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Four Hip Girls - Night on the Town; 2 NYers

I have two girls visiting for a girl's weekend from NYC, one girl that is local to CH on a budget and myself - local to CH, no budget. We're in our mid/late 20s and will be going out on Saturday, Sept 6th. We want a prime time reservation (8 pm) at a hip place that serves great food, but could work for the girl that is on a budget. I booked a table at Table 52 but am rethinking that reservation due to the budget and the crowd that it apparently attracts (a bit older?), although it will still stay on my list of places to eat in our great city. My main goal is to show the NYers that we have a great restaurant scene here while staying within a relatively reasonable budget range.

My personal favorites (though definitely out of the price range for this group): Naha, Aigre Doux. I like Avec but will in no way wait that long for a table on a Saturday night. Just went to Otom, which was decent, but would like to try something new.

Neighborhoods: Loop, West / South Loop, River North, Near North, Bucktown / Wicker Park. I'd like to not go as far north as Lincoln Park or really south in the South Loop if possible.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated! Time is slightly of the essence here, as I'd like to be able to snag a reservation as soon as possible due to the popular day/time slot that I'm looking for.

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  1. I forgot to add a very important detail - No Mexican or Sushi (although Japanese is fine as long as the restaurant has great dishes that aren't sushi on the menu as well). Thanks in advance!!!

    1. How about Think? It's BYOB and excellent food. They take reservations. It's not the best location, but fun for a girls dinner.

      1. for budget, hipness, and needing to be seen, although there IS sushi (not sure if the aversion is uncooked fish) but it's kind of known for cooked fish "fashion rolls," maybe Butterfly would fit the bill? It's a sushi / thai joint with thai standards, and some pretty good sushi I must say. Not sure if the thai offerings are that great, but it's byob, and not pricey. Also, it's loud, boisterous, tight, and full of people looking like they are there to try and get noticed. Dancing in the back, loud music, birthday singing all over the place, people cracking beers in the doorway while waiting for their table. I liked it - the hordes of drunk girls in ultra mini skirts didn't hurt. :-)

        1. I don't know how constrained your budget is but what about Sepia, Mercat, Perennial, or May St Market? I haven't been to Mado but I read about it the other day and it sounded interesting.

          1. What about one of the wine bars that serve good food as well as wine?
            Bin on Milwaukee in Bucktown/Wicker Park comes to mind
            Volo in Roscoe Village is another idea
            Webster Wine Bar is also very good
            There's also the Tasting Room on West Randolph, but I can't remember what the food is like.

            1. SushiSamba, maybe? Not cheap, but not ridiculous. I know some people sneer at it, but I liked the food. Obama just ate at Roy's, so it will be mobbed, probably, but good food, nice crowd.

              1. How about Carnivale or Nacional 27?

                1. I've booked Butterfly and am getting really excited about it based on various reviews across the web. I'll definitely post back after we've gone there. Thanks for all of your suggestions!

                  Oh - and I refuse to go back to Carnivale. I live down the street, and they once had us wait an hour and a half after our reservation time with not so much as an apology or free dessert. Unforgivable in my book (and I wasn't crazy about the food to begin with).

                  1. Just wanted to thank gordeaux for a perfect recommendation with Butterfly. Exactly what we were looking for in terms of price and atmosphere. It probably got a little out of hand due to everyone taking full advantage of the BYOB situation (the entire restaurant chimed in on Happy Birthday tributes several times - it did get slightly annoying), but overall a great recommendation with decent food for a great price. Thank you!

                    I do have to mention one very odd thing - the restaurant actually called me the day of the reservation to see if I could come an hour EARLIER. I had made the reservation 4 days in advance and found this request to be extremely odd. We ended up agreeing to come a half hour after our requested reservation time, and, yes, I did expect to be seated immediately. We weren't, and I kept having to approach the hostess to remind her that we did have a reservation and had been as flexible as we could have been with their time constraints. We received a free piece of cheesecake at dinner to make up for the 15 minute extra wait, which was appropriate in my eyes. Odd, though.

                    Thanks again!

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