Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Jan 4, 2012 07:46 PM

El Ideas

I am curious if anyone here has tried dining at El Ideas yet? My wife mentioned it to me today (one of her coworkers we sometimes eat with said she thought it would appeal to me). I checked out their website and it does look like a really interesting venue. I am surprised I had not heard of it before, but I guess with it being fairly new and being such a tiny venue that not too many have dined there yet. Just wondering if anybody has any first hand experience dining there and what you thought of the experience. Looks like reservations here are as tough to score as for Next and Schwa.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. My wife and I were early adapters and went last August. We loved it. Chef Foss, now that he has closed Meatyballs, has turned his focus solely to El Ideas. To that end they have expanded seating a little and I got an email from them yesterday about VDay and they are having two seatings on multiple days. This is a departure from the one seating only when we went. I don't know if two seatings per night is permanent but it would allow for double the diners. Only problem is your choices are 5pm or 9pm (Ithink).
    Reservations are tough but not Next or Schwa tough, at least not yet. For a BYOB it is a bit pricey but we thought it worth it. To begin with, once you win the lottery, you'll be dealing with Dina who is super nice. She'll answer any questions you have. Get there on time, they won't wait. If you're late, you'll miss courses. Bill is the one and only server and he is great. The chefs will talk about each course as it is brought out and questions are encouraged. They want you to know what is going on with the food. Mosey on back to the kitchen if you want. They may put you to work plating or serving though! It can be a totally immersive experience if you want. We really enjoyed it. I highly recommend.

    3 Replies
    1. re: hoppy2468

      Thanks for the detailed description! Sounds like it is well worth a trip; I am working on getting ressies!

      1. re: Gonzo70

        Wow, that was rather painless - already managed a reservation!

    2. Just read today that one of the two chefs at El Ideas (Chef Brochu) is leaving El Ideas and will become the chef at Graham Elliot come February 1st. My El Ideas reservation is for February 2nd, so bad timing for me. I wonder what impact this will have on the venue; anybody have any knowledge or educated guesses as to what might occur?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Gonzo70

        Elsewhere, I read a personel assurance from Chef Foss that he and the other chefs that work with him will carry on and that there will be no dropoff in quality, taste, originality etc...

        Go, eat, have a great time!

      2. I entered my e-mail on their website about two weeks ago, hoping for a reservation at Memorial Day, but I haven't heard anything back. Does this mean I didn't win the lottery or that I should just be patient? I really hope it is the latter as I think this place sounds very interesting and very tasty!

        3 Replies
        1. re: shannonstl

          Try sending an e-mail to Allison at: with the date you want. They are open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday only. Of late she seems to be getting back to people within a day or so when you e-mail her reservation requests. It definitely is a very interesting and very tasty venue! I just made reservations to go back in a few weeks for my second visit.

          1. re: shannonstl

            There may be an issue with our website and i am planning on switching the whole thing out w/what i currently use for a blog. In any case, as gonzo70 was kind enough to point out, please email & hope to cu then!

            1. re: phillipfoss

              Thanks, Chef and everyone else! Allison was very helpful and we indeed get our reservations for Memorial Day weekend. She was very sweet!