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hold out for possibility at Alinea or book TRU?

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i'm dining solo in chicago on sat. night. first choice was to go to Alinea, heard about how it's really one of those once in a lifetime experiences (dining solo be damned, i want to do it)! but i'm on the waitlist, sort of seems long. TRU has availability either 6 or 9pm, but there's that $50 cancellation charge if you cancel too late (within 24hrs of the reservation).

does anyone have any experience on what the odds are that i might actually get into Alinea? should i just go with TRU?

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  1. On saturday your odds aren't great on scaling the waiting list, but hey thrown yourself on it and book Tru and if Achatz and co. don't get back to you within 24 hours then enjoy your exceptional meal at Tru.

    1. I hope you're not thinking of TRU as second-best/better-than-nothing. It's not Alinea to be sure, but it is extraordinary and should be a memorable meal for you.

      1. Agree with both responses so far. If Alinea doesn't get back to you prior to TRU's cancellation period, enjoy TRU. TRU should definitely not be considered second choice. Also, in my experience (not me, but seeing diners there), TRU is actually a better place for solo diners.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ms. chow

          I dined alone at Alinea and survived. Just kidding - it was fine, but it was very quiet. If you have an active imagination, or can talk to yourself quietly, or bring something to read discreetly in the dark, you'll be fine. The women at the table next to me befriended me and we had a great time.

          I had to eat there to satisfy my curiosity, and to compare it to French Laundry, Chez Panisse, etc. (The food was more interesting than either FL or CP, but they aren't the best restos, IMHO.)

        2. an update -- i dined at Tru and they were very nice to me (even offering me something to read). though i enjoyed the meal, i'm actually glad i didn't go to alinea, because it seems that others who ate alone happened to have friendly neighbours nearby that helped make their experience great, but that is something totally up to chance. i'm pretty sure i'd enjoy alinea with one or more other dining companions (another trip to chicago will be in order!). when i went to Tru it was the first night they offered a 30th anniversary tasting menu, and though it looked interesting, i wasn't sure if i wanted my one meal to be something they had never done before. would be interested to know if anyone has tried it and what they thought (and even better if they've had things that are more on their regular menu).

          1 Reply
          1. re: auberginegal

            I ate solo at Alinea on August 1st. Eventually I'll get my review up. I spent $480 on an extended tasting (after tax and tip) at TFL in February and $300 (after tax/tip) at Alinea - both were amazing......Achatz topped his master in overall experience, however.....can't recommend it enough for a solo foodie.