Sprout v. North Pond for dinner this Friday?
I'd be interested in hearing a head-to-head comparison from those who know both well in terms of overall quality, service, and atmosphere. Both look great based on the web sites and generally positive comments on this board. Thanks so much for any thoughts!
I've been to both for both dinner and brunch. For brunch I would go to Sprout in a heartbeat for its more casual environment and more interesting dishes, but, they're different and it will primarily depend on what you want.
North Pond is a beautiful location in an Arts and Crafts warming house on a pond in Lincoln Park (the park, not the neighborhood). It is rather romantic. with great views. The food, IMO, has been mixed. Some exceptional; some ok; some only fair. Service attentive. Chef Bruce Sherman, after having been nominated many times recently won a James Beard award.
Sprout is much more irreverent. It is located in a small, unassuming but nicely designed location on Fullerton and is run by Top Chef Finalist Dale Levitsky. The menu is prix fixe with choices for appetizer, entrée and dessert, plus two complimentary dishes between those courses. Most menu items are deconstructed standard dishes with own spin on them. The names are ambiguous (“Corn,” “Licorice,” “Egg,” “Mushroom,” “Sturgeon,” “Steak,” “Lillet”) and represent what the chef says is the primary ingredient in that dish. Service is knowledgable and we had no fault.
Hope this helps.
Just an update on Sprout; they no longer have a prix fixe menu, but the appetizers, entrees and desserts are now a la carte; there is also an eight course tasting menu available for $85.
Sprout and North Pond are both excellent restaurants. Sprout is more modern and trendy and North Pond is more traditional and romantic. There have been some recent complaints that North Pond's service has been a bit consistent and at times has a bit of a pretentious atmosphere, but this is an occasional rather than frequent complaint. The food at both venues is outstanding and both have highly acclaimed chefs.