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Charlie Trotter
April 11, 2012 6:57 PM   Subscribe

You have only 128 days left to eat at Charlie Trotter's eponymous restaurant in Chicago.

--- Grand Menu ---

Blue Fin Tuna with Celery, Niçoises Olives & Sunchokes

Unagi Terrine with Grapefruit, Red Curry & Kaffir Lime

Coriander-Encrusted Bobwhite Quail with Black Sesame, Watercress & Pomegranate

Maine Day Boat Lobster with Beet Spaetzle & Horseradish

Broken Arrow Ranch Venison Loin with Toasted Espresso, Crumbled Oats & Boudin Noir

Granny Smith Apple & Greek Yogurt Sorbet with Meyer Lemon, Tarragon & Candied Pistachio

Toffee Glazed Banana Financier with Candied Hazelnuts, Pickled Dates & Roasted Coconut

Criollo Cake with Parsnip, Red Wine & Candied Vanilla


$195 + 18% Service Charge
posted by Trurl (66 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 


This is the kind of conspicuous consumption that really grinds my gears. The venison does sound good though.

Nah. Good riddance.
posted by IvoShandor at 7:02 PM on April 11, 2012


I understand that Trotter paved some paths in fine dining and stuff, but what I'll always remember him for is his PBS cooking show, where he repeatedly referred to the delicious smells that were wafting through his kitchen -- but he pronounced it "way-fting."

Wayft away, Charlie Trotter. Wayft away to your useless degree in philosophy and/or political science or whatever.
posted by mudpuppie at 7:20 PM on April 11, 2012


I ate there a few weeks ago. I figured that it was closing forever and I'd regret it if I didn't. He was such a pioneer. But my meal there was really weird. We had a late reservation and it felt like we were the only people there, like we were in some eerie British manor owned by an eccentric elderly relative you've only met once before. It was quiet and kind of awkward, even a little creepy. The food was good, but very restrained. Many ingredients were out of season and from far away, which just added to the otherworldly atmosphere. Unfortunately I indulged in the bread basket and by the time we got to dessert, I was too bloated to enjoy anything else. It's such a contrast to the newer high-end restaurants in Chicago, which are edgy and playful. And fun. This meal just wasn't fun at all like my meal the month before at El Ideas, where they let you play around in the kitchen with the chefs. I understood why Charlie is bored and going to grad school.
posted by melissam at 7:24 PM on April 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


IvoShandor: This is the kind of conspicuous consumption that really grinds my gears
Wait, what? $195 for a big meal at a nice restaurant is not remotely outlandish. Conspicuous consumption is for spending thousands of dollars on a food item ("Panda burgers with bald eagle pate!") solely to show you can, not on dining at a unique and noteworthy chef's culinary output.
posted by hincandenza at 7:30 PM on April 11, 2012 [19 favorites]


Mmmmmm.

Meats.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:30 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, crap, I'll probably not get there in time. I'm kicking myself for not getting to L2O when Laurent Gras was building the place up, too. I guess there's still Alinea.

Mad props to Trotter for quitting at the top of his game to go travel and do a humanities grad degree before getting back into the game. Executing at his level for years is exhausting.

And just to wave my own conspicuous consumption around a bit, the best meal I've had in the United States in the past few years was at 11 Madison, Daniel Humm and Will Guidara's place in New York. When I was there last fall every aspect of the restaurant was working perfectly: the room, the service, the food. I understand spending ~$500/person for a meal (with wine) is outrageously expensive and elitist. But boy, when a place like that delivers it's really impressive. Consumable performance art.
posted by Nelson at 7:37 PM on April 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


When I heard that Charlie Trotter was closing down his restaurant, the first words in my head were courtesy of Anthony Bourdain's withering insult from 2004: "[He] cooks like he's never been fucked properly in his life."
posted by stannate at 7:37 PM on April 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


I have Charlie Trotters wonderful vegetable cookbook and have made the Salsify and sweet potato terrine with two enriching vinaigrettes (except I can't get salsify in Australia). The accompanying wine notes are:
Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Roussanne Vieilles Vignes. We can also endorse bigger white burgundies the almost diesel-like style of a mature Leroy Puligny or a Jobard Meursault would also be exciting.
I don't feel like dropping $100+ on any of these, so what other wine has a diesel-like style?
posted by unliteral at 7:46 PM on April 11, 2012


The thing about Bourdain is he could have said that about just about anyone and it would have had the same impact - funny and snarky but not really an observation that means much about the person observed.
posted by Mid at 7:46 PM on April 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


I love watching Trotter on the various food channels. He was the model for the Anal Retentive Chef.
posted by Splunge at 7:50 PM on April 11, 2012


"Panda burgers with bald eagle pate!"

