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