jul 16, 2007 05:22 AM

              Another nice French/Vietnamese - Le Colonial. Decor and cuisine is a little more traditional Colonial Vietnamese style than Le Lan, but both are quite good, although I have not been to Le Lan since they changed chefs around 6 months ago.

              For contemporary American, I like OneSixty Blue, and I've heard some grat recent reviews of Naha, although I have not been for a while. I recently tried Boka which was quite good, but I'd rather go back to 160 Blue. All three are contemporary American. Blackbird and MK are in the same genre and get good reviews, although my one trip to MK was disappointing.

              And if budget is no problem, I had an outstanding meal at Avenues recently.

              http://www.onesixtyblue.com/default.htm
              http://www.blackbirdrestaurant.com/
              http://www.naha-chicago.com/
              http://www.lecolonialchicago.com/
              http://www.bokachicago.com/
              http://www.mkchicago.com/

          2. weinstein5 Jul 15, 2007 11:52 AM

            Iwould suggest Catcg 35 - IMHO one of the best seafood restaurants in Chicago - The chef does an Asian/French fusion to some og the freshest seafood in town - http://catch35.com/chicago-01-home.html

            -----
            Catch 35
            35 W. Wacker Dr., Chicago, IL 60601

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