I spent a week in Chicago in July and thought I'd share my thoughts on some of the places I ate at. A wide range of experiences, from the ever-popular Billy Goat to Charlie Trotter's!
El Tapatio (Edge of Roscoe Village)
Dropped in here for my Mexican fix (I'm American, living in London) and was HUGELY disappointed. Stale chips. Old steak in the tacos. Wanted to yell "Do over!!!" I would not go here again. (Our original plan was to go to a newer Mexican place around Ashland but it was closed on Mondays. Starts with an M? Can't remember name.) Photos and more details, etc. here: londonelicious.com/dining/2009/08/el-tapatio…
This strikes me as a business lunch or pre-theatre place. HUGE menu. Chatty service, although it was slow when we were there. The most memorable thing about this meal was the bread basket, which is both good and bad. In short, I don't know if I would go again. More details, etc. here: londonelicious.com/dining/2009/08/petterinos…
A big disappointment. If you don't go out to eat a lot, this will be a very special experience for you. But if you go out to eat a lot like I do, you may not be so impressed. The food, for the most part, missed that wow factor. (Um, except for when I got the bill for $275 for two and we had only had one glass of wine and one glass of kir royale each.) But at least I've crossed it off my list. Very clean bathroom. Lovely, formal service.
Perennial (Lincoln Park)
I really liked the vibe at Perennial and the decor. Modern, fresh. Earthy. Also, great outdoor area (although lots of traffic.) I thought the food, while interesting, was not as tastily compelling as I would have liked. Very nice focus on local sourcing, however, which is great to see. If I were in the area, I'd try this again.
Terzo Piano (Art Institute)
This was probably my favorite spot. I just loved the room--big, white, airy. Service was pretty sharp. Nice lunch menu. I particularly liked the mini lamb burger in my trio of lamb burgers, but could have passed on the shrimp burger. I would definitely visit again.
I've been going to the Billy Goat for years, but this is the first time I had breakfast at the Billy Goat under Michigan Avenue. It was cheap--$4.50--and I have to say that it was goddarn good! Crispy bacon, toasted bun. I was very pleased! A must visit if you like cheap and cheerful and a little dirty.
Hope some of you find this helpful. In short, I will always go back to the Billy Goat and I would definitely recommend Terzo Piano.