Not to derail, but bluefin tuna are listed as endangered on the IUCN red list of threatened species--the same status as the giant panda.
posted by gueneverey at 7:52 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


bluefin tuna are listed as endangered on the IUCN red list of threatened species--the same status as the giant panda.

Atlantic and Southern bluefin are so listed; Pacific is not.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:58 PM on April 11, 2012


When I heard that Charlie Trotter was closing down his restaurant, the first words in my head were courtesy of Anthony Bourdain's withering insult from 2004: "[He] cooks like he's never been fucked properly in his life."
The thing about Bourdain is he could have said that about just about anyone and it would have had the same impact - funny and snarky but not really an observation that means much about the person observed.


No, but the new generation of chefs, this era I think Bourdain had a big hand in ushering in, well...they are rock stars. They are sexy and edgy and dysfunctional. I think my experience with Schwa was emblematic of that. My reservation was cancelled twice. Something about drugs or something. Finally, I managed to score a very early one on a Thursday night. The front of the restaurant looks like a dive bar and I almost walk on by. When I do go in, it's empty and the entire darkened room is blaring with punk rock. I stand there awkwardly for a moment until a man with long hair comes and mumbles at me about something. I think I'm supposed to sit somewhere, so I do. My friend comes with wine. The service is paced very strangely, but at least they turn the rock down enough for us to hear each other talk. Some older folks at a table nearby seem pained, they probably came because of the Michelin star thing. The chefs are the waiters. I flirt with at least one of them, mainly because our wine consumption outpaces the food. One dish I remember quite well is based on a baked potato bar from Wendys in the 90s. It is bisected by melted cheese and an ugly but delicious blotch of baked potato. At one point I go to the bathroom. To get there you have to go to the kitchen. They are drinking the Zubrowka I bought them, decorated with Valentine's bee and puppy stickers, and we engage in witty banter. It was a salty fatty drunken sexy experience.

Or my time at One Sister, which is a small private supper club at a woman's apartment. Iliana Regan is a little like a younger Gabrielle Hamilton. But better. She has lovely tattoos up both her arms. She ages her own steak and makes incredibly elaborate dishes in a very tiny tiny kitchen. She grows her own herbs and greens even in the dead of winter. Each dish is a strange beautiful complex microcosm of what seems like hundreds of tiny things. It feels like eating a terrarium in a circus. You sit next to random people and talk with them. You can bring your own wine.

I've only seen Charlie from a distance, but you get a distinct impression that the things that happen at Schwa would make him blanch. And that he'd be mystified by places like One Sister. The meal I had at his restaurant was kind of the antithesis of the sexy food and food culture that's come to dominate things.
posted by melissam at 8:02 PM on April 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


I think the whole point of being Anthony Bourdain is you get to act like you invented sex and cursing.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:05 PM on April 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yea, Bourdain can turn a phrase in print but man is he not nearly as cool as he thinks he is. Like an uncle that used to be in bands but is pushing 60 so he buys a Corvette and plays Lou Reed loud enough so that people notice. *Facepalm*
posted by basicchannel at 8:09 PM on April 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


I love how this is turning into yet another Bourdain discussion. that's exactly the point.. Trotter is the anti-Bourdain; restrained, disciplined, and probably boring.

but if given a choice to eat a meal prepared by Bourdain or Trotter, I'll go Bourdain without hesitation. I'm more interested in authentic, real food than decorated seven course pretentiousness.
posted by ninjew at 8:17 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Good riddance? Trotter is only one of the most creative people on the fucking planet! His cooking isn't remotely boring.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:29 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I ate at Bourdain's place in the Financial District last year. It was fine. Real food, sure, I mean it's not synthetic beef. It was a bit disappointing to see an American restaurant try to copy French bistro style when everything's not quite right; the beef, the fries, the clientele. But it was fine. I'd happily eat there again.

But that kind of cooking is craft. What Trotter does is art. I love good craft; heck, I even loved the Hen-of-the-woods at Craft, a total food-as-craft restaurant from Colicchio. But the top end of fine dining like Trotter's restaurant, it's something else.

