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Cafe des Architectes

c
cotedor Apr 30, 2010 01:09 PM

Has anyone been to CDA recently? I've never been and thinking about going, but the reviews are all over the place, from very good to down right awful. Is it at the same level as places like MK, Naha, Spring, etc? It doesn't seem very busy which is concerning.

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Cafe des Architectes
20 East Chestnut Street, Chicago, IL 60611

Naha
500 North Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

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  1. chicgail RE: cotedor Apr 30, 2010 02:03 PM

    I was there about a month ago. nsxtasy who posts regularly on this board and whose opinion I highly respect has lauded it repeatedly.

    The room is an attractive hotel dining room. The Chef's 3-course Seasonal Menu was a great value at $42, especially at a just-off North Michigan Avenue restaurant.

    However, Mr. CG and I both found that while the food was perfectly acceptable (there was nothing "bad"), we just weren't blow away. We ordered off the a la carte menu because it offered more options. The only exception to "ok" for us was the hamachi appetizer, which we agreed was, indeed, wonderful.

    Worse, the service was both unctuous and omnipresent. The waiter, rather than tell us anything about the menu items, basically read to us the menu descriptions, adding absolutely nothing. For some reason he was pushing the deconstructed Caesar salad ("It has white anchovies," he told us. Twice). Then our waiter, the bus boy, the manager, the chef and a couple of other people stopped by our table -- just about every 5 minutes -- throughout our meal to interrupt our conversation and ask us how everything was. We actually left finally laughing about it.

    It is entirely possible that our experience was a fluke. Perhaps our waiter was inexperienced or something weird was going on that night, but we probably won't go back again.

    We have been in MK, Naha and Spring on numerous occasions and highly recommend them.

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    Naha
    500 North Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

    2 Replies
    1. re: chicgail
      nsxtasy RE: chicgail May 7, 2010 12:50 PM

      I've eaten at Cafe des Architectes numerous times and I've thoroughly enjoyed it each time. The food has been wonderful, the very best contemporary American cuisine I've had in Chicago, other than the big-bucks places like Alinea. And the service has been efficient and friendly; I've never experienced anything other than excellent service there.

      The prices are a real bargain - not only the everyday $42 3-course prix fixe, but also the $29 3-course available Sundays through Tuesdays - but I would think just as highly of Cafe des Architectes even if it were priced as much as Naha, Spring, and MK (which it's not). For me, the attractive price is just "icing on the cake".

      You can read a detailed report I posted on one of my meals there (during Restaurant Week, with a menu similar to their $29 "neighborhood friends menu"), at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/598661

      I trust chicgail's advice more than anyone else here. I can only guess that her visit was an "off night" for whatever reason. I, too, have been to some other restaurants where I was not impressed even though others like them; it happens. The problem is, when a negative experience like that does happen, it gives me no desire to return, so there is no opportunity to find out whether it is just a one-time anomaly, or is typical of the restaurant.

      If you try it, let us know how you like it!

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      Cafe des Architectes
      20 East Chestnut Street, Chicago, IL 60611

      1. re: chicgail
        l
        lbs RE: chicgail May 7, 2010 12:58 PM

        That's how my experience was too (Chicgail). Food being set in of the wrong person several times - which shouldn't happen in a nice restaurant -, wine/water not being refilled, and the food just tasted flat and bland. I couldn't get excited about anything and I was primed to love this place based on Nsxtasty's talk about the chef from when he worked at OneSixtyBlue to CDA. It could have been an off night but won't try again. Too many other better restaurants in Chicago - which is an excellent thing!

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