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May 11, 2008 02:18 PM

Graham Elliot Opening?

Does anyone know the opening date of Graham Elliot Bowles new place? It has a great website with full menu but the phone number does not work. Anyone been by the space lately?

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  1. Chef Bowles has posted on a couple of other food boards that they will be accepting June reservations by the end of next week, at 312.624.9975

    1. FYI. Last week, I was able to make online reservations for week of June 2nd.

      5 Replies
      1. re: angiemail

        In fact, its already infomally open. Official opening date is June 3.

        1. re: wak

          Has anyone been yet? Please post on your experience...trying to decide b/w it and L20.

          1. re: ljero

            Going tomorrow.

            You do realize that Graham Elliot and L2O are at vastly different price points? My dinner at L20 a couple of weeks ago was about $500 for 2 before tip (2 12 course tasting menus and a nice but not over the top bottle of wine).

            1. re: jesteinf

              thanks for the head's up...I did not know GE's prices, as they are no ton the website. I knew that L20 was v. exp....what did you think? we are looking for something new/fun/great food for mom's b'day...made a reservation over two months (!) ago at shanghai terrace, as we have spent more than one of her b'days there....i was surprised they were so booked ahead of time. I neve rfind their food fabulous, but very good, we love asian, and the ambeince outside for dinner...

              1. re: ljero

                If you can get into L2O, go. It was incredible. Already in the top 5 (if not the top 3) in Chicago. For write-ups and pics, check this out:


                Prices at Graham Elliot are far more modest from what I've heard so far. I think main courses top out somewhere in the $30's. I'll report back after dinner tomorrow.

      2. We really liked this restaurant. There were four of us at the table, so we decided to use a little ordering power and taste a good sized portion of the menu.

        We started with the cold section. The Kobe beef tartare was the standout for me. The horseradish ice cream was a very cool touch, unfortunately it didn't stand a chance against some AC issues in the room last night. What I thought was really neat about this dish was the fact that it still tasted like a very well executed, classic steak tartare, just with some flourishes thrown in. I also tried the Caesar salad. I liked the salad, but not as much as the tartare. I would agree that the brioche was a little light on the filling, but it didn't bother me. The anchovies perched on the individual pieces of romaine were outstanding. Another person at our table had the raw tuna, and she said it was excellent. It looked like a pretty gorgeous piece of fish.

        Next we moved on to "hot". I went with the Milwaukee-inspired risotto. I had what turned out to be an earlier version of this dish at Avenue's on New Year's Eve. Aged cheddar, bacon, PBR-braised onions, green apple, and Cheez-Its. What's not to like? The green apple was the key to this dish, providing a nice counter-point to the richness of all of the other ingredients. I also tried the gnocchi with fried egg, asparagus, and truffle oil. A pretty rich dish, but eating the gnocchi in the same bite as a piece of asparagus and a piece of runny egg was just fantastic. The gnocchi was just a little over salted, but it didn't take away from the dish too much.

        For my main course, I had the pork chop. A gigantic piece of meat that blew me away with how tender and juicy it was. I thought the watermelon chutney was a nice cooling touch on top of the meat. The grits and the greens I thought were both good, but didn't really blow me away. I thought the sauce, that had a distinctive root beer taste was fantastic. A back yard BBQ on a plate kind of a dish that I really enjoyed. The Wife had the lamb, which I thought was quite good from the couple of bites I had. It came with an Israeli cous cous that was very tasty. I had a bite of the scallops. I thought they were cooked perfectly (nice sear on the outside, a little short of cooked through on the inside). The whole dish had a bold smokiness that I enjoyed, but I could see how this might not be for everyone. The 4th member of our table had the halibut that was pronounced "excellent".

        We had 4 desserts to share across the table. I wound up with the gooey brownie in front of me, which I was reluctant to share with the rest of the table. Basically, this is everything I love in desserts on one plate (chocolate, peanut butter, banana). The rice crispy treats were a big hit, especially when eaten in combination with the strawberry and rhubarb they are accompanied by. I wasn't nuts about the peach cobbler, but I really enjoyed the creme brulee (probably because I was the biggest coconut fan at our table).

        Service was outstanding. Our server Jim who we know from several other restaurants is a real pro. He guided us through the menu and wine list expertly. He and many of the other members of the staff we spoke to are very excited and very passionate about the food and the restaurant. Jim was also nice enough to bring out 4 glasses of Muscat with dessert.

        After dinner we decided to hang out in the lounge for a bit and try some cocktails. I had the London Calling, which is their take on a Pimm's Cup. I'm no cocktail expert, but I really enjoyed the drink. Very refreshing on a hot summer night. While we were having cocktails, Chef GEB came out to say hello, and his excitement over what was going on was just great to see. He was definitely exuding a "now the chains are off" kind of exuberance.

