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Aug 31, 2011 06:33 AM

Taking Boss out to dinner

I'm taking my boss out to dinner this evening and I'm struggling to come up with a location. He loves Bistro 110, RL, Japonais, Bongo Room, Pops for Champagne and Sunda. This gives you an idea of his profile. We've been to Nomi, Sable, Spiaggia, Graham Elliot, Avec, Hub 51, Girl & Goat and Epic. I'm trying to find a good, reliable place to take him.

He's not into Chinese or Vietnamese food and probably no French recommendations as he's heading to France in a few days. Steak isn't big on his list either.

I've recently read about Sprout. Looks interesting but the decor looks very sterile. Tru and Alinea would be out of our price range.

Any recommendations on a few new places to try?

1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

Bistro 110
110 East Pearson Street, Chicago, IL 60611

Bongo Room
1152 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

Japonais Restaurant
600 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60610

980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Graham Elliot
217 W. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60654

Pops for Champagne
601 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654

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  1. My wife and I ate at Sprout not quite a year age and it was a really good meal and I recommend it. What about Mercat?

    1 Reply
    1. re: hoppy2468

      Sprout and Mercat are both great options - superb food at both and good atmosphere.

    2. How about Sepia? It's classic food with a modern twist. Every meal I've had there has been accessible, yet interesting, and perfectly executed.

      The cocktails are great too.

      1. You don't mention any Italian places. The menus at some of our new Italian restaurants have some contemporary dishes that would be equally at home in contemporary American restaurants, along with the more typical pastas etc. I ate recently at Piccolo Sogno and loved it; Cibo Matto, the Florentine, and Vivere are also very good.

        If you want to stick to contemporary American, it sounds like you haven't been to Naha or MK, in the downtown area. All of the places you've mentioned are downtown, but three of our best contemporary American restaurants are in Lincoln Park, and are all worth considering: Perennial Virant, Boka, and North Pond.

        Mercat a la Planxa, mentioned above, might also be a good choice. Note that the tapas format lends itself to sharing, which might be fine but might be awkward (some people are touchy about that). Also, I don't know whether tapas would be too "out there"; his tastes sound pretty mainstream.

        I'd also consider Mexique. The provincial Mexican food is terrific, and very different from any of the places you've mentioned above. Take a look at the menu on their website. It's in West Town, a couple miles west of the Mag Mile.

        All of these are reliable for great food and a nice atmosphere. And they all take reservations on Opentable, so with a few clicks, you can see which of these is available tonight and make your reservation.


        1729 North Halsted, Chicago, IL 60614

        North Pond
        2610 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614

        Mercat a la Planxa
        638 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605

        Perennial Virant
        1800 N Lincoln, Chicago, IL 60614

        1529 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

        Piccolo Sogno
        464 N Halsted, Chicago, IL 60622

        71 W Monroe Street, Chicago, IL 60603

        500 North Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

        Cibo Matto
        201 N State St, Chicago, IL 60601

        The Florentine
        151 W. Adams, Chicago, IL 60601

        868 N. Franklin, Chicago, IL 60610

        3 Replies
        1. re: nsxtasy

          Mercat has a tasting option which would give you a run of menu options. It's a good choice overall. Cibo Matto would also be a great option.

          Cibo Matto
          201 N State St, Chicago, IL 60601

          1. re: ferret

            Thanks so much for all of the suggestions!! Someone also mentioned Bistronomic. Has anyone been? Feedback?

            nsxtasy, I didn't mention Italian because he's going to be in Italy after he heads to France. So, he's going to get his fill of Italian :)

            1. re: violet1218

              I haven't been to Bistronomic yet - it's on my list of places to try - but I've loved Chef Noguier's cuisine at his previous places, if that's anything to go by.

        2. Naha is really terrific.

          500 North Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

          1 Reply
          1. For me it would be between Sprout and Naha. Naha is a little more mainstream and conventional in atmosphere; Sprout a little younger and newer feeling. But neither one has ever disappointed us with food.

            500 North Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

            1 Reply
            1. re: chicgail

              I've been to Naha a fair number of times. For me, there have been some misses in the food on different occasions but it is nevertheless a good place to consider for the OP.