112 Eatery: Rremains my favorite spot in the cities -- order a bowl of oyster mushrooms (they usually come with the scallops) with whatever you order. Those shrooms steal the show everytime I start with the scallops. Lobster spaghetti was on the menu the last time I was in and it was the best version of it I've ever had -- Spaghetti dressed in a fra diablo sauce with a broiled tail on top. Pork tenderloin and the steak with ponzu are also great. I also love that you can go causal there and get a bacon, egg and harissa sandwich. Anyone had the chinese fried eggs (those are always tempting)
Cosmos: never been
Chambers: good, but not good enough to go back -- I had the salt and pepper walleye and tomato soup (great concept, poor execution with a bit too much salt -- but that crouton with aged cheddar is great)
The chef's tasting menu from Cosmos would be my choice. I've been to both Cosmos and Chambers for special occasions, but never been to 112. Based on what I've heard from others, 112 is like an upscale pub environment (as others have noted) and the food is outstanding. Both Cosmos and Chambers are noisy - if you are going on a Friday or Saturday night don't expect a quiet evening. I went to Cosmos during the week and it was pretty dead so the only noise was from the bar. For special occasion, get the tasting menu at Cosmos - mine was outstanding - it's expensive ~$100 with wine pairings, but well worth it. I remember the walleye at Chambers being outstanding, too. The atmosphere at Cosmos is a bit more special than Chambers. For a more romantic dinner I would also suggest Nicollet Island Inn.
I've never been to any of the other places, but we went to 112 Eatery last night and LOVED it. We had a gift certificate, so we could order lots of items without worrying about cost. The two of us shared the hearts of palm salad, the cauliflower fritters, and the godlike creamed corn. I got a small plate of the lamb sugo and littlefoodie got a small plate of the pasta with marinated ahi tuna (sorry, we've forgotten the actual name). The hearts of palm salad was lovely, with tiny bits of bacon and a yummy avocado dressing. I very much enjoyed the cauliflower fritters and didn't find them the slightest bit bitter. The corn is, as I said, divine. There's no actual cream, they use fresh corn off the cob and truffle oil. I enjoyed my lamb pasta very much and the tuna was superb. My only criticism is that the desserts (we got the chocolate pots de creme and butterscotch budino) are ridiculously enormous, even for sharing. We ended up bringing most of ours home. The chocolate pots de creme is delicious, but is bigger than most creme brulees. Everything else about the entire experience was wonderful. I asked our server loads of questions about the menu and she was incredibly helpful and well-informed. The service was truly fabulous - attentive, friendly, relaxed and gracious.
Here's the very best thing: 112 Eatery is actually quite affordable. Next time we go, our plan is to each get a sandwich or small plate and then share either a salad or side. I expect that will cost about $15 a piece. One can spend more than that at Applebee's, for heaven's sake.
I am evenly split on Cosmos and Chambers Kitchen based on lunch experiences at both places. Excellent food, atmosphere and service. They would certainly be on my special occasion shortlist.
BANK, however, was disappointing because of the service. Very slow and a bit awkward.
I have never been to 112 Eatery so cannot comment on that one.
I have been to all 4 places, and I would not recommend BANK for a special dinner. The setting is beautiful, so it could be a nice place to have a drink, but I think its too inconsistent. As for 112, I absolutely love it, but also agree with the pp that its atmosphere is more bustling and casual and might not be what you're looking for. Between Cosmos and Chambers, Chambers is newer and has more of a hip feeling (could be good or bad for you) while Cosmos is older, still very contemporary, but more elegant. If its an intimate special occasion, I'd pick Cosmos, but if its a birthday or more of a festive celebration, I'd go with 112 or Chambers.
I haven't been to Bank or Chambers. 112 has a fun menu with good food. As others have said, it's a more casual atmosphere (though the service is good and there is linen on the table, if I recall correctly). I haven't been to Cosmos since the new chef took over, but in the past I found it to be quite pricy for the quality. Call it the hotel restaurant surcharge.
