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Need help with decision-North Pond or Avec?

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My wife and I are trying to figure out Friday night of this weekend's visit. We've never been to either North Pond or Avec but seem to have narrowed it down to these two. We started with these two as well as Sola, Sweets and Savories, and Perennial. Have we whittled it down to the right two out of these five? Looking to stay somewhat casual and comfortable and all of these choices seemed to fit that. I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks.

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  1. I like your taste and the choices you're considering. It sort of depends on what you are looking for out of the evening.

    North Pond is lovely and romantic and perhaps a little more "dressy."
    Avec is a bit loud, you'll probably have to wait and will be seated at a table with other people. It is casual.

    Sola and Perennial are pretty much on the same plane in my book. They're not similar food (Sola is Hawaiian-fusion, while Perennial is very farm-to-table) but both have kitchens that know how to reliably prepare good food well. Both are casually elegant (jeans with nice tops), have knowledgeable, friendly service that's not cloying and are in about the same price range. Never had a bad meal at either of them.

    Sweets and Savories is very boutique-y. It's got a French flavor, but is hardly a bistro or a brasserie -- it's much more Americanized. Plenty of foie gras and truffles dotting the menu. The food is good and it is a pleasant place to be. The food is a bit more casual than NP, Sola or Perennial.

    8 Replies
    1. re: chicgail

      Thanks for the repsonse chicgail. Well, we actually decided we were wanting to stay even more casual than we first thought so we decided that Sweets and Savories would fit that bill. I have to admit that the butter poached lobster risotto, kobe burger with foie gras pate and sides like truffle mac and cheese helped with the decision. Hopefully, it's a good one. Sounds like you were OK with this originally. Thanks for your help.

      1. re: pauly

        Enjoy and let us know what you think.

        1. re: pauly

          Please let us know. I am very interested to get your thoughts. I haven't hit up Sweets & Savories for a while and used to go fairly often. Just haven't made it there and have heard a couple reports that quality has dipped a bit.

          1. re: Chargenda

            Not at all true. In fact, I would say it's better than ever.

            1. re: jesteinf

              I was just saying the other day that I hadn't been there in a while, so I'm really glad to hear your positive thoughts. Looks like I need to return soon.

          2. re: pauly

            I think of S&S as a high value restaurant due to the BYO policy and the lower priced menu items. I expect the cost to be a third of what North Pond costs, and maybe two-thirds of the other restaurants on your list. I was there recently and everything was really good, including the service. I wouldn't hesitate to go there again, although I have noticed some reviews complaining about service.

            1. re: abhalsey

              I've always found S&S service to be very attentive, but of course anomalies do happen. The owner is certainly likely to be on site Friday night, so if you have a problem -- which I think is unlikely-- be sure to let your it be known.

              By the way, dishes can be, on occasion, uneven, but, considered in toto, I've always enjoyed my meals there, and continue to find S&S to be very high on my value/quality ratio.

              1. re: jbw

                All good info! Thanks. I mean, for that great price a gamble is worth it. I read some service horror stories on Yelp, that's it.

        2. I love your taste, too! All great options (been to all but Sola). Another place you may enjoy is Lula Cafe, in Logan Square. Outstanding seasonal, ingredient-driven, comfortable neighborhood spot with surprisingly elegant food. Regardless, you'll have a lovely meal at any of these spots.

          http://www.lulacafe.com/lula/index.html

          3 Replies
          1. re: Kaelin

            Wow, everyone! Lots of great stuff. Thank you. We're looking forward to S&S! One last question. I've been reading lots of different reviews and can't quite figure it out. Is it totally BYOB right now or do they also full bar or just beer and wine (or all 3)? Can anyone clarify? Thanks.

            1. re: pauly

              I would call to clarify. If I remember correctly, there is a wine list, with aperitifs, but the last time I was there (for a special dinner), they were encouraging BYOB. Here's the number:

              sweets & savories 1534 w. fullerton, chicago,il 773 281 6778

              1. re: pauly

                I'm 99% sure they are completely BYOB right now. Good idea to call and confirm.