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Has anyone tried Sepia or Table Fifty-Two yet?

  • d
  • DKS1 Aug 21, 2007 07:48 AM

Looking for reviews/opinions for both...

In-laws are coming into town in September and am trying to come up with fantastic, somewhat new restaurants.

We've already exhausted places such as The Dining Room at the Ritz, Les Nomades, Everest, Tru, MK, Aigre Doux, North Pond, etc...

For our two dinners that weekend I'm thinking either Blackbird (none of us has been there), Sepia (ditto), Table Fifty-Two (ditto), Aigre Doux (my husband and I have been, but not the in-laws - a definite possibility!), or One SixtyBlue (but we've all been to the one in NYC)...

Thought of Avenues but although they want to do something "fancy," neither my husband nor I really do. Looking for as fancy as you can get without serious white tablecloths and matching stuffiness...

Any feedback or other suggestions seriously appreciated! Thanks in advance!

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  1. I haven't been to those two places yet. Sounds like you've got quite a bit of experience with other places around town!

    >> Looking for as fancy as you can get without serious white tablecloths and matching stuffiness...

    For great food along with a relatively laid-back atmosphere, I recommend several places outside of the general downtown area:

    Sweets and Savories, in Lincoln Park - www.sweetsandsavorieschicago.com
    Magnolia Cafe, in Uptown - www.magnoliacafeuptown.com
    Lula, in Logan Square - www.lulacafe.com
    Oceanique, in Evanston - www.oceanique.com
    Chef's Station, in Evanston - www.chefs-station.com

    1. My wife and I had dinner at Table 52 the first weekend it was open. We loved it. The food was excellent, the presentation was perfect and the service was great. I had the filet and wife had fish on a plank which that night was halibut. For desert, try the Humming Bird cake.

      The place had a kind of nice feeling – comfortable without being to formal. Best recommendation that I can give it is that is where my wife wanted to have dinner again on her birthday next month. Menu prices on entrees range from about $17 to $32. When we went it was still BYOB, but that may have changed in the last week. The night that we were there Art Smith was making the rounds making sure that everyone was happy.

      Table 52, 52 West Elm, Chicago, IL 60610-2769 1-312-573-4000

      2 Replies
      1. re: Gfw

        What is humming bird cake?

        1. re: nsxtasy

          A Southern style desert made with pineapple, bananas and a few other ingredients. You can find a variety of recipes if you search Google for Hummingbird Cake.

      2. I tried to make a reservation at Sepia recently but they were booked up about a week in advance. Word on the street has been very positive. See here for some reviews - http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic....

        I have not heard of table 52.

        I'm not aware of any one sixtyblue in NY related to the one sixtyblue in Chicago. Do you have a link to it? Are you sure its the same?

        1. I would strongly recommend Sepia based on a recent visit there for dinner. Bar area was very nice for waiting for my less than punctual friends, as was the dining area. I went on a Thursday night at 7pm and the entire dining room was packed. There appeared to be a mix of people there dining for business and pleasure, and the noise level was not loud enough to make a business dinner impossible.

          Service was a bit slow, which I attributed to the packed house. When our server was there, he was very helpful. We passed on the flatbreads that he was pushing, although I've read they are quite good. We opted for the rabbit and octopus appetizers. The octopus was our favorite of the two; one of my friends remarked that the rabbit was a bit gamey. For entrees, I got the skate wing, which we all agreed was the best entree of all we ordered. It came in a nice flavorful broth and vegetables, and I cleaned my plate. My friends got the scallops, which had more of a citrus twist to it, because it came with (I think) pieces of orange, and the striped bass (or maybe sea bass, can't remember) which they all liked, but not as much as when they tried my dish. We passed on dessert, it came to $50 pp with wine. I would definitely return, because I saw many things on the menu I'd still like to try!

          2 Replies
          1. re: jn2001

            This is all really great feedback - thank you everyone!

