Last minute trip to Chicago
We are going to be in Chicago May 17-21. We have lived there several times, most recently in 2011, so are fairly familiar with the city. We know it is too late for Rick Bayless places, Girl and the Goat or Spiaggia (a long-time favorite) and similar. Fri and Sat dinner we will be with our 20-something sons (both very well-traveled, one lives at a resort in CO mountains, the other performs at Second City so probably not into high end - also no pizza or Mexican for them) Sun night we will be on our own (I know Sun is tough). Any ideas? Perhaps some hip ethnic with the guys on Fri and Sat and some (undiscovered) gem for the two of us.
>> We know it is too late for Rick Bayless places, Girl and the Goat or Spiaggia (a long-time favorite) and similar.
Not really. Aside from the possibility of eating early or waiting a long time to be seated - either of which will get you into Frontera Grill or Girl & the Goat - availability at Spiaggia is easy for Friday or Sunday, limited (5:45 or 8:45, not in between) for Saturday. If you would consider one of our mid-priced Italian restaurants, excellent ones include Spiaggia's sister restaurant Café Spiaggia, as well as Piccolo Sogno, Vivere, tesori, the Florentine, and Coco Pazzo.
Other excellent places you might consider for an upscale dinner include Naha (closed Sunday) or North Pond. For a more casual (and hip/trendy) dinner, consider one of the places serving delicious food in a "small plates" format, such as Sable (contemporary American), GT Fish & Oyster (seafood), Mercat a la Planxa (tapas), or Quartino (Italian), all of which accept reservations on Opentable. You should still be able to make a reservation at most of these places, although I recommend doing so sooner rather than later. If you can eat at an off hour (mid-afternoon or late in the evening), you might also consider the Purple Pig, which doesn't accept reservations and at which waiting times for dinner often exceed two hours.
If you're looking for an "undiscovered gem" that is new to you, consider Anteprima in Andersonville (it's Italian) or Deleece in Lakeview (contemporary American). Both are outstanding, moderately-priced neighborhood places.
My first thought is Yusho (perhaps I'm excited about my visit this Friday). Go to www.yusho-chicago.com to try for a reservation. I think your sons would enjoy it. For your solo meal, their Sunday Noodle special is a great deal, and fun. Fat Rice (www.eatfatrice.com) would also qualify as "hip" (Chicago Magazine's most recent Best New Restaurants list) and "ethnic" (Macao). They do not take reservations, are open Tuesday-Saturday 6-10pm, and it is mostly communal seating, so I'd suggest arriving just before opening and joining the queue. Yusho and Fat Rice are both in the Logan Square neighborhood. For something a little more romantic for two, perhaps Bavette's Bar & Boeuf. Brindille, a just-opened French concept by the Naha team, might meet your criteria, although they're likely booked by curious foodies and Naha fans. For high end, maybe consider and I think you could get into: Boka, North Pond, Naha,, L2O, or Tru, although they are all quite "discovered". Alas, it appears reservations at Spiaggia are available for your weekend via Open Table, if you want to revisit an old favorite rather than a new place.
Edited upon noticing Nsxtasy and I were simultaneously posting and he mentioned Naha is closed on Sundays, so forget that. Surprisingly, Brindille is open, but only 4-8pm, per their website.
>> Edited upon noticing Nsxtasy and I were simultaneously posting and he mentioned Naha is closed on Sundays, so forget that.
FWIW, I'm not absolutely certain about that. Naha's website shows hours and does not show any on Sundays, and I know that they have been closed on Sundays for several years. However, I also checked Opentable and they showed availability on a Sunday date. I'm not sure why the discrepancy. Perhaps they changed their hours and are open on Sundays now that their sister restaurant is open on Sundays...?
It's also worth noting that L2O and TRU are in the same formality (e.g. jackets required/recommended) and price bracket as Spiaggia (figure $200-250+ per person including moderate alcohol and tax/tip) whereas Naha, North Pond, and Boka are less formal (e.g. business casual) and priced lower, typically $110-140/pp inclusive.