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Restaurant Week 2012

I don't know if this has already been posted but this site shows all of the restaurants, over 200, participating in this year's Restaurant Week with their special menus:

http://www.choosechicago.com/things-t...

Many wonderful restaurants are participating with dinners and/or lunches, such as Blackbird's $22.00 lunch menu. Enjoy!

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  1. We have reservations at Piccolo Sogno and Perennial Virant, neither of which we have yet tried. Will report back.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chicgail

      Piccolo Sogno tonight. We took a 9 pm reservation because it was all they had available on Open Table, but there were plenty of available tables when we arrived at about 8:40. Note to self: next time call restaurant when you can't get what you want online.

      I have to say I am also discouraged by the food. Our waiter strongly recommended the ribollita appetizer, in this case a bread and vegetable soup that is cooked dry and served like a grey omelet on the plate. It was rather tasteless and gritty where it was charred on one side. I ate maybe half. Mr. CH had a nice light salad of radicchio, castefranca and rucula.

      My entree was a tagliatelle made of chestnut flour and what was called a spiced wild boar ragu. Rather than a boar, it was a bore - also grey and with little flavor. Mr. CH had a flattened grilled Cornish hen. It was dry, but better than mine. So disappointing.

      His dessert was sorbetti: grape, mango and blood orange. He enjoyed the blood orange. I had a panna cotta. It was the best thing I was served.

      I wonder if Restaurant Week becomes a throw-away for some places. If it is, it's a mistake. This was our first visit to PS and we had heard good things and had high expectations. I hate it when what I am served is not as good as what I can make at home. I don't think we will return soon.

      1. re: chicgail

        We tried Perennial Virant last night. It was our first time there since the transition to Chef Paul Virant. It was certainly better than Piccolo Sogno.

        The $33 prix fixe was a little different than the menu posted on-line. Mr. CG (trying to avoid dairy these days) had the salad with fennel, radishes, pickled tomato vinaigrette (please hold the chevre) which was fine. The winter squash soup was a delight: slightly spicy, but deeply flavorful. It was topped with a maple whipped cream that added a nice layer of sweetness, but there may have a been a bit too much of that topping for me. I'm kind of a savory gal as a rule.

        I had the pork loin with smashed potatoes (the on-line menu says "pork belly"). The pork loin was unremarkable, although maybe a teensy bit too salty for me and the smashed potatoes were very heavy on garlic. Mr. CG loved his whitefish with polenta and wilted greens.

        We both had the rye flour apple crepes (mine with brown butter ice cream; his without). It was a nice light finish. Neither of us were drawn to the chocolate boston cream pie option. Kinda sorry now we didn't try it.

        My biggest complaint was that we felt a little rushed: it seemed like someone was always there to take our plates, but by-and-large, the staff was affable and eager to please. We got cards with discounts for their weekend brunch.

        The food had much of the same feeling as the original Perennial, which we've enjoyed. All locally-sourced ingredients. Virent seems to have added a lot of canned and pickled ingredients that are a nice touch. We will return to this one.

      2. Thanks for posting this link. Lots of great options! I am out of town much of the week, but am taking advantage of the great deal at Naha.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Gonzo70

          Back from dinner at Naha. My food was pretty good, but my wife's was rather mediocre. Overshadowing the food was our server was completely disinterested and exerted minimal effort. Hopefully this was just the case of him being burned out as it was the last day of Restaurant Week and the servers at venues such as Naha are likely earning much less money in tips than normal. Doesn't excuse his amateurish behavior, but I will assume that in general service is much better at Naha. As examples of the poor service he never checked in with us to see how we liked any of the courses, did not chill the champagne we ordered, did not explain any of the foods when served - even with the cheese course he did not tell us what any of the cheeses were, did not offer us coffee with dessert etc. This was our first time dining at Naha and the poor service definitely tarnished our impression despite some of the courses being really tasty.

