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Sep 6, 2011 09:43 AM

Everest letdown

Well, I should've left well enough alone. I went to Everest for the first time last year, largely because I'd heard about the legendary wine list. It delivered in every way, especially the helpful, knowledgeable sommelier (who I suspect was the actual wine director). The food, the view, the wine, the service...couldn't have asked for a better experience.

We knew this year's trip could easily not live up to our prior experience, but went anyway. This time, the food was good as ever, but the service was stale (by our waiter, I should say; the other support staff was much more enthusiastic). But by far the biggest issue I had was with the wine service.

The first person identified himself as "a" sommelier, and said that if I had such specific questions about vintages, grand cru Alsace vineyards, producers, etc., I should talk to his colleague. She was most pleasant and had knowledge, to be sure, but frankly seemed more interested in steering me AWAY from the bulk of the treasures from Alsace: white burgundy, red burgundy, etc. "Which riesling would go best with the veal course?" I asked. "Actually, I'd go with a white burgundy" she replied. Well, I'd had a magnificent '83 grand cru riesling with that same course last year. When I asked which one might go well, she said, paraphrasing: "Actually, I wouldn't drink one older than the 2000 vintage." WHAT??!! A list full of treasures from '83, '89, '76, and she made that comment? I knew I was on my own at that point.

So: while good, to spend that kind of money at Everest and not get top-flight wine service was a big letdown. I doubt Mr. Joho would approve of diners being touted off the wines that made his list so rightly famous.

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  1. Honestly, I think you're making a mountain out of a molehill. Not all sommeliers are going to have the same opinions on things. You even admitted yourself the person was pleasant and knowledgeable. Did you try their suggestion? Why didn't you order those wines in the first place?

    1 Reply
    1. re: PopMegaphone

      We had the tasting menu, which, to my mind, is geared toward the beautiful whites from Alsace that dominate the list: foie gras, lobster, sea bass, veal, and cheese. Why on earth would I try a white burgundy with a list of aged Alsatian wines? I can get that at any decent French restaurant. It'd be like going to Sonoma and skipping 30 Dry Creek zinfandels to have a Napa cab: sure, you could, but why? Also, part of my frustration was that I made it clear that I was willing to spend big $ for the oldest, best Alsatians, yet my preferences were given short shrift.

    2. I haven't been to Everest in probably 5 years but have dined there at least 6 times. Service issues are not unique.

      1. I am looking for chicgail and nsxtasy to pipe in here with their differing experiences. :-)

        1. Well, here is chicgail with her opinion. I had a wonderful meal there less than a year ago with some of the worst service I've ever had anywhere.

          I ordered a drink before dinner that was not served; one member of our party was offered a second helping of bread, the rest of us weren't; our entrees were brought to the table immediately after our appetizers were cleared with no break as though either the kitchen or the FOH was not monitoring that. We did not experience problems with the wine service or the somalier, however.

          And the food was so good that the errors by the FOH showed up as especially odd. I really hoped that our experience was an anomaly, but I suspect it wasn't.

          And I would go back because of the quality of the food, but with little expectation for a well-trained staff.

          17 Replies
          1. re: chicgail

            I tend to side more with nsxtasy in this ongoing debate. I propose we settle this once and for all-time. Lets all go there for dinner, together, with our SO's and see what happens. I think it would be a blast! Chicgail,Nsxtasy, anybody else. Whatdoy'allthink?

            1. re: hoppy2468

              Your proposal sounds like fun, but there is ultimately nothing to "settle."

              You and I and nsxtasy-- and everyone else -- goes to these restaurants with different expectations and ultimately has different experiences. Nsxtasy saw a little kid treated with respect at Everest and came to the conclusion that the service was outstanding. I didn't get a drink or a dinner roll when I wanted one and was rushed and I came to the conclusion that the service was poor.

              Nonetheless, I am intrigued by the the idea of finding out about nsxtasy's gender which s/he keeps a secret.

