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The Signature Room at the Hancock

f
frankiewickerpark Aug 21, 2007 10:13 PM

Haven taken countless out-of-town guests to the Signature Lounge for an afternoon toddy and a view, my hubby and I decided to try the restaurant last weekend. It was extremely disappointing.

I ordered grilled prosciutto wrapped buffalo mozzarrella for an appetizer. They were kind of cubed and served on a skewer over a dessert bowl which made it extremely awkward to eat. The prosciutto was pretty much cold on three sides and overly grilled on the other. Hubby ordered lobster bisque which was average and a little on the salty side.

For an entree, I ordered broiled pork belly which was way over-cooked. When I asked the server for a suggested wine pairing, she looked befuddled which I thought to be odd for a restaurant serving $30-50 entrees. Hubby ordered a filet. We both ordered white cheddar potatoes for a side. The potatoes were nearly raw and the cheddar sauce had the consistency of broth. We sent both orders back (sending food back is a rarity for both of us - I can't remember the last time I did that). We traded those in for the saltiest mashed potatoes we've ever eaten. I started to call it the Salt Room by the end of the meal.

The service was not what you would expect for a higher-end restaurant. The server seem uninformed and disintersted. Little things like not refilling waters glasses or folding napkins when either of us left the table for a break.

Picky I know - but when we're spending $200 on dinner, we expect more of an experience. Perhaps we were so diappointed in the quality of the food that the lacksidasical service was the icing on the cake. In a nutshell, other than the view, this pick was one big belly flop.

  1. b
    bawood Sep 3, 2007 03:02 PM

    What what I read about your opinion and expectations of the Signature Room, I assume that you can give me some advice about restaurants in Chicago.

    1) Would the Signature Lounge be a good place for drinks and desert? How is the view?

    2) My boyfriend and I are heading up to Chicago the first weekend in Oct. We are interested in dining at a restaurant that is well known for its quality food, yet also has somewhat of a quite, romantic atmosphere. We are not interested in a busy, loud place or a place that is too modern, contemporary. I have looked up 4 and 5 diamond restaurants online and the same ones are mentioned over and over, but they don't seem to be the type of atmospheres that we want. Any suggestions?

    5 Replies
    1. re: bawood
      nsxtasy Sep 3, 2007 03:19 PM

      1. Yes, the bar at the Signature Room is an excellent place for before-dinner drinks or after-dinner drinks; I'm not sure about their desserts, sorry. The view (it's on the 95th Floor) is excellent, both day and night, except when the clouds are low or visibility is poor, in which case there can be no view at all.

      2. Go to Everest. It is one of the very best restaurants in the city, with spectacular food and spectacular service. I have had several of my best dinners ever there. They specialize in Alsatian/French cuisine and have a huge wine list. The atmosphere is indeed quiet and romantic; the decor is traditional, and yes, like the Signature Room, this is another place with a thrilling view from its location at the top of the Midwest Stock Exchange building at the south end of the Loop. They're also slightly less expensive than some of the other top chefs/top tables type places (even more so if you take advantage of their early pre-theater special at 5:00 and 5:30 each evening except Fridays). I believe they are one of the few restaurants offering free parking for diners. Just superb in every way. www.everestrestaurant.com

      1. re: bawood
        blondie60614 Sep 3, 2007 06:02 PM

        1. The view is spectacular.. not to be missed! I'd get desserts elsewhere. They are good at pouring drinks, and thats about it

        2. If you are looking for alternatives to Chicago's well known 5 star restaurants- I recommend Le Coloniel, Northpond or Ambria. They all have great food, romantic atmospheres and are more quiet and lowkey. Also, not at all contemporary or modern in decor

        1. re: blondie60614
          m
          masha Sep 3, 2007 06:46 PM

          Unfortunately, Ambria closed about one month ago.

          1. re: masha
            blondie60614 Sep 3, 2007 06:48 PM

            Oh no!! Do you know why?

            1. re: blondie60614
              jpschust Sep 4, 2007 08:49 AM

              I know the group that owned them (LEY) was courting a new chef that they wanted to open a new place in there.

              We were there for the final night and our food was stunningly terrible. The horrific food was only outshown by the worst fine dining service I have EVER had.

      2. blondie60614 Aug 26, 2007 12:08 PM

        Agreed. Service and food is subpar. Go to the cocktail lounge for the views and a soda instead

        1. Chew on That Aug 23, 2007 03:25 PM

          I'm surprised it was so terrible. A friend of mine loves it there and has been wanting to take me so I can experience it, but maybe it's just the view. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

          1. nsxtasy Aug 22, 2007 07:15 AM

            The Signature Room has had its ups and downs over the years, with more downs than ups. It's always been a place you go more for the views than the food. That's why lots of folks go there for a pre-dinner drink, then have dinner elsewhere.

            Thanks for the report - it always helps to hear about recent visits (anywhere, not just the Signature Room). Sorry it wasn't better.

            1 Reply
            1. re: nsxtasy
              f
              frankiewickerpark Aug 22, 2007 02:51 PM

              We've been trying all sorts of different places this spring and summer rather than our same old, same old. I've got reservations for our Saturday "date night" booked out until November (seriously...lol).
              The previous two weekends we went to onesixtyblue and Spiaggia respectively and after two perfect 10's, that probably made this all the more disappointing.
              We're trying Spring in Wicker Park this weekend so I'll try to remember to post something about it.

            2. k
              Katherine_84f Aug 22, 2007 06:43 AM

              I completely agree with you. I went about 3 weeks ago for the first time, and remember being very underwhelmed by the food. The worst part about it was the service. It's not like they were busy and HAD to ignore us - they just ignored us. The waitress was chatting with her friends most of the time. The food was worth maybe half the price, if that. I'm just glad I went with out-of-town friends so I could make an excuse as to why I was there. Ugh.

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