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L2O or Tru

MBShapiro Nov 6, 2009 05:14 AM

Hey Chicago hounds! I'm visiting from New York for two nights in a couple of weeks. I already have reservations at Alinea (so excited) for one night but wanted to know if I should book L2O or Tru as my other dinner. I would love any input from people who have been to both as to what the differences are and which would be more of a can't miss. Also, what is the way to go as far as ordering in either place? Thanks!!

1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

2300 Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL 60614

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  1. chicgail RE: MBShapiro Nov 6, 2009 08:27 AM

    I can't imagine that you'd do badly at either one.

    If you're looking for a "can't miss," I'd go for Tru. It is absolutely top-tier. The ambiance, service and food are more classic, but certainly extraordinary. And it's been around for long enough (10 years) to have worked out all the kinks, but it's not trendy or old enough to have grown tired.

    L20 Chef Laurent Gras.is certainly committed to excellence. In the interest of full disclosure, I have not eaten there. but that also speaks to my skepticism about it. The reviews have been mixed. Some love it. Some seemed to have been disappointed, at least early on. Its approach to food may be a bit more inventive/innovative than Tru but not at the Alinea level. It's been around for about a year now.

    I hope all that is helpful. With Alinea as your other dinner, I think I'd go for Tru.

    1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

    3 Replies
    1. re: chicgail
      Chicago Wine Geek RE: chicgail Nov 6, 2009 10:03 AM

      I've got to disagree with Chicgail. I've eaten at all. 2X at Alinea and one time at the table in the kitchen at Tru and once at L2O. Tru was very disappointing to myself and my wife. L2O to us is just a hair under Alinea in quality. But the dishes at Tru just didn't impress us. At L2O you will get some of the most amazing seafood prepared to perfection and with creative flair. Even being in the kitchen table, nothing at Tru really stood out. You can google L2O and find some very indepth reviews with pictures that should help you decide. Here is a good place to start:


      1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

      2300 Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL 60614

      1. re: Chicago Wine Geek
        chicgail RE: Chicago Wine Geek Nov 6, 2009 03:10 PM

        That's what I love about CH. So many different points of view. I loved Tru; you were disappointed. Put us all together and maybe you'll get a full picture of something. I hope we haven't confused the MBShapiro.

      2. re: chicgail
        HoosierFoodie RE: chicgail Nov 8, 2009 01:48 PM

        Been to both several times and both this year. Tru is as good as been in a long time and my wife and I have been going just about since they opened. We finally went back after begin disappointed about 3 years ago. Maybe Tramonto figured out he has a restaurant downtown, too. Whatever the case it was wonderful a few months ago.

        Been to L20 twice this year and have been very, very pleased and will be back. I certainly think it is worthy competition to Chicago's top tier restaurants.

      3. c
        cotedor RE: MBShapiro Nov 6, 2009 04:50 PM

        Tru is forgettable. L2O is outstanding.

        1. b
          BRB RE: MBShapiro Nov 6, 2009 08:10 PM

          I think it's funny the strong opinions you get with these two places. In my opinion, they're both excellent. In fact, I think Tru might be as good right now as it has been in years. L20 is still young but was ready for critics on day 1. Both have contemporary dining rooms. Both have excellent service. The menus are very different however.

          To me, which one you choose depends a bit on the type of cuisine you seek. L20's focus is seafood, and not the typical varieties you would seek elsewhere. So if that really appeals to you, head to L20. Bread service also wins at L20 - it might be the best bread service I have ever encountered. As for desserts, I think Tru is the winner, but the food at Tru is really excellent and their current chef is doing a great job.

          My only suggestion with L20 would be to choose 4 courses instead of the 12-course menu. Although I thought the 12-course menu was very well thought out, I thought it was a bit too much food and a very long evening.

          1. w
            withaph RE: MBShapiro Nov 7, 2009 06:41 PM

            I haven't been to Tru, but I did the 12 course menu at L20 for my birthday in September and it was outstanding in every way. Even my father, who generally avoids seafood, was blown away by the quality of the meal (though he did think it was quite a lot of food!). I will echo the sentiment that the bread service is also outstanding, I could have eaten a bucket of the little rosemary croissants.

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