You can enjoy both kinds of food. Or lower; I can't wait to go get a fucking chorizo burrito for lunch tomorrow. But man, I wish I could hit up Charlie Trotter before he closes.
posted by Nelson at 8:36 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I ate at Bourdain's place in the Financial District last year. It was fine. Real food, sure, I mean it's not synthetic beef. It was a bit disappointing to see an American restaurant try to copy French bistro style when everything's not quite right; the beef, the fries, the clientele. But it was fine. I'd happily eat there again.

Bourdain's restaurant is a very mediocre one. Even he knows that he is not a great chef. He is primarily a writer and a TV show host. I doubt he was comparing Charlie's restaurant with his own.
posted by melissam at 8:42 PM on April 11, 2012


I ate at Bourdain's place in the Financial District last year.

No you didn't. Bourdain has not cooked in a kitchen or written a menu for over a decade. Before his books started selling, he was affiliated with the Les Halles in Midtown. He has nothing to do with the restaurant in the financial district, never did. All of which he's happy to admit.

Sorry, derail.
posted by neroli at 8:51 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Having a decent meal without a side of CONCEPT: is that too fucking much to ask?

Foodies ruin everything.
posted by falameufilho at 8:52 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I find that even when I end up at high end restaurants, I always feel like I'd rather be in some 9 table fluorescent-lit storefront eating Udon or Kalbi or pulled pork BBQ.

I don't necessarily care that it's cheaper. I guess I've just lost interest in the theater of food.
posted by ninjew at 8:55 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


What's the CONCEPT here? Other than interesting food?
posted by neroli at 8:55 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I ate at Trotter's years ago. It was lovely, restrained, and my brother and I still talk about the wine pairings.
posted by asuprenant at 9:11 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Melissam, you seem awesomely in the know. So, please tell us Chicagoans where to go (other than Alinea) for a True Experience! (If I'm going to blow a few grand on a night out, it won't be at Charlie Trotter's.)
posted by artemisia at 9:16 PM on April 11, 2012


Wait, what? $195 for a big meal at a nice restaurant is not remotely outlandish.

Perhaps in your world.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:17 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


IvoShandor: "Perhaps in your world."

The fact that one can't afford it doesn't make the price less fair.
posted by falameufilho at 9:21 PM on April 11, 2012


The fact that one can't afford it doesn't make the price less fair.

It's not unfair, it's just outlandish. Or put more precisely, fairness and unfairness don't enter the question.
posted by penduluum at 9:27 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


neroli: "What's the CONCEPT here? Other than interesting food?"

I'll take it back - When I first skimmed the article and I thought it was some sort of gimmick. I read it again after I read your post and yes, there's no gimmick there - he seems to be just closing the place. My bad.

(which doesn't make the food served covered with layers of concept less of a problem, just not the case here)
posted by falameufilho at 9:30 PM on April 11, 2012


I never said the price was unfair.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:32 PM on April 11, 2012


Look, art is expensive. High end cuisine is expensive to produce. Full stop. If you don't want to pay it, fine. But don't knock those who have enough interest in a subject to support those who work hard everyday to produce something fantastic.
posted by elwoodwiles at 9:42 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Having a decent meal without a side of CONCEPT: is that too fucking much to ask?

I guess maybe our ideas of what CONCEPT means are different, and/or "decent," but I don't have any trouble finding a decent meal that isn't, I dunno, tiny/foamy. IYKWIM.
posted by rtha at 9:46 PM on April 11, 2012


Charlie's next venture is called "Candy Mountain"! We're talking about the same Charlie Trotter here, right?
posted by not_on_display at 9:48 PM on April 11, 2012


But don't knock those who have enough interest in a subject to support those who work hard everyday to produce something fantastic

Oh for fuck's sake.
posted by IvoShandor at 10:01 PM on April 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


What? You're the one being judgey and shitty about what people choose to spend their own money on. No one's forcing you to drop $200, or $20, on a meal.
posted by rtha at 10:12 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


We get it, our favorite band sucks.

Anyway, the best food I had when I was in Chicago ~six months ago was at Publican. Ungodly good seafood, even if the experience was dampened by having a cab try and run me over. Blackbird was also tasty but I mostly got stared at, what, with my button up flannel shirt with soccer jersey underneath it.

I remember having really great food at Maude's, but I was too drunk to remember what it was the next day.

