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Wine Bars in Chicago.. and CASUAL Tasting menu, if that's possible.

aknabe Jul 20, 2012 11:58 AM

Hola fellow foodies. I'm headed to Chicago first of Sept and planning out our culinary adventure...

I'm taking a break from trying to find an awesome tasting menu.. I have a rez at TRU so far, but I REALLY want to try Alinea, but probably just need to give up with them moving to the annoying ticket system like Next.

But I also want to find a casual wine bar, low noise preferrably. We like to just sit back and have a few flights and nibble on some fruit and cheese, but still be able to hear each other talk. OH, and we don't want to HAVE to dress up in dress/slacks... we're already doing that for TRU and wherever else I pick for the dinners. I'm staying inside the Loop so close would be nice, but we don't mind taking a cab or the train.

As a separate request... if you'd like to give opinions on NorthPond, Goosefoot, L20, Blackbird, North Wood, Girl and a Goat, or Acadia.. they are on the radar. And also open to suggestions for any casual tasting menus that aren't so fancy.. if there is even such a thing. We love adventurous, good food.. but don't like to dress up all the time.

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  1. f
    ferret RE: aknabe Jul 20, 2012 12:33 PM

    Not a tasting menu, but Sable might be a good choice to check off the wine bar and give you food options, they have lots of wines and a variety of small plates. Bin 36 offers a more traditional wine and cheese menu (lots of cheeses).

    4 Replies
    1. re: ferret
      aknabe RE: ferret Jul 20, 2012 01:16 PM

      Thanks, I've seen the name on boards here and will check it out. I should have clarified my post... it was really 2 separate requests for info! =) One for a wine bar, and another request for causal tasting menus. But thanks for the response!

      1. re: ferret
        aknabe RE: ferret Jul 20, 2012 01:37 PM

        Question about Bin 36... which has all the CHEESE? =) The restaurant on Dearborn, or the Cafe on Milwaulkee?

        1. re: aknabe
          camusman RE: aknabe Jul 21, 2012 05:58 AM

          the cafe

          1. re: camusman
            deesher RE: camusman Jul 21, 2012 11:19 AM

            The restaurant on Dearborn also has a list of 50 cheeses.

      2. delk RE: aknabe Jul 20, 2012 01:40 PM

        Try Vera.
        Easy L ride on either the Pink or Green line to the brand new (and beautiful) Morgan Street stop.


        1. k
          kathryn RE: aknabe Jul 20, 2012 04:21 PM

          If you find yourself on Magnificent Mile, Purple Pig is a fantastic wine bar with great antipasti, meats, cheeses. It gets a little loud inside, less so on the patio. We usually try to go on off hours to avoid a wait. Today we had a fantastic rabbit meat and herb salad with truffle vinaigrette, fried sweetbreads with apricot jam and charred fennel, and a JLT, an open faced jowl sandwich with tomato, frisée, and a fried egg. The atmosphere is casual.

          I love the cocktails at Sable and the food is pretty good, but the front area can get very loud. We were there, late, on both a Weds and a Thursday, and it was pretty loud around the bar.

          Girl and the Goat is excellent. Call NOW to book a reservation in September. They book 3-6 months in advance. It is also casual.

          For a casual chef's tasting, try Yusho, a Japanese small plates/yakitori inspired restaurant in Logan Square. The atmosphere is that of a ramen bar/yakitori place. The tasting is based upon whatever the chef feels like cooking that day. Great cocktails, technique, ingredients.

          Based on your parameters, Next would actually work pretty well. It's a tasting menu format but not terribly formal at all. They have been putting tables on sale sans announcement several times over the last few weeks.

          1. camusman RE: aknabe Jul 20, 2012 04:58 PM

            It would be worth your time to venture to Telegraph Wine Bar, which has great food along with the wine. Just hop on a Blue line train and get off at the Logan Square stop.

            2 Replies
            1. re: camusman
              deesher RE: camusman Jul 20, 2012 08:38 PM

              I second Telegraph. If you go to the web site, you can find their glass pours and their bottle list.

              1. re: deesher
                BSpar RE: deesher Jul 23, 2012 08:58 AM

                aknabe, Are you staying downtown? There are a few great wine bar spots around, but my faves are in the north a bit.

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