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Would Appreciate Feedback on Chicago Itinerary! (Researched)

Hi there:

Will be in Chicago on business Oct. 22-27 (or having made it my business to find business that would lead to great eating opportunities in Chicago) I'd really appreciate some feedback on some of the newer places to eat in Chicago. I have Girl & The Goat reservations for Friday (one of my all time favorite places) but the rest is up to sheer deliciousness factors - and also open 10pm or later Tues-Thursday (will have meetings until late.)

1) Love, love love Lao Sze Chuan (esp. hot pot & dry fried chicken & chiles) but keep reading about Lao Hunan - if you could only choose one, which would you choose? Fave dishes?

2. If you could only do three of the following, which would you choose (and what are your favorite dishes there?):

avec
Fat Rice
The Publican
Little Goat
GT Fish & Oyster
Siena Tavern
Longman & Eagle
Urbanbelly
Mott Street
Parson's Chicken & Fish
Yusho

3. Have tickets for Second City's late show on Saturday night - any suggestions on a good dinner place not far away?

4. Anything that I've missed that shouldn't be missed?

Thanks in advance for your help - I really appreciate it!

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  1. Re LSZ vs Lao Hunan, I'm pretty sure you can order the hot pot and dry fried chicken with chiles at either one -- if there's a benefit to being a Tony Hu restaurant, it's that the menus tend to overlap. I really like Chaiman Mao's Favorite Pork Belly, Dry Chili Fish Fillet, Beijing style Pot Stickers, Jade Tofu, Heng Shan Style Preserved Rice Noodle and Twice-Cooked Duck (for what it's worth, friends swear by the Ground Pork with Preserved Sour Beans but I'm not a fan). Lao Hunan is much smaller and you may run into longer waits. But Chinatown is pretty small and you could easily call an audible and head to LSZ. Or even two other new(er) options, Sze Chuan Cuisine or Go 4 Food.

    Re the other options... I'd go ahead and ditch Parsons. Their patio will be closed by the end of October and you'll be left with a cramped interior. The food is fine but there are much, much better places for fried chicken. It also looks like Urban Belly will be closed while you're in town (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/20...).

    Among those that are left, Siena Tavern is pretty good but it's more about a place to see and be seen. If you're going to Girl and the Goat, I'm not certain it would be worth going to Little Goat, too.

    avec, Fat Rice and L&E don't accept reservations. If you go on a prime week or weekend night, expect long waits -- not sure if that's how you want to spend your time (for the record, I love all three restaurants but I avoid them during prime dinner hours).

    Some other options to consider (and maybe you already saw them and disregarded them during your research - if so, my apologies!) would be Honey Butter Fried Chicken, smalls, Au Cheval and the Berkshire Room.

    http://www.szechuancuisine.us/#!home/...
    http://www.go4foodusa.com/G4F-v3.0/G4...
    http://www.honeybutter.com/
    http://www.smallschicago.com/
    http://auchevalchicago.com/
    http://www.acmehotelcompany.com/chica...

    1. danimalarkey - thank you so much for the feedback & the excellent other suggestions. I really appreciate it!

      1. Avec, Yusho, and something other than GT Fish&Oyster. If you value reservations, then perhaps Publican over avec.

        http://endoedibles.com

        7 Replies
        1. re: uhockey

          Curious about why you are not recommending GT F&O, uhockey.

          The trendy one I would avoid would is Parson's Chicken and Fish. The restaurant has total swag and cool and the crowds reflect that. If that's what you want, you should try it, but we found the the food was very disappointing. Underseasoned. Over-fried. I'd send you to Harold's if what you want is great fried chicken.

          1. re: chicgail

            Completely underwhelmed by nearly every aspect of GT F&O except for the bill. There is simply nothing special about the place, imo, in a city FULL of special restaurants. The service, the dry fish, the small portions...all of it was only memorable in its mediocrity.

            http://endoedibles.com

            1. re: uhockey

              GT F&O wasn't the best place I've eaten lately, but it my experience was better than yours (except for the part about the bill). Thanks for sharing, uhockey.

              1. re: chicgail

                Been a few times. Most recently a dinner was excellent. Then a brunch a few months later was good but just that-nothing really special. Still, I haven't had such a negative experience as uhockey.

                1. re: chicgail

                  Liked but didn't love GT F&O. Had a mix of raw and cooked dishes at lunch (whereas uhockey's previous review indicates he only had cooked dishes). Dinner menu much more intriguing and interesting in comparison to lunch. I had a feeling I'd like dinner better. Good oysters & cocktails, too (which I don't think uhockey had).

                  1. re: kathryn

                    There are 100s of restaurants with good cocktails and Oysters in any major city - I was merely commenting that in terms of 'unique' to Chicago one would be MUCH better off with L&E (even though I didn't enjoy my meal there,) either Kahan spot, Yusho, Little Goat. I haven't been to Parsons, Mott Street, Siena Tavern, or Fat Rice (though the later three are on the agenda for November.)

                    http://endoedibles.com

                    1. re: uhockey

                      True but I want to go wherever you're going, with hundreds of restaurants with good cocktail programs!!

                      That hasn't been my experience at all. Restaurants routinely don't much put effort into their cocktail lists or maintaining a consistent level of cocktail execution after the big shot cocktail consultant who did the list had left, unfortunately. It's sad.

          2. For dinner near Second City I'd recommend Perennial Virant http://www.perennialchicago.com/ which is just a couple blocks north of the theater.

            1. Skip Parson's Chicken & Fish
              Skip Little Goat - Not that good and overpriced. You are better off finding a good brunch spot (like Lula, The Publican, The Carriage House) or going to Au Cheval down the road.

              Add to your list
              Mexique - www.mexique.com to the list if you want to dine at a Michelin Star Mexican French fusion place. The Chef/Owner is on this season of Top Chef and greets every table. So good chance you would get to meet him

              Maude's liquor bar - Great cocktails and great food.

              Of your list, might top choices would be Avec, Fat Rice and Longman & Eagle.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jbrady3324

                Agree about Parsons, Mexique.

                Be aware that Longman & Eagle, which is truly great food, doesn't take reservations. You might want to go early to avoid a long wait. Two of my favorite brunches in town are The Publican and L&E. Merkat a la Plancha also has a pretty spectacular brunch, complete with a bloody mary bar.

                Fat Rice is also no-rez and the wait can be substantial. We got there at 6:15 last Tuesday and the wait was over an hour.