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Feb 1, 2011 08:02 PM

Avenues or Bonsoiree?

Hey all. My Dad and I are heading back to Chicago in late March and are trying to decide on our "big" dinner of the trip. Last year we hit the Tatami Room at L20 - prior to Gras's departure - as well as Schwa on a last minute (literally) reservation snag. The year before that we went to Alinea. This year, we seem tossed between a couple options.
The front runner is Avenues. I have never been there before, but my Dad ate there this past December. Does anybody know how frequently Avenues rotates out their dishes? My biggest concern is that my Dad will be eating much of the same menu he had months before, and while that certainly won't be a bad thing seeing that he enjoyed his December meal, it is something to take into consideration.
Then there is Bonsoiree. Having recently read uhockey's report, as well as the reports of others since their Michelin star, I have to say I'm mighty intrigued. If we'd go, we would definitely request the 13-course tasting. The one thing about Bonsoiree that I keep reading is that it is a "pleasant experience" with creative food, but it's nowhere in the same league as an Avenues/Alinea/etc. restaurant.
For those have gone to one or both, I'll take any input you can offer! Barring a few stable dishes, will Avenues be a new food experience 3 months later? Is Bonsoiree worth the spot as our one big dinner of the year? Thanks!

1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

2728 W Armitage, Chicago, IL 60647

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  1. I wish I could tell you if Avenues will change their menu by the time you visit. And unfortunately I have not been to Bonsoiree. But I can say that Avenues was my best and most interesting meal when I visited Chicago at the end of December. So much so that I would likely return there if I had the opportunity to visit Chicago again.

    2 Replies
    1. re: nextguy

      Thanks for the input, nextguy. Did you happen to sit at the Chef's Bar? I called to make a reservation at Avenues and requested that we sit there, but I wasn't sure if it was a first come-first serve deal or my "request" will reserve us the spot at the bar.

      1. re: pastry634

        Yes I did sit at the bar. Chef Duffy was there for the first half of my meal and then his sous-chef ably handled the second half. Seating is pretty comfortable although service is a bit awkward as the seats are very high up and you are basically looking down at the servers. Depending on where you sit, it can also get pretty hot. My seat was right in front of the hot plate and I could feel it.

        I requested my seat via email and got an answer back the next day. My reservation was on the 29th of December which was pretty quiet so I don't know what your chances will be. I hope you enjoy your meal. I reviewed mine if you look for it here on CH. I was much happier with Avenues than I was with Alinea 2 days later.

    2. Bonsiree is in a tiny storefront in a gentrifying neighborhood. It's tiny, BYO, friendly and the food is wonderful. It is definitely not Avenues. The experiences are totally different and both are well worth the effort.