I guess I just know too many cooks here in San Francisco. I've seen so much love and effort go into food here that a $200 dinner doesn't seem exceptionally crazy anymore.
posted by hototogisu at 10:12 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I went to Trotter's and Alinea on my trip before last to Chicago. The attitude at Alinea was that a meal there was meant to be fun (unlike the Diet Coke ad that needled it). The demeanor at Trotter's was snooty.

My very best USAian restaurant experience was at Le Bernadin, where as a single female diner I was treated graciously.
posted by brujita at 10:21 PM on April 11, 2012


I don't feel like dropping $100+ on any of these, so what other wine has a diesel-like style?
posted by unliteral at 7:46 PM on April 11


I have no idea if this pairs with the dish you mention, but aged high-quality rieslings often have notes of petrol. Odd, yes, but enjoyable to many. Tasting a cellared riesling paired with Thai food was my gateway to discovering interesting white wines.

For a brief while K&L Wine Merchants in San Francisco had several older bottles available for $20-30 each, so you may be able to find something near you without breaking the bank.
posted by soleiluna at 10:33 PM on April 11, 2012


There is a brand spanking new Les Halles in the financial district. But Bourdain doesn't own Les Halles, worked at the one on 29th, not the new one on John Street and probably hasn't cooked there in years. Gotta give Les Halles for making the Onglet popular though.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:36 PM on April 11, 2012


I made a recipe attributed to Potter once for my wife: Grilled Pork Chops with Pickled Red Onions and Raisin-Fig-Balsamic Sauce. She wasn't fond of it though "too much going on". Now when I cook for her I make her recipes out of Bittman cookbooks. Too bad though, I liked that dish even if it seemed like I had to use every pot in the kitchen before I was done.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:00 PM on April 11, 2012


Trotter I mean. Potter? I'm drain bamaged today.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:01 PM on April 11, 2012


One dish I remember quite well is based on a baked potato bar from Wendys in the 90s. It is bisected by melted cheese and an ugly but delicious blotch of baked potato.

This is the hiccup I have with today's food trends. Cheese and potatoes are yummy together, but why does so much of the food today have to be a winking homage to something low-brow, or something that today's foodies would turn their collective noses up at if presented in its original form? Loving something in an ironic way takes the love out for me.
posted by xingcat at 4:26 AM on April 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Just to up the grar factor, he's also a devotee of Ayn Rand.

... to me, Rand’s philosophy exalts our possibilities here on earth – that anything less than the pursuit of excellence is a crime.
posted by Trurl at 5:26 AM on April 12, 2012


He can always get a job at the Whizzo Chocolate Company.
posted by Daily Alice at 6:07 AM on April 12, 2012


Yeah Trotter is sort of a weird person to have a conversation about how people value high-end food and restaurants and "rock-star" chefs of today vs the past. He's really an outlier - from his randroid tendencies to his notorious OCD issues - you are basically stepping into a loaded conversation. Not to mention his food is kind of dated and has been for a decade. I lump him in with Alice Waters - hugely important historically but a visit to his restaurant if you know too much of the back story is going to leave you walking out saying "That's what the big deal was? WTF"

I think a more interesting discussion is contrasting the Michael Carlsons of the world - from the Paul Liebrandts of the world from the Thomas Kellers from the Euro folks. There is no place in the country I want to go to more than Schwa but there are moments when you'd like people to grow the fuck up and at least answer the phone or maybe even empty the vmail inbox.

Also a discussion of the value people place on the Front of the house and the high capital costs of buildouts at places like Per Se vs the model persued by the Schwas and Frejs of the world (high end from the start in a totally stripped down non-traditional space) vs the momofuku model (start low to finance a move to high) vs the traditional european one-star model.

No, but the new generation of chefs, this era I think Bourdain had a big hand in ushering in, well...they are rock stars. They are sexy and edgy and dysfunctional. The only thing thats changed is that people perceive them to be "sexy" - they've always been edgy and dysfunctional. I mean at some level they are very very creative people. Artists maybe, but I'm not particularly interested in engaging in a discussion of is fine dining art or craft - its too ambiguous. I mean Escoffier was canned from the Ritz for stealing booze, Vatel killed himself over a late fish delivery. These were not stable people.
posted by JPD at 6:07 AM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've only seen Charlie from a distance, but you get a distinct impression that the things that happen at Schwa would make him blanch.

