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Jun 21, 2013 07:34 PM

Everest or L20?

Visiting Chicago from out of state in a few weeks, mainly to dine at Grace for the first time.

We also want to try one other high end restaurant (we've already been to Alinea three times, including a great meal a couple of months ago, so that's out for a while) and I think I have it narrowed down to these two.

Leaning slightly towards L20 at the moment, but I'm willing to listen to any compelling reasons why we should go to Everest instead (like the L20 chef quit, or they had a sudden drop off in performance). Or is this one of those "you'll be happy either way" choices?

Would really prefer Goosefoot but it looks like there are no open reservations on OpenTable for weeks.

We dined at L20 a couple of years back, shortly after Chef Gras left, and enjoyed it, but they seem to have a totally revamped cuisine now and the menu looks great.

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  1. I can't tell you much about L2O, because I haven't been there since before you did, and it's all new under Chef Kirkley. I've heard good things.

    However, I CAN tell you that Everest is excellent and worth considering. One of the unfortunate facts about the restaurant business is that the "new kid on the block" gets all the media attention, even though the longtime stalwarts are often still great and are evolving themselves. Jean Joho is still one of the top chefs in the city if not the country, and his contemporary French cuisine is a delight. Plus you have all the usual high-end features - a huge wine list (allegedly the best selection of Alsatian wines in the country), a terrific view looking out at the city, and the usual superb service from an extensive and experienced waitstaff.

    So yes, neither is a bad choice, and you'll probably be happy either way. What would I do if I were in your situation? I would go to Everest if I had never been there before, otherwise I'd try Kirkley's take on L2O.

    Please report back afterwards, including on your dinner at Grace!

    1. You can also follow Goosefoot on Twitter. They usually post any same day openings(ie cancellations) on their account. It doesn't happen often, but today, for example, there were three 2 tops for the taking. FYI, be prepared to dine for at least 3.5 hrs when you are there.

      6 Replies
      1. re: sunbrace

        Thanks, but we are flying in from out of state and can't be that flexible.

        Plus I'm one of the remaining 3,975 people in the USA who isn't on Twitter :)

        1. re: willyum

          This may be for another topic/board, but I'm curious about your trip to Barcelona/San Sebastian. Care to share a bit about the places you ate there? I'm headed in the same direction in the latter part of the year.

          1. re: sunbrace

            Sore spot ... the trip got bumped to next October because of jury duty and other obligations, and then we lost our top target, El Cellar de Can Roca, when they were named "Best Restaurant in the World" by Pelligrino and immediately filled all reservations through next April :(

            So anyway the plan now is Sant Pau (Carme Ruscalleda) plus one of the excellent Michelin 1* or 2*'s in Barca, then Mugaritz and Akelaŕe in San Seb area, skipping Arzak. We'll probably stay at a nice hotel in Barca so we're hoping the concierge can snag us a reservation at Can Roca in Girona, but we know the chances are slim. But still should be a great trip.

            1. re: willyum

              Sorry to hear that. I'll be there in the latter part of Oct and Nov as as well. Hope you can get in Can Roca, although I hear Sant Pau is awesome as well.

              1. re: willyum

                I really didn't find San Pau to be worth it as 3 star places go. Very artistic presentations which is something I appreciate at other places—literally, fish cakes as Mondrian squares—but fairly tasteless. Deserts were fun and innovative though. Carme Ruscalleda was in the house and tried to be very gracioius.

                In Basque country my ranking would be:
                Asador Etxebarri
                Martin Berasategui

                1. re: W42

                  Just a quick request, if people are going to continue talking about restaurants in Spain, could you please chat on the Spain board:

                  That way, this great info will be available to many others who are also looking for tips on where to dine in Spain.

                  Thanks very much!

        2. I haven't been to Everest in a few years but have been 6+ times. I have been to L2O in the last year and several other times. Pre and post L. Gras cooking there. I'd go to L20.

          1 Reply
          1. re: HoosierFoodie

            LOL, I feel like a weather vane ... after reading nsxtasy's post above I thought if I could talk my wife into the degustation menu at Everest maybe we'd try that.

            After your post I'm tilting back to L20 :)

          2. Speaking of high-end restaurants from the folks at Lettuce Entertain You, you might want to also consider TRU, especially if you've never been there. Anthony Martin is doing wonderful things. :)

            2 Replies
            1. re: nsxtasy

              I would definitely consider Tru. In fact, I prefer it to both Everest and L20.

              1. re: nsxtasy

                Tru reminds me of a funeral. The staff is as stiff as the corpse and no one ever smiles. You won't go wrong with either L2O or Everest. Both are excellent.

              2. Thanks for all the opinions (and sorry for the detour to Catalonia).

                We decided on L20 for a small number of relatively insignificant reasons.

                Probably the key one is that my wife doesn't want to graze on long tasting menus two nights running (Grace the first night, and I understand it's a 'heavy' menu). Ideally I could get the tasting menu and she could order four courses ... Everest states the tasting menu has to be ordered by the entire table, but on our previous visit to L20 they let me have the long menu while my wife had the short one (about half the high end places allow this, I've found). So for this trip it's L20.

                Maybe Everest (or TRU or somewhere else) the next time we fly in for Alinea.