            I decided to make a reservation for Sepia on Friday and think that I will go ahead with Table Fifty-Two (if possible) for Saturday night... Hopefully we can get a reservation. Gfw's review alone sold me!

            Also, wak - maybe I am confused about the NYC One SixtyBlue? Could I be thinking of Blue Water Grill? Hmmm, I'll have to think about this. Sorry for my error!

            I am also a bit intrigued by nsxtacy's recommendation(s) for Chef's Station and Oceanique in Evanston. However, my MIL is really into the "see and be seen" thing, so driving so "far away" from Chicago would probably infuriate her. Hmmm, maybe I'll do it! :) Those definitely sound like places my husband and I would love to try, however, so thanks for the recs!

            1. re: DKS1

              Blue Water Grill is a chain from elsewhere, maybe NYC. In fact I'll be going there this weekend. Not in fact one of my favorites. 160 Blue is a lot better.

              As far as see and be seen, during Lolapalooza, Mayor Daley had dinner with Perry Farrel (sp?) at Sepia, so that should be a good place. No word on whether Bradgelina made it...

          2. Table 52 hands down. I had dinner there last night at the bar with a friend as I'm in Chicago for a last minute trip (in from San Francisco and I'm an ex-Chicagoan so a big foodie aka pig).

            The Table 52 space is really warm and comfortable (tables are reasonably sized and spaced) and the food and service were great. It's especially amazing what they did with the space when you think about Alberts that was in there before. The food speed was a little off but hey they're new (and we were at the bar so I think we had more of a view of it than diners at the table would have). By contrast, I coincidentally had lunch at Blackbird (tight tables as you know) and while the food was great, service was pretty weak. Incredibly slow drink refills and a missing waiter when they weren't that busy.

            1. While I found the decor/ambiance of Sepia to be great, I thought both the food and service were subpar. In terms of the food, the rabbit appitzer was short on flavor and dried out (the octopus, however, was terrific). Additionally, the duck main was very average. I would also not recommend the watermelon salad (essentially 5 pieces of watermelon on a plate - nothing unusual or creative about it).

              Lastly, the service was terrible. Our server insisted that the table order two orders of flatbread, despite our insistence that we only wanted one (it was good, however). Along those same lines, our server attempted to dissuade us from ordering a South African wine that we were dying to try in favor of more expensive options. Lastly, it took so long to get refills on cocktails that the manager actually came by our table to get our drinks.

              1. I wanted to update this thread with my thoughts on Table 52 from over the weekend. Fantastic!! I had one of the specials of the night, which was a catfish dish in a broth over what I can describe best as tomato salsa. This was one of the tastiest fish dishes I've had in recent memory. We got a side of creamed corn for the table to share, which I ended up eating most of, since that was also quite good, and ended with the strawberry-blueberry dessert. The portion size of this dessert was not as generous as the cakes we saw going past our table, and that was perfect for us, because we were stuffed but determined to have dessert, esp. since we had passed on appetizers. My friends got the filet, which was very good (and I'm not a big beef eater) and the grilled chicken salad, which I did not try, but she liked.

                Once we were seated, service was good. The space is small, so there's not really anywhere to wait for your table. We had an 8pm reservation on Friday night and when I arrived before the rest of my party, I could see all tables were full. The hostess insisted on squeezing me in at the bar between two couples dining there while I waited, which was really a little too cozy for me, but gave me a good preview of dinner. When my two friends arrived, we still had to wait about 10 more minutes and found ourselves being in everyone's way wherever we stood. Finally, we were squeezed into a table for two along the wall, which was a slight improvement over being in the way, and things finally got smoother when the couple next to us left and the two tables were put together.

                I agree, the place is nice without being overly fancy, but to give you an idea of the clientele, everyone dining there besides us that night was in the 40-70 age range, and impeccably dressed - men in sport coats, etc.

                Total with one bottle of wine, shared side, shared dessert, entree, was about $60 pp. for the three of us.