After reading all the praise about Sable, we were eager to try it. Dear friends were in from Vancouver this weekend so we booked a table.
What we loved:
The cocktail menu is indeed amazing and the drinks were also excellent. Between the four of us we tried a good variety and everyone was happy.
Our waiter was very knowledgeable, friendly, available and in no way unctuous. I hate waiters who practically sit down at the table with you.
The price is very reasonable. We ordered 9 or 10 small plates, 3 cocktails and maybe 5 or 6 glasses of wine and it came out to about $65 per person.
Heather, the executive chef, was out front serving and greeting. Nice. Reminded me of Stephanie Izard.
Deviled eggs with truffle oil were outstanding.
Loved the wild mushroom sliders.
Graham cracker crusted calamari were perfectly cooked and slightly sweet.
Wonderful rhubarb crunch desert.
What we didn't love:
In spite of the praise I've read, the corn creme brulee was just a corn pudding. The brulee top was sweet/salty and that was nice, but not worth the hype. Wouldn't order it again.
I love short ribs, but the short rib sliders were dry. I left them on my plate after a bite.
It felt more like a really good bar with great food than a really good restaurant with great drinks. That's not necessarily bad, but just not what I had expected.
This week I had lunch with a friend whose restaurant experience is vastly greater than my own. His take on Sable: "There are a lot of places in Chicago with great food, and a lot of places in Chicago with great drinks and bartenders, but no other place is great at both the way Sable is." He also said he thought Mike Ryan, their head bartender, is one of the three best bartenders in the entire city.
The aspect that will bring me back to Sable is the unbelievable knowledge of alcohol shared by the bar staff. I sat there for 3-4 hours just learning about everything from whiskey (scotch, irish, bourbon and rye) to tequila. It was awesome.
I didn't try as much food as I would have liked...next time, I guess.
I agree with you about the deviled eggs--they would be excellent at twice the price. I am somewhere in-between you and nsxtasy about the corn brulee. I also understand your dissatisfaction with the short rib sliders. I got the half order (2), ate one and loved it. Then I went to a couple of my other dishes. When I got back to the other slider it had dried out considerably.
re: ms. mika
I can't think of a restaurant serving corn pudding (with OR without a brulee top) - at least, not since Hat Dance morphed into Nacional 27, and that was about 13 years ago. I'd like to try some corn pudding (even though I know the texture and taste are entirely different from the sweet corn creme brulee at Sable). Please, do tell where corn pudding is being served!
I still think the sweet corn creme brulee is one of the best dishes I've had in the past year, with its "yin yang" of caramelized sugar and cracked sea salt on top. (Also, the silky consistency of the custard in a creme brulee is nothing like that of a starch-thickened pudding.) So I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on that one.
Glad you enjoyed your dinner there so much!