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Sep 26, 2007 02:32 PM

3 Nights: Sepia, Schwa, N. Pond (in order)??

Subject says it all! Late October weekend -- party of six for three dinners in a row, beginning with Sepia on the day of arrival (staying at 4 Seasons), then Schwa on Sat., ending with N. Pond on Sunday. Thoughts? Trying to avoid anything too refined (Avenues) or too drawn out (Alinea) or too noisy (Blackbird), but still fun, exciting, poised, and tasty!

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  1. Sounds like a good line-up to me. Sepia's been getting mixed reviews (I haven't been there myself so I can't comment). If you're looking for something to sub-in, I think Naha would be a good choice for what you're looking for.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jesteinf

      I agree with jesteinf's reply; I, too, have heard mixed things about Sepia, but haven't been there. I recommend one sixtyblue as another substitution possibility.

    2. I think your choices are fantastic. I've never been to Schwa, however, but have only heard excellent things...

      I have been to Sepia, and I thought our meal was spectacular. Every bite. I've mostly heard positive reviews, but am aware that it's received some negative attention as well. However, I still would enthusiastically recommend it. The restaurant itself is warm and interesting (they have two great private tables in the back, too, that I'm eager to reserve!), and the food really was just wonderful. My husband and myself as well as my very particular in-laws were more than pleased by the whole experience. Service was excellent as well. (And I could post almost the same review for North Pond - simply wonderful.)

      Hope you have a wonderful weekend! With your choices, you won't be able to help but have a great time...

      1 Reply
      1. re: DKS1

        I asume you have made schwa reservations already??

        getting someone on the phone, as well as getting a confirmed reservation are both tough there-6 weeks in advance last time we went- but well worth the trouble.

        Have a great time-

      2. I haven't been to Sepia or Schwa, but Northpond is an great choice- you will really love it.

        If you change your mind on Sepia or can't get into Schwa I would recommend MK as an alternative.

        1. Well, we have a slight issue now -- two of the six won't be arriving until close to dinner time on Friday and requested that the restaurant be relatively close to the hotel (Four Seasons). So, I am considering striking off Sepia and going with NaHa, instead, unless there is a better alternative (is Nomi or Custom House good and nearby?). FYI -- I haven't a clue about Chicago geography! I'm going to shift N. Pond to Sat. and go with Schwa on Sunday. Anyhow, thanks for all of the help and suggestions.

          2 Replies
          1. re: lazylghtng

            I love Naha, and think it is a wonderful choice, but it's not that much closer to the hotel than Sepia. Naha is about a 10 min cab ride from your hotel, Sepia is probably a 15 min. cab ride.

            1 block from your hotel is Cafe Spiaggia, a wonderful Italian restaurant. It's big sister Spiaggia is also right there, but it is probably fancier than you are looking for. NoMi is also close by. Custom house is a 15 min cab ride.

            1. re: SuzMiCo

              Just to orient you... The Four Seasons is at the north end of Michigan Avenue. It's about a mile north of the Chicago River, on the other side of which is the Loop (Chicago's older commercial district).

              I think SuzMiCo's recommendation of Cafe Spiaggia is absolutely wonderful, and as she notes, it's very close to your hotel. For another nearby choice, if you enjoy French bistro type places, Bistro 110 is also a block or so away and is excellent. Website for both (as well as the super-splurge Spiaggia):

              From the Four Seasons, Naha is roughly 1/2 mile south and 1/4 mile west. It might take 10 minutes, might take 5, depending on time of day etc.

              Sepia is west of the Loop so it's further, roughly 1 mile south and 3/4 mile west of the hotel. Custom House is south of the Loop, roughly 1.5 miles south and 1/4 mile west. In both cases, you're driving through or past the Loop, so they take a bit longer to get to than the sheer distance implies.

              Don't feel like you're missing out on anything if you decide on Cafe Spiaggia (or Bistro 110). It's excellent.

              Most of these places accept reservations on

          2. Hi there -- in case you haven't heard, this just came out from Chicago Magazine:

            Dish FLASH
            From the Dining Editors of Chicago magazine
            by Penny Pollack & Jeff Ruby

            You may have heard by now, but allow us to verify: After two meteoric years of business, Schwa (1466 N. Ashland Ave.; 773-252-1466) has closed. Aaron McKay, the sad-sounding guy who answered the phone when we called, hemmed and hawed before saying that Schwa was closing “indefinitely.” Chef-owner Michael Carlson’s cell phone has a perpetual busy signal.

            For the record: Schwa opened in August 2005 and served its last meal on October 5th, a private blowout for several of the world-class chefs in town for Charlie Trotter’s 20th anniversary dinner on Sunday night. (Trotter took the chefs to Schwa, unaware that it would be Schwa’s final night, says Trotter’s spokesperson, Katy Burstein.) In between, Carlson was named one of Food & Wine’s best new chefs, and his tiny, one-of-a-kind restaurant earned three stars in Chicago magazine—all without reservations, a liquor license, or waiters. We will miss the place, and hope that Schwa lives to serve another prosciutto consommé.