I actually like MSPD's suggestion of Fugaise. This overlooked gem has terrific food, and it's a quiet, very nice dining room.
I haven't been to BANK yet.
As for the other three, my recommendation would be based solely on the atmosphere you're seeking rather than the food. Personally, I would be thrilled with a meal at each despite leaving an evening at Chambers a little disappointed (more about expectations than anything the restaurant did except for an annoying server). I think cuisine-wise, they each have equal merit.
While 112 Eatery is, to me, a wonderful menu for a special night out, you're eating in a dressed up bar/pub atmosphere. When I'm in there, I recall my college days foraging change for a cheesesteak at the Best of Philly (or Taste of Philly or whatever it was) and also a couple snacks I had at Franks A Million. For some, a special occasion warrants a little more refined atmosphere and not sitting in a booth. (Again, I love the place...those things don't matter to me, but there are those reading that may care).
Chambers will afford a higher level of sophistication. That said, at peak hours, I have found it loud and, depending on your table location, you may have a business conversation occurring three feet to either side of you. I like the place for a night out without the kids, reconnecting with my "beautiful people" side (ha ha), but I don't think it would be my first choice to do an anniversary or similar there unless I was staying at the hotel upstairs.
Cosmos offers breathing room between tables and a little more serenity. I've celebrated an anniversary there and enjoyed it immensely. If you err on the side of classic special occasion atmosphere, this would be my recommendation, not because it's buttoned down or quiet (or dull), but more a reflection of the liveliness of the other places.
I know this wasn't in your list, but to complete the other end of the spectrum, I'd just like to throw Fugaise in the mix. I can't emphasize enough what delicious cuisine this restaurant creates. This would be more conservative and formal-ish than the other places you list (it's not LBV formal) but it's comfortable, approachable and the food is excellent.
Whatever it is you're celebrating and wherever, enjoy!
I've been to both Cosmos and Chambers in the past few weeks for lunch. Chambers was great. I had a coconut-lime chicken soup that was very spicy but had big chunks of chicken and lots of flavor. I had the corn ravioli which was wonderful! It had a filling of cornmeal and cheese that was very creamy and was in a pesto sauce topped with corn and tomatoes.
I was disappointed with Cosmos. I've had great meals there before, but this was not up to par. The bread and dessert (chocolate gateau) were both excellent. The entrees were not very good, though. I had the halibut - marinated in coconut milk and served with yellow rice and green curry. The entire meal was bland - no flavor. I had to pour salt on it. My friend got the steak. That also was quite bland.
I'd go for 112 Eatery. I had dinner there last week. I did not like the cauliflower fritters - which many rave about - it had little flavor to me to hide the bitterness of the cauliflower. The lamb sugo was wonderful though. Fresh pasta with a tasty tomato sauce and chunks of lamb. The dessert was divine - chocolate pot de creme. My husband got the tres leches cake which was also excellent.
I've heard mixed things about BANK, but have not been there.
Oh, Reddyrat, I'm sorry you've been steered wrong on the cauliflower fritters at 112 Eatery--I am one of the people who love them, but it's more of a texture thing than a flavor thing, I think. There's only a sprinkling of cheese and pepper, really, to cover the "cauliflower" taste. People seem to either love them or think "meh" of them. Fortunately, there is plenty more to love on their menu and I love almost all of their side dishes--the brussel sprouts with bacon when they have it, the farro w/gorgonzola. I used to say their gnocci was my favorite gnocci until I recently tried one at WA Frost, which is my new favorite, but 112 Eatery's gnocci is still good.
Elrushbo, I'm afraid I can't help you choose since I haven't tried all those other places. But I will say that 112 Eatery doesn't feel that intimate to me; it's more hustle and bustle, so, depending on the occasion, that might make a difference to you.
Either way, have fun!