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Jul 28, 2009 09:41 PM

help me find my third restaurant

An old friend and I will be meeting up in Chicago for three nights. We planned two other dinners, one at Alinea and the other at Frontera. After Alinea, we don't want another big ticket dinner, and would also prefer somewhere that is casual so that we can just relax and catch up.

We'd like to find something interesting and somewhat true to Chicago and its cultural makeup. To give an idea, my dinners at Cochon (NOLA), Ippudo Ramen (NYC), Au Pied de Cochon (Montreal) made me feel like I made great decisions. So I'd like to make another good decision, without breaking the bank too much. Budget is flexible and we would be comfortable with paying 50/head. More, we'll see depending on our mood. Less is always good :)

Both of us are non-Americans that lived in the midwest for a while, so we miss traditional American cooking.

I am a budding cork dork, and I have little access to California wines so a wine bar (with contemporary American food) would be good too.

We don't have any dietary restrictions, but we have some other constraints:

It is going to be a Friday night, so we prefer somewhere with reservations or have a short waiting time. Since this is a reunion dinner, ideally we also would not like to be kicked out after 90 minutes, but we can always continue our chat at a bar.

We don't wish to eat French (both of us have access to excellent French food), Greek (ditto), and we are not fans of deep dish pizza.

Bonus points for old school American (diners, taverns, soul food), Japanese (homestyle cooking not designer rolls, sashimi is ok) and upscale versions of the said. We don't get any of these.

We will be staying at Maginificent mile (Marriott), but willing to travel a little.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. The food is pretty basic( hamburgers, steaks, ribs), but if you're looking to return to Chicago in the 50s, try Miller's Pub in the Loop. A little more upscale--and it'll probably get you closer to $75/head -- is Custom House for an innovative take on American cuisine.

    1. What about some small plates at Avec?

      1. when you say traditional american, i immediately think of steakhouses. i recommend rosebud steakhouse or saloon steakhouse (rosebud is more jazzy and saloon has an old-world comfort vibe).

        the food in most japanese joints downtown is more restaurant food than home-cooking style. ginza in downtown serves your average japanese fair (sushi, teriyaki, ramen, sukiyaki...) - quite an extensive menu. the setting is traditional, homely, and rustic - very japanese.

        i'm not sure if K-town is too far for you, but Chiyo near K town is a good choice if you are looking for japanese home cooking. for sukiyaki, they bring the stock, ingredients, and the pot to you, and cook right in front of you (we did it ourselves, but i image they'd help you if you ask). fun and delicious!

        Ginza Restaurant
        19 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611

        309 North Highland Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30307

        Fuego Spanish Grill
        1136 Crescent Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309

        Garrison's Broiler & Tap - Vinings
        4300 Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30339

        1 Reply
        1. re: mountsac

          Shout out to Ginza and Chiyo. Chiyo would be a trek if you don't have a car. Also check out Itto Sushi in LIncoln Park. I used to go there a lot. Have recently rediscovered it. Very traditional and homey.

          Gilbert's Cafe & Bar
          219 10th St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

        2. If you don't mind a short cab ride, I'd suggest West Town Tavern. (Do not be fooled by its name, it's definitely a nice restaurant, not a tavern.) Their concept is modern American comfort food, plus they have wine pairing suggestions with each entree. Entrees run around $22 per person.