Im not so sure about that

I haven't eaten at Trotter's but I have at Schwa. It was probably the best and the weirdest meal I've ever had. I remember a dessert that tasted distinctly of bongwater but was great all the same. I think Carlson is having more fun doing what he does than Mr Trotter. Carlson should be rich doing what he does but it seems like he just doesn't care about money- they barely answer the phone...seriously, try to get a reservation. He gets to make the food that he wants. If you like it, great, if you don't, to hell with you. I would imagine that Charlie Trotter doesn't have that kind of freedom.
posted by karlos at 6:13 AM on April 12, 2012


Yeah for the sake of people who don't know the story the reservation policy at Schwa is thus:

"Call and if you get our voicemail inbox you can leave us a message and we might call you back. Once our voicemail is full it probably means we're fully booked" Oh also don't be surprised if we cancel your reservation at the last minute, because we're not in this for the money and we might decide to not open up that night.

The guy is a huge talent, but unfortunately for most of us (but not for him assuming he's happy) he appears to not succeed in a more traditional environment so it'll always be tough to get in there. But if there is something wrong with fining dining in the US (And NYC especially) is too many investors looking to earn an ROI and not enough people like Carlson. Well maybe a little more stable than Carlson.

Honestly tho - just take bookings by email and only open enough days to keep the lights on if thats what you want. Just stick to those days.
posted by JPD at 6:20 AM on April 12, 2012


I've only seen Charlie from a distance, but you get a distinct impression that the things that happen at Schwa would make him blanch.

You really couldn't be more wrong about that.

That said, my one meal years ago at Trotter's was an epic disaster. Special occasion with my parents and we weren't served any food for over an hour after ordering our menus. The server finally apologized that she hadn't put our orders in (and with two menus, how hard could that be?) and the eventual food was very good, indeed. There was no effort, though, to compensate us somehow for the mishap, which I found very surprising.


posted by hoboynow at 6:34 AM on April 12, 2012


I'm not an expert on the Chicago dining scene by any stretch of the imagination, but I will say that the torta ahogada at Bayless's XOCO still haunts my dreams.
posted by shiu mai baby at 6:46 AM on April 12, 2012


So, please tell us Chicagoans where to go (other than Alinea) for a True Experience! (If I'm going to blow a few grand on a night out, it won't be at Charlie Trotter's.)

I've linked this site god know how many times now, but it really is the essential resource for eating in Chicago: LTHForum. Covers everything from taco stands to Alinea and Blackbird and the like. The Great Neighborhood Restaurants list is always a good go-to, but they don't have too many fine dining spots on there. Might look through the Best Thing You've Eaten Lately thread too. Or just start browsing.
posted by kmz at 6:49 AM on April 12, 2012


So I'm now reading Grant Achatz's Life, On the Line, and this passage bears exerpting. It's a conversation with his business partner Nick Kokonas, as they are location scouting Chicago for Alinea. It's certainly not the most flattering portrait of Kokonas, but notice that Chef Achatz isn't as tempted to rag on Trotter, despite his highly unnerving, cut-and-run experience working in Trotter's kitchen. And, more recently, one of Achatz's kids winged Trotter in the head with his backpack at the airport. Anyway, the passage:

We turned off the residential street an on to Armitage. “And there is Trotter’s, G[rant].”
I hadn’t been back since I felt, and it all felt so different from this perspective. “Well, we can’t locate around here. That would just be stupid. We can’t be so close to Trotter’s.”
“Why not? Let’s just buy out McShane’s Exchange across the street from Trotter’s and call the place ‘Fucked’ instead of Alinea.”
He was waiting to deliver the punch line so I played along. “Fucked? As in we are fucked for doing this?”
“No, Chef. Fucked as in ‘F-U-CT.” Fuck You, Charlie Trotter.” He wailed with laughter, practically drooling.
I smiled but tried not to laugh. “You won’t hear me repeating that.”
“Come on, Chef. You’ll kick his ass. He’s been here fifteen years. One of the best meals I ever had was at Trotter’s in 1994. It opened my eyes to haute cuisine. But it hasn’t changed much except to put in more tables, and that’s never a good thing. Every fifteen or twenty years a new kid comes to town and takes over. You’re that kid. Twenty years from now, some kid will kick your ass. It’s the way of the world."


It does seem Kokonas' declaration has come to pass (oldish article)...
posted by obscurator at 7:51 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I hadn't been back since I left"
posted by obscurator at 7:53 AM on April 12, 2012


What? You're the one being judgey and shitty about what people choose to spend their own money on.

