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Jan 2, 2009 01:26 PM

Mexique, Perrenial, other suggestion for birthday celebration?

My husband's birthday is in a few weeks. He expressed interest in either Mexique of Bon Soiree. The latter is fully booked. Has anyone eaten at Mexique? What did you think? Also would be interested in comments on Perrenial, or other suggestions for a nice birthday dinner for 2 -- not over the top like Alinea, Trotters, etc. (Also, am not interested in onesixtyblue, Blackbird, North Pond, or Aigre Doux, which seem to be repeatedly recommended in response to posts of this type.) Thanks.

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  1. I had one of the the best meals of 2008 at Mexique. It was a special of duck in mole sauce. Incredible. We also always get the fish tacos to start with. It is a charming place. They recently expanded so it isn't as cramped. I would highly recommend it.

    4 Replies
    1. re: lbs

      My mistake - I thought you were asking for Mixecto. I can't edit my above post. Sorry for the mis-read. I blame work.

      1. re: lbs

        Yes, it's easy to confuse Mixteco Grill (on Montrose in Lakeview) with Mexique (on Chicago in West Town)! They have such similar names, and both opened within the past year. And both are welcome additions to our thriving creative Mexican culinary scene.

        I really enjoyed eating at Mixteco Grill this past year; the food is outstanding. My feeling about it, though, is that it's not as upscale as the OP appears to be looking for, for this special occasion. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, and I think Mixteco Grill is a great place to try. However, they don't take reservations, and it doesn't have the atmosphere or level of service you expect from an upscale place (although it's a step up from many neighborhood type ethnic storefront restaurants). I also understand they have expanded into the space next door, which is great news to help alleviate waits for a table to open up.

        My impression of Mexique is that it's more upscale in its decor and service; I say that based on the reviews I've read, the photo on their website at (Mixteco Grill doesn't yet have a website), and the fact that they accept reservations on I hope to try Mexique some time in 2009.

        Mundial Cocina Mestiza, which I also visited and loved this past year (and which opened in 2006), is also quite upscale, much more so than Mixteco Grill (although the exterior storefront is quite nondescript).

        1. re: nsxtasy

          FYI: Mixteco Grill DOES take reservations. I have made reservations for every time I've eaten there. 773-868-1601. It is recommended that you do make reservations as it gets very crowded.

          1. re: lbs

            I didn't know that. That's good information - THANKS!

    2. I haven't been to Mexique, but I've read reviews that really liked it, and the menu on their website sounds appealing, with Mexican combined with French accents (or vice versa). Go for it, and let us know how it went!

      If you're looking for additional suggestions, I really like another upscale Mexican restaurant, Mundial Cocina Mestiza in Pilsen. We have lots of Mexican restaurants and it's nice to have choices that include a classy bistro type place with excellent, creative food.

      There are lots more casual, upscale, mid-priced places worth considering (I'm assuming from your post that that's what you're looking for), including Italian (Cafe Spiaggia, Coco Pazzo, Piccolo Sogno, Vivere), French bistros (La Sardine, Kiki's Bistro, Bistro Campagne) and more upscale (but still casual and mid-priced) French restaurants (Cafe des Architectes, Michael), and contemporary American places you haven't ruled out (Graham Elliot, Sweets and Savories, MK, Sola). There are also some places that combine upscale with ethnic; in addition to the previous Mexican recommendation, additional possibilities include Vermilion (Indian-Latin), Shanghai Terrace (Chinese), Red Light (pan-Asian), and Le Colonial (Vietnamese).

      1. Lbs, thanks for the correction. Appreciate it.

        What about Piccolo Sogno? Anyone out there with recent, personal experiences to report?

        4 Replies
        1. re: masha

          I'd love to hear personal experiences at Piccolo Sogno too! I haven't been there yet - it's only been open a little while - but based on what Chef/Owner Tony Priolo and Partner/Wine Steward Ciro Longobardo did at Coco Pazzo, I know it's in good hands and I'm confident it's as good as the reviews say. Reports, anyone?

          1. re: nsxtasy

            My husband and I went for NYE and had an excellent meal. Our service was great (though it can be a very harried evening) and the food was quite good. My only complaint was that on our first course, a mixed seafood grill plate, the squid was slightly overcooked. We had a mid-course of chestnut ravioli in a brown-butter sage sauce that was fabulous - sweet and salty filling and perfectly light pasta. I had the whole-roasted branzino - one of the finest I've had, especially in Chicago (we're recent transplants). The fish was perfectly cooked and filleted with a touch of olive oil and lemon, served with grilled fennel. My husband had duck breast with a sausage/farro mixture that was right up his, if you like duck, go for it.

            Dessert was great too - we went for the chocolate hazelnut torte with a hazelnut gelato and it was a perfect ending. Not to heavy, but a divine way to polish off the rest of our wine. Speaking of wine, the list is very heavily Italian, but there are great options at a variety of price ranges. We were splurging for the holiday and our waiter was well-versed in the flavor profiles of the wines and helped us select a great match for our varied dishes!

            I think that the patio will likely sell the place in the spring/summer, but the food is excellent for a year-round Italian option.

          2. re: masha

            I went to piccolo sogno back in August or Sept., despite the fact that I had read mixed reviews. We had good service from an Italian speaking waitress (always a nice authentic touch). And overall I thought the food was fantastic. I had a special that was manicotti-style pasta with a truffle sauce. It was a small portion but very rich, so it was the perfect amount. My dining companion (my sister) had pasta as well, I think the ravioli and she liked it too. They give you warm ciabatta bread at the table, which was a nice touch as well.

            We sat outside and it's true that the patio is gorgeous and you really feel as if you're away from the city. Still, the inside looked fresh and attractive as well.

            We were there on a Saturday night and it was quite busy. I do remember having to wait longer than I would have preferred to order a second glass of wine. I remember flagging down a waitress other than my own and she told my waitress to bring me one.

            Also wanted to mention that Prosecco is wonderful. It doesn't get a lot of play on this site. But I have been there twice now and I think the truffle pasta there is the best pasta dish I've ever had. And the service and atmosphere are fantastic as well.

            1. re: cc4045

              Thanks for your input. on Piccolo Sogno. In the meantime, my husband has selected Perennial. So, if there are any recommendations on not-to-be-missed dishes there, I'd love to hear them. (And, we actually went to Prosecco for my birthday, and wanted to try something else for his.)

          3. Mexique is my favorite new restaurant of 2008. I've had dinner there 4-5 times and each time was wonderful. The chef is creative, yet the dishes are quite accessible. The appetizer trio of sopes is not to be missed, and he does great things with lamb.

            1. Had a very nice early dinner at Mexique a couple weeks ago. I really liked the short rib, but my favorite taste on the table was the sweet and spicy eggplant side (the waiter offered to bring it as a seperate side for me--good work). The salmon was enjoyed by my sister and I can't remember who had it, but the tilapia was very nice--I would have preferred a more robust fish in this dish but the flavors were excellent. It was a great casual fine dining experience and I highly recommend Mexique. enjoy