Best Chef's Table in Chicago?
I will be travelling to Chicago to celebrate a "BIG 0" birthday with the girls. We would like to have dinner at a "Chef's Table" or "Kitchen Table". What is recommended?
3304 W 162nd St, Markham, IL 60428
I know of three restaurants that have such a chef's table. The first two are very expensive high-end restaurants. One is Charlie Trotter's. The second is Avenues, but it's not exactly a "chef's table"; they have a small "bar" facing the kitchen with about five barstools, but it's not exactly in the kitchen and you really don't get much of a view of the work in the kitchen. The third, and the one that's not anywhere near as expensive, is Chef's Station in Evanston.
There are other restaurants which don't have a chef's table (AFAIK) but which have an open kitchen, and depending on where you are sitting, you may have a great view of the work going on in the kitchen. These include North Pond, Sable, and one sixtyblue. North Pond is a wonderful place to celebrate a big birthday, IMHO (as are Trotter's and Avenues, if you don't mind the cost and formality of the latter two).
Girl and the Goat has two 2-seater spots at the far left and far right of the dividing bar that separates the open kitchen from the dining room. You sit there are see what is happening and talk with the chefs working facing you about 3 feet in front of you. The burners/stoves/ovens are against the wall behind the chefs and the bar, about 6 feet or so from you.
The bar at Avenues, which I reviewed in another post, offers an excellent view of the kitchen. It is very comfortable although a bit warm as the flat top is right there. Service is a bit awkward though as the servers serve from behind you and the seats are very high but they provide a little step to help you get into the seat and you get a pretty commanding view of the dining room. There is a separate kitchen in back where I believe they do most of the prep work but the interesting stuff happens at the bar.
I have been to Trotter's a couple of times and Tru's a couple of times. Trotter's is actually in the kitchen, Tru's is a room just off the kitchen. At Trotter's you are in the kitchen and you see everything. Tru's is great but you don't see as much. Its been a couple of years since I've dined in either "kitchens" but, at the time, both offered separate menus. Tru even brought us seconds of a couple of dishes we really liked.