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Jan 8, 2014 02:57 PM

Dinner in Chicago for tonight- January 8, 2014

Good Day All-

My wife and I are in Chicago and had reservations at Schwa for this evening but they are having problems with frozen pipes. Any ideas where I can get in? I tried calling El Ideas but the mailbox is full. Alinea has no tickets showing for this evening either.


Best regards, Tony

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  1. The Lobby at the Peninsula and Naha in river north have reservations available. Both are excellent (the loss of the chef at The Lobby shouldn't effect the quality since the current menu hasn't changed).

    2 Replies
    1. re: KateBChi

      I would be a little reticent about the Lobby right now; it is not just their head chef that they lost, but also both sous chefs and their pastry chef (all at Boka now) as well as IMHO their best server. In 2013 the Lobby was one of my very favorite restaurants, but sadly I am concerned that it is a mere shadow of the 2013 version at the present time. Hopefully they retool with some good talent but personally I do not believe this is a good time to dine there. I do wonder if Graham Elliot's new venue will end up in the old Avenues space adjacent to the Lobby.

      1. re: Gonzo70

        That is quite a loss at The Lobby. The menu is the same with no tweeks so I think the remaining staff can probably execute those dishes pretty well. Vision for the future won't be known until it is, well, known. Naha is a known element and it is consistently very good.

    2. Sorry I saw this too late to advise. Curious where you ended up? Gotta love Schwa; can be one of the most amazing meals ever when they are on their game but I have never seen a place have so many issues with their "pipes." Almost believable with how cold it has been, but...

      For future reference high end venues that I'd recommend that often have availability last minute (especially on weekdays) would include Tru, L2O, Senza, Moto, Boka and Sixteen. Elizabeth may be able to accommodate too some nights, but would need to call them (the others can be booked online via Open Table). Grace is one of Chicago's best and would be worth calling to see if they have room - but would be iffy that they would have space last minute.

      Other places that many like (but I am not huge fans of or do not feel are quite as good as what I already listed) would be Naha, North Pond, MK, Blackbird, Everest, Sepia and Acadia.

      For non fine dining, but still excellent quality upscale last minute places that may be available would be Embeya, iNG, Tanta, David Burke's Primehouse, Mexique, Balena, Piccolo Sogno/Due, Yusho, Juno, GT Fish & Oyster, Kabocha, Bristol and Publican. This list is certainly not meant to be all encompassing, but venues I am familiar with (and also excludes great venues such as Girl & the Goat and Bavettes that would be hard last minute without generally incurring a lengthy wait).

      Alinea and Next are too difficult to reach day of to see if they have anything and El Ideas is highly unlikely to have availability (they are full pretty much every evening and people are charged a week out). Goosefoot also rarely has last minute opening barring last minute cancellation.

      1. Thanks for the help all.

        We ended up at Longman & Eagle. Had been there for brunch before and loved it and the dinner looked great as well. We were not disapointed, sure we did not have all the courses and the perfect plating but it was a solid and wonderful dinner from start to finish.

        Best regards, Tony

        3 Replies
        1. re: aea6574

          I have yet to be disappointed by a meal there. Glad you enjoyed it.

          1. re: aea6574

            Great choice, Tony. One of my faves.

            1. re: aea6574

              Glad you were able to find a place that worked out well on short notice. Sorry about Schwa cancelling on you; has happened twice to me within hours of my reservation. Frustrating, but such a unique place that can be mind blowing, so I put up with the antics.