first visit to chicago
My wife is flying me to chicago for four nights over easter weekend to take me for a (belated) birthday dinner at alinea(sun night). We ate at mugaritz in spain last summer and i'm really excited to compare the two. I've also booked topolobampo for fri lunch, and the girl and the goat for mon dinner. We've reserved easter sun brunch at the publican, but my wife would much rather go to m henry (she loves pancakes) but the no reservation policy worries me a bit (we're hoping to go to the cubs game that afternoon). How much of a problem will we have getting in? As far as fri dinner, i've been trying to book schwa, but haven't had any success yet. I'm going to keep trying, but if we can't get a seating, we still like the idea of doing a smaller, more intimate BYOB that night - thoughts about el ideas, bonsoiree, etc? Sat is going to be more of a casual (re:lots of drinks!) day - deep-dish pizza, maybe hot dougs or something similar, and a blues bar (which one?) at night. I've read some of the postings about chicago pizza places and its no surprise that people are as opinionated here as they were in NY about pizza there, so we still haven't decided which one to go to. Again, any ideas/suggestions are greatly appreciated!
You have a nice line-up scheduled there! As for Schwa, I would recommend against that for an out-of-towner due to Schwa so frequently cancelling reservations last minute. El Ideas is great and is the most similar to Schwa in terms of being more of an event than a meal and being able to mingle with the chefs. Bonsoiree is really good as well, but not as fun of an overall experience. Goosefoot is a new, but excellent BYOB with tasting menu that is on the small side and rather intimate. Another idea to look into is One Sister (underground venue where you dine in the chef's house) - you would have to book that one fast as last e-mail from her said just two seats left for that date (that is the first night of her spring menu; I will actually be dining there that night).
I can't guess at what Easter Sunday will be like at m.henry, but my wife and I go regularly and our rule is "the earlier, the better." We rarely have to wait (or wait long) for a table for 2 if we get there before 9. m.henry's pancakes are great, but the Bongo Room has a deeper selection
Reggie's at 2105 S. State has good blues and is near Chinatown. A nice one-two punch. Try Double Li or Lao Sze Chuan for dinner before blues.