Well, it's worth noting first that these are two of the very best restaurants in the city. So you're likely to have a wonderful meal and a memorable experience at either one. I have fond memories of wonderful food, one "wow" dish after another. I can't say anything bad about either one.
That being said, I think there are two distinct differences between the two. One is the setting. I love the dining room at Everest, because of the incredible view. You have the entire city spread out below you. The other is the price. Of course, price is rarely a factor when you're going to one of the very best (and most expensive) restaurants in the city. Still, Everest is likely to cost you $150-225 or so per person for a full meal, including moderate alcohol, tax, and tip; Tru is typically roughly a third more (i.e. $200-300). And those are normal prices; if you take advantage of the pre-theater special at Everest (3 courses for $50, offered 5:00 and 5:30 every day they're open except Fridays), you can spend a lot less. And if you're driving, Everest offers free parking in the building, which widens the pricing advantage. So even though price probably isn't a factor in the decision, there is a significant price difference between the two, in my experience.
Some have mentioned the service at Everest. All I can say is, it has the best service I have ever observed in a restaurant. I still remember two different examples during my most recent dinner there. Seated at the table next to ours was a couple with their five-year-old daughter. A waiter noticed that the sun was in her eyes, and politely addressed *her*, rather than her parents, to ask if she would like for him to lower the blinds. Also, when my iced tea was served with a slice of lemon, I gave the slice of lemon to one of my dining companions for her glass of water. I made no request, but for the rest of the meal, the waitstaff served me iced tea without lemon, and my companion's water was replenished with a slice of lemon each time. You'll receive fine service at Tru, too, but I've never seen any place with better service than Everest.
Haven't been to either in a while, but have eaten at both. Everest is more staid, more conservative and, frankly, I wasn't impressed with the food either time I was there (ate there twice). It was expensive without any "wow" factor, whatsoever. Nothing extraordinary, no amazing concentration of flavors in any dish I've had. Really ordinary in every way.
Tru's a bit groovier, a little more fun. Food's definitely better. And they gave us goody bags when we left filled with cannelles that were AMAZING. A most memorable treat. I didn't even tell my husband that we got them so that I could hog them both for myself (and I normally share, really).
I agree 100%. Tru definitely gets my vote between the two. I can usually remember exact details of fine-dining meals, but my one and only meal at Everest was utterly forgettable. I also resented that the server was distant to the point of being a non-entity and not particularly polished, either. I also got the impression that I was initially sized up as an "amateur fine diner," which is quite insulting (even if it had been true). Usually we'll give a place a second chance, but we decided mid-meal that we'd never go back there. I do love Alsatian wines and their list is mind-blowing, however.
I think the service at Tru is among the best I've ever experienced in any city.
Well, I am replying only having been to Everst. While I think your meal at Tru will be great - superb even - my impression is that it is an enormous splurge and some think that the value is not worth what you pay.
Everst, on the other hand, is spectacular in every way. It was one of the best meals we've had in Chicago. It is fine dining with a very formal room/feel to it, but service was flawless and the food perfect. And a meal here certainly won't break the bank (esp. when compared to the likes of Alinea, Trotter's, etc.). Plus, it's in a wonderful setting with a spectacular view (the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange building).
So, although I'm biased since I've only been to Everest, I also know you can't go wrong!
Having been to both in the same year, I will reply to this post!
IN terms of cost, they seemed to be about the same-- I recall 5-600$ for the tasting menu+wine pairings.
Everest feels very formal and restrained--Our server, for example simply did his job in an extremely professional and deliberate way, and was not so much interested in chatting and small talk--He did however answer any questions we had about the menu, but in a to-the-point sort of way-- The food was superlative...one of the best meals I have ever eaten .....period, from start to finish. And the previous poster is right, the view is really great, and romantic.
In terms of the whole meal experience, I would say go with Tru--The food was still quite good, but while I found myself remembering details about the experience of eating at tru. (the personalized menus, the candy and breads to take home etc). It seems like no less than 50 people wait on you, all of whom seemed friendly (and no less professional than their everest counterparts) What I also liked about tru is that allthough it felt extremely modern and formal (almost cold) the staff makes you feel welcome, and encourages your questions, or at least that was my experience.
Not sure if that helps- but hopefully if gives you a god idea of the differences between the two establishments-