        2. We did Boka last night, and I have to say, I was not impressed. The service was great, cocktails were good, but the food was underwhelming. The starters seemed like they'd been plated and waiting for a while. I will say that my chicken was cooked to perfectly. Based on last night's experience not sure I'd go back.

          Tonight is Saigon Sisters. Their menu looks pretty good and I've heard nice things. Next weekend is Ceres' Table, which looks to have the most generous menu -- basically its mix and match your own choices from the entire menu.

          Piccolo Sogno is a fave of mine, I think you'll like it. I havent been to Perennial Vivrant, but he's the former chef at Boka, so here's hoping your time is better than mine.

          3 Replies
          1. re: geg5150

            Anyone else want to comment on Boka? I'm thinking of going there soon but if it's really not good I'll look elsewhere.

            1. re: zooxanthellae

              Went to Boka on friday-- the restaurant week menu was weak. We tried all three entrees; all well cooked, but nothing special. The gnocchi+mushrooms were solid, the fish was nice, but none of us cared for the chicken dish.

              The best dishes we had were the desserts, which we subbed in from the regular menu :). They were divine...but again, they were off the regular menu. Just go back for the real deal some other week, I say!

              1. re: elysiumarie

                Thanks!

          2. We did Rustic House last night. I've been wanting to try it out for a while and figured Restaurant Week would be a good excuse. They're offering a $44 three course prix fixe menu for restaurant week and are serving their regular menu as well. On most days, the prix fixe deal isn't a deal at all, The three most expensive courses offered on the $44 prix fixe were $45 if ordered from the regular menu. The three courses from the restaurant week menu I was interested in were actually less than $44 when ordered from the regular menu. The only days when the $44 prix fixe is actually a deal is on Friday and Saturday IF you select the rotisserie of the day (rack of veal on Friday, prime rib on Saturday) as your entree. The food we finally ordered (off the regular menu) was good, but didn't wow us to the point that we want to go back soon. Kind of defeats the purpose of restaurant week IMO.

            1. Bummer about PS, ChicagoIl. It is truly one of my faves. To be honest, I think their regular menu us pretty reasonable, and you can easy do $30 for dinner with 1/2 portions of pasta and a starter.

              I mentioned that Boka wasn't a win for us. Saigon Sisters, however, was excellent! We loved everything savory! The desserts were good, not great. I will definitely go back.

              Friday night we did Ceres' Table, which was a great value as it was your choice of anything from the menu! That being said, I thought the regular menu prices were a tad high. A few hits and a few misses. The fritto misto was excellent as was the article char dish. The aranccini and pasta was not up to snuff. Desserts were a little week. Likely, we wont go back.

              Tonight is Chizakaya and I'm hoping for good things.

              2 Replies
              1. re: geg5150

                I don't doubt that so many people like PS as much as they do because they usually put out a good product. I think they just sort of let it all go for Restaurant Week and didn't produce the kind of food or service they normally would. I think that's a big mistake for restaurants because lots of people like us may use RW to give it a try - and we are among those who wouldn't hurry back.

                1. re: chicgail

                  Totally agree. You can't just give me a flourless choc cake and call it restaurant week.

              2. Funny, I made the initial post and then had problems getting reservations at the restaurants we wanted to enjoy. My wife and I did get to Demara on Saturday night and had another great meal and the Chicago Restaurant Week menu was a great hit. Not only were the choices excellent but the food was amazing as usual. And for the first time I can remember, there was a line out the door when we were leaving - and this is for an Ethiopian restaurant! Every table was filled.

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                Demera Ethiopian Restaurant
                4801 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640

                1. We were underwelmed at PS and it was not restaurant week.... We had heard raves on CH and love Italian and were in Chicago to eat with friends.... We waited 20 minutes plus for our 800 pm reservation and then were seated at the table right in front of the kitchen/dishwashing station.... Dirty dishes and wait staff and doors banging to and fro... Food was good but not memorable..... Would not go back and felt more than a little let down.... Too many other places to try...

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                  Piccolo Sogno
                  464 N Halsted, Chicago, IL 60622