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Jan 1, 2012 12:12 AM

Charlie Trotter's Closing


Charlie Trotter's
816 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60614

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  1. Charlie Trotter has been an iconic leader in the Chicago food scene for many years. He was one of the people responsible for making Chicago a food destination city. I am one of those people who has been uninspired by his work in recent years. I admire his choice to move on and to grow and I look forward to seeing what he does next.

    1. At a time like this, we should only be applauding Trotter for all he has done for Chicago and the food world over the years. As noted in the Sun-Times article, he was instrumental in so many ways. He was the first local (as well as the first American) to open a truly high-end restaurant here, at a time when that food scene had been dominated by Europeans such as Banchet, Trboyevic, Joho, and Szathmary, thus paving the way for Achatz and others to be taken seriously. He elevated all aspects of the dining experience (that article in the NYTimes showed admiration for what he has done with vegetables). And many of those who worked for him have gone on to establish their own reputations, both here and elsewhere. Bravo, for him and for all that he has done for us!

      9 Replies
      1. re: nsxtasy

        On the other hand, Trotter refused to allow patrons the use of additional salt, even if they asked for it. That's not customer service....

        He did a lot for Chicago food, to be sure, but that's a pettiness that takes him down in my mind. But perhaps he changed that policy in later years.

        1. re: grimaldi

          It wasn't I that asked for the salt. It was my husband's late wife. I'm not sure whether you're saying it is silly or superfluous to ask for salt or if it's petty to deny the request.

          1. re: lemons

            I think the idea is that a dish was created to deliver a specific flavor; adding salt changes that flavor and thereby the intent of the "creator." So it may taste like what the customer wants it to taste like, but apparently that's less important than what the chef wants you to taste. Sort of a love-it-or-leave it mentality, like those places that refuse to serve ketchup with french fries or hotdogs. I've heard this attitude described as, "You wouldn't just break out your paints and add color to a Mona Lisa or a Raphael?" which I find silly but some subscribe to.

            1. re: monkeyrotica

              That would be fine if we all perceived tastes identically, but there's lots of variations in individual palates.

            2. re: lemons

              How long ago did that dinner take place?

              1. re: lemons

                bwahahahaha. on a lighter note, i believe trotter is said to be the inspiration for the following "salt" clip from the bbc comedy CHEF!

                "you must try to look upon him more as an artist, than a rude, arrogant, insufferable, overbearing megalomaniac."

                ***do not play the following clip at work, or while drinking any beverages. or before thoroughly emptying your bladder, for that matter. you have been warned.


                1. re: soupkitten

                  Thank you .. that was the perfect treat after reading arguments about the true meaning of CT closing!

              2. re: lemons

                We went to Chicago specifically to go to Charlie Trotter's for my 50th. The meal was beyond disappointing. The choices on the menu that night were all fish which I don't care for. They did make something for me - I dont even remember what. Don't remember what my husband had either. The best part of the meal was an olive oil tasting they offered us because my husband is allergic to butter.

              3. re: nsxtasy

                My only trip to CT was in 2000 (or so). I was a female dining alone, and I couldn't have been treated better. My waiter brought me 3 books to amuse myself with between courses, and gave me a tour of the kitchen afterwards and obtained a chef-signed menu for me. It was a great meal and that menu still has wall-space in my kitchen.

                Even though I've been peeved w/ Mr. T over the whole foie thing, thus avoiding his restaurant on recent trips, I agree w/ nsx, he was deservedly a big deal and deserves fond well wishes.

              4. Great. Where the heck am i supposed to go to get a meal that's prepared with 489 ingredients now?

                1. Probably a good idea on his part. My last meal there was very mediocre. He's also threatened this before, as mentioned in the article. With so many options in Chicago I wouldn't be going back any time soon anyway.

                  He did a lot for the food scene in Chicago that is for sure. Still, his personality seemed to be an obstacle at times, it would seem.

                  1. The original comment has been removed