A restaurant similar to Michael (Winnetka)?
I am looking for a restaurant in the Chicago and North Shore area, similar to Michael (in Winnetka). Any suggestions?
By similar, I mean in service, price, customers, menu. Not necessarily French cuisine.
I LOVE that restaurant. The food is simply superb in every way, and it's attractively priced for the quality of the food. I also love the ultra-casual atmosphere while still maintaining a high level of service.
I think the most similar restaurant in all these ways is Tallgrass, in Lockport. Superb food, attractively priced; maybe not quite as ultra-casual, but still pretty casual. Another very similar restaurant is Chef's Station in Evanston. Again, superb food, attractively priced, and with the same ultra-casual "fun" twist to the atmosphere.
In terms of the value, with upscale food in an ultra-casual atmosphere attractively priced, I think it's also similar to Sweets and Savories in the city, where the food is generally very good although not quite on the same level as Michael.
In terms of the quality of the food, where every dish just sweeps you away it's so good, I think it's also similar to one sixtyblue in the city, Oceanique in Evanston, and Le Titi de Paris in Arlington Heights. one sixtyblue and Oceanique are somewhat more expensive than Michael; Le Titi is similar in price. All of these are somewhat casual but not as ultracasual as Michael or Chef's Station.
I don't think of Michael's cuisine as strictly French, but rather as contemporary American with French overtones. Of the previously mentioned places, the cuisine at Le Titi and Tallgrass is somewhat more French in nature, while the others mentioned here are less so and more just contemporary American.
I would have to say Quince in Evanston. Absolutely my favorite. The food is great, the prices are pretty good and they have the friendliest waitstaff. I was a liitle hesitant at first because I thought it might be like Trio, but not. Its so good. If you are close to Evanston go there. I've been to Oceanique and its good but not very original. I like the originality of Quince, it goes outside the norm but not so much that it is intimidating. Its just not your run of the mill fare.
Please report back, as I'm interested in hearing how you like Quince. I went there shortly after they opened, and I was underwhelmed (especially by comparison with all the excellent places in Evanston), as I reported in the discussion topic on Quince at www.chowhound.com/topics/389419 But I've heard positive things from other folks and if you feel it's truly better than my previous experience then I'd like to give them another shot.