        I have always been a huge fan of Chef Bowles' cooking, so I probably went into this meal a little bit biased. We had eaten at Avenues while he was there 3 times, and enjoyed each meal immensely. So, it was so great to be in an environment that was completely of the Chef's design, eating the food that he wants to be serving in an environment that he wants to be serving it. Incidentally, strip out a luxury ingredient or two, add a bit more whimsy, and this is basically what he was cooking at Avenues. But now you can get it at about half the price, and you can wear jeans.

        One other thing...the foie-li-pop is on the late night menu. Two for $7. We had a round before out appetizers and they were just as good as they were at Avenues. Frozen foie covered in Pop Rocks. One more reason to love Graham Elliot.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jesteinf

          We were there Friday night and didn't have the same experience you did.
          We enjoyed most things but the consensus at the table was that the meal wasn't amazing. Now when you take into account it's only been open for a week I think you can be more forgiving.
          The tuna was a highlight for some of us; others thought it was just OK. We all liked the buffalo chicken thigh. The gnocchi were good but the asparagus actually took away from this dish for us. The risotto tasted over salted.
          I liked the scallops but others thought the garlic foam was overpowering. The beef stroganoff was deemed outstanding, but the lamb was a bit tough.
          The crust in our creme brulee was burnt (but the brulee itself was good). The brownie was also outstanding (and ordered by the same person who got the beef entree so he was overall pleased).
          The pina colada was just odd (rum slushiness over panna cotta?)
          The space and atmosphere were both great. Our server was just OK but she didn't do a very good job of guiding us.
          We also were hoping to order a few things to start and see what direction we wanted to go in from there but we were told to order out entire meal -- apps, entrees, desserts -- at once. We've done this at small places before but there didn't seem to be enough compelling reasons to here (though it did prompt us into ordering one of each of the desserts).
          Too bad we didn't see the foie-li-pop or we would've given those a shot. Sounds good.

          1. re: jesteinf

            My wife and I were in town for a couple days and I have been following the opening of this restaurant for a while. We made reservations at 6:30 but we kept on getting delayed and finally made it there at 9 pm. Most places would have been annoyed but the staff there kept on smiling and were very understanding when we arrived.

            My wife is a vegetarian and we called ahead to inform them and request a dish (of the chefs choice) be prepared for her. We were blown away by the three course vegetarian meal he prepared for her. I had the tuna and loved the way it was prepred down to the fresh avacado shreds on top. My wife loved the brownie dessert so much we had one packed for us to take back to the hotel for a late night snack. I asked about the foie gra lollys and was informed that they were a late night item, but as we were enjoying the brownie Chef came out to ask about the meal and he handed us one (which was unbelivable).

            One thing that does need improvment are the cocktails with which both my wife and I were not impressed with.

            Overall it was a great meal and I can't wait to see what the future holds for GEB.

          2. I went last night. My experience was probably somewhere b/w jesteinf and margieco's. I loved the spcae. It was modern, clean lines, but also warm. I loved the copper bar and communal table, and also the lemon artwork. I overall liked the restaurant and would retun, although there few some things I found average at best. We started with the tuna, and it was by far my least favorite dish....very pop.. no interesting flavors/textures. On the other hand, I loved the beef tartare with the horseradish ice cream..great combination of flavors and unique; beef was great quality.

            For hot, we tried the buffalo chicken thigh, with blue cheese and celery, etc--riff on wings and sauce which was another stand out. We moved on to the risotto with cheez-its, PBR (really) soaked onions, and green apples. I liked this, but was not overwhelmed by it. It was lukewarm at best, first of all. Second, the PBR onions overpowered the dish, IMHO. The gnocchi were cooked perfectly and not too heavy. I did not find this dish too rich, and preferred it over the risotto. I liked the big pieces of roasted asparagus, the fried, egg, and sauce. My only complaint is that it was over salted (and I love salt!).

            For dessert, we had the rice krispy treats and chocolate brownie. I loved both..and am not usually a dessert person (but they stood out to me more than the entrees). the rice krispy treats with the rhubar and strawberries was light and refreshing. The brownie, though was also ridicuslously good. I loved the side of banana and crushed malted milk balls, too.

            Service seemed contrived to me. I found myself wanting to like our server, but just did not really. I loved the busboy clearing tables and dropping off dishes, but it was hard to understand him, and delivering dishes (with their intricacies) and explaining them obviously is more difficult with GE than other restaurants.

            Did I mention we recevied a bowl of vinegar and salt popcorn to start with? It made up for the tuna. I loved it, although I preferred the truffled popcorn. Enjoy!

            1 Reply
            1. re: ljero

              Just ate there tonight. The food was great and the service was terrible. I'd give in another 6-8 weeks to work out the service kinks. We had the ceaser salad, buffalo chicken, gnocci and a fish dish. Everything was really good. The gnocci was excellent. Our cocktails were great. I won't get into every detail about the service but it was bad from start to finish. But this place has great potential and i look forward to going back in about 2-3 months.