No, I said this type of conspicuous consumption really grinds my gears. An opinion I am entitled to, and allowed to share. I'm not a big fan of capitalism in general. Deal with it. By all means continue to spend your money on extravagance, I really don't care.
posted by IvoShandor at 10:40 AM on April 12, 2012


So "grinding your gears" and "caring" are mutually exclusive for you, then?
posted by flaterik at 11:16 AM on April 12, 2012


So, please tell us Chicagoans where to go (other than Alinea) for a True Experience! (If I'm going to blow a few grand on a night out, it won't be at Charlie Trotter's.)

So far besides One Sister and Schwa, I really really really like El Ideas. But I've barely scratched the surface here, I feel. I hate meeting most other ex-NYCers because often they will make smug jabs at the dining scene here and a quick chat reveals that they haven't really bothered to make the effort to really explore it. Schwa is a nightmare reservations-wise. El Ideas isn't, but it's in a random warehouseish place in Pilsen and some people don't want to go there (I had trouble getting a taxi to take me there). It's really a fun good meal though. Much less wild (and less inconsistant) than Schwa, but the kitchen is open and you get to hang out with the chefs. They use very interesting local ingredients.

I am eating at Yusho next week and I'm looking forward to that. I'm also excited about Au Cheval. This review is pretty epic.
posted by melissam at 11:23 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Look, art is expensive.

Uh. But we can all agree - opulence is not a prerequisite of art. I like me my fine cuisine, but at a certain point, these things give me pause too. I don't think IvoShandor isn't saying anything that everyone hasn't thought on occasion.
posted by Tikirific at 11:58 AM on April 12, 2012


No opulence isn't a pre-req for art, but it also isn't a pre-req for fine dining.

I'd actually argue that some perceived requirement for opulence has harmed the dining culture in the US.
posted by JPD at 12:06 PM on April 12, 2012


How to be a fan of fine dining.

There, I'll recognize that it's a shitload of money for food, but I'll also enjoy it. Movin' on...
posted by basicchannel at 2:44 PM on April 12, 2012


So "grinding your gears" and "caring" are mutually exclusive for you, then?

What the fuck?

It's a phrase. I don't take this very seriously. Looks, like I'm alone in that. Do I care that any one individual spends their money on expensive food? No. Does it irritate me a bit that there is food this expensive? Yes.

Get. Over. It.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:57 PM on April 12, 2012


So, please tell us Chicagoans where to go (other than Alinea) for a True Experience! (If I'm going to blow a few grand on a night out, it won't be at Charlie Trotter's.)

Well, you can't really go wrong by starting with the Michelin stars (though I don't understand Graham Elliot's inclusion). My personal favorites are: Blackbird (an impeccable traditional menu); TRU (a creative and fun prix fixe menu that has gotten a bit overshadowed by Alinia); and Topolobampo (highest-end Mexican). I have never had a meal in any of them that I haven't raved about afterwards.

I haven't had the luck, or perseverance, to eat at either Schwa or El, but I have heard nothing but good things about their food. Ditto with Next. But from what I have heard, any one of the three they may be the best of the bunch.

I don't know why you are not adding Alinea into your search. It is the most unique place i have ever eaten and while it is arguably not worth the cost, it is worth the uptick from some of the other great Chicago places. (and you will want to get in now, before they go to the abominable "ticket" reservation system.
posted by rtimmel at 4:02 PM on April 12, 2012


y'all should read my brother's review of Next, if you didn't see it from a previous thread.
posted by ninjew at 4:37 PM on April 12, 2012


Ivo, you may want to follow your own advice. I don't think anyone is upset but you.
posted by flaterik at 4:52 PM on April 12, 2012


Idest and I ate there last year and it was hands-down the worst Michelin-starred experience I have ever had or ever hope to have. The food was average at best, and too cold, and the service was actually shocking it was so bad. Everyone in the place was unhappy. So I am thrilled that the over-rated dump is closing down.

Seriously, this meal made us angry. Furious. It was an abomination.
posted by Decani at 6:45 AM on April 13, 2012


For Europeans traveling to the US its also important to remember there is a huge star curve.
posted by JPD at 8:13 AM on April 13, 2012


Ivo, you may want to follow your own advice. I don't think anyone is upset but you.

I'm not upset, just tired of the pile on. This happens a lot when someone expresses an opinion that goes against the consensus in any given thread, not always, but often enough.
posted by IvoShandor at 5:33 PM on April 13, 2012


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