                1. re: chicgail

                  I was really kinda hoping for fistacuffs on top of the table ;) but a nice dinner with fellow Chicago foodies would be awesome. We'll have to start dinner at 5:30 and close the place down in order to discuss all the restaurants we write about/have been to!

                  To that end, I'll start. It would have to be a Saturday, maybe a Friday or Sunday with enough advance planning(days off would be involved for a Friday or Sunday but doable).

                  I think nsxtasy is a he

                  1. re: hoppy2468

                    I did indeed experience superb service at Everest - not only for the waiter's care with the child at the next table, but also small things with our own service that most places wouldn't do but you might not notice unless you're looking (such as serving iced water with lemon slices without having to request it, after one was "donated" from another's iced tea). That being said, to the best of my recollection, we didn't have any interaction with the sommelier(s), who seem to be the problem mentioned here.

                    BTW, I've been trying to spend a bit less time here the past few days. I enjoy posting when I can, but when the forum is very active (as it has been later), you could spend all day long, and I can't do that most days.

                    1. re: nsxtasy

                      I was wondering. Thought maybe you had died. :)

                      What say you about a group Everest expedition? Pun intended.

                      1. re: hoppy2468

                        I might consider it, especially with at least a few weeks notice. How could I resist after such a great play on words? :)

                        Although, since most of us seem to feel that the food at Everest is excellent but we disagree on the service, I'm not sure that will "prove" anything. I've long thought that it might be interesting to go together to a place that one of us likes a lot and others haven't been to, such as Sprout (a favorite of chicgail) or Piccolo Sogno (a favorite of mine).

                        1. re: nsxtasy

                          We've been to both! One time each and thought each was excellent. also, we are going to P.S. in October. So now the hard part, finding a place we all want to go to.

                          I agree with what you say, I just thought Everest would be a good place for something like this. Refined atmosphere, superior service(insert eyeroll from chicgail here :))).Everest has 7:30 on Nov 12 for 6? on Open Table.....

                          1. re: hoppy2468

                            Well who's in? You, hoppy, and me and nsxtaxy, but what about others? Is this open to "The Board?" Who are the other players who want to join us?

                            1. re: chicgail

                              Sure, let's open it up. Is there a way to do it other than people reading this thread by chance? I don't want to exclude anyone who would like to join in but don't want so many that it becomes unwieldy or that we have to rent out the local VFW hall. Maybe a dozen?

                              1. re: hoppy2468

                                I'm also interested in doing a Chowhound group meal at Everest.

                                My experience at Everest (circa 2009) was: (1) superb food; (2) sub-par service (but not nearly as bad as chicgail's experience).

                                1. re: mountsac

                                  Ok. A quick look at the Everest website shows that they could handle one hundred of us. I don't think we could settle the service question with that many of us!

                                  Ideas on how to do this anyone?

                                  What about leaving the invite open for a week and closing it after that?

                                  1. re: hoppy2468

                                    Let's start a separate thread. Can't do it myself now - at a meeting.

                                    1. re: chicgail

                                      Frankly, given that I got this thread going in the first place if you Chicago Chowhounders do in fact converge, least ya'll can do is invite this New Orleans boy! I've got beaucoup miles to use with Southwest!

                                      1. re: chicgail

                                        chicgail, Go for it.

                                        sanglier, come on up.

                                        1. re: hoppy2468

                                          I would be interested in attending if it would be later in the month. I've never had a fine dining experience, but just began a new job and now have the means to. Would Everest be an ideal place for a first time fine-dining? My husband and I are saving up for Alinea for our anniversary this summer.

                                          1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

                                          1. re: Oboegal

                                            Funny you should ask that as Everest was our first fine dining experience. It ruined us. Haven't eaten at a Red Lobster or Chili's since :)

                                            I think it would be safe to say that this isn't going to happen soon. We need to post an open invite, determine our numbers, get a date and warn Everest.