We may not do reviews at MenuPages, but our legions of users are all over that. Here are six of interest.
Sometimes, a BOMPR theme will just drop out of the sky like an aging Boeing jet plane. On September 30th, thoughtful, literate, and evidently flush user “737” left a series of reviews on some of Chicago’s top restaurants, and we’re going to share them all with you, in alphabetical order, with 737’s rating at the end of each review (food/value/service/atmosphere):
Arun’s: “My wife and I do a lot of multicourse menus and wine. This menu was unique because it allowed you to try so many different Thai dishes and that truly makes this place one of a kind. The appetizers were great as was the presentation. The main courses and deserts were ok at best. I think that the beef we were served was pot roast? The wine pairing they presented was nice, but it would help if the server knew what was poured. I had to ask him to bring the bottles out twice. The rest of the service was only ok too. I expected more from the rave I heard. The price was reasonable $135 a person for 12 course meal and six glass wine pairing. I thought that was a great value. A few small improvements would make this place great.” (4/4.5/3/3)
Avenues: “Went on my anniversary and was disappointed. The wine and service were good. The food was not. Too many flavors not making sense. For the price, I would rather have gone to Trotters.” (2/2/3.5/3.5)
Charlie Trotter’s: “Wonderful start to finish. Walk through the door and you are taken away with the aroma of fresh apples in the atrium. I went on my birthday. My wife had purchased a cook book of his and it was autographed with with a personal message. The waiter presented the menu and asked if there were other items we would like not shown on the menu. The food was incredible. Each course was sized and balanced. Trotters is one of the few places where they have dedicated a wine pairing with the menu. Depending on the menu the wine paring will change. Most places will pair a menu for you but the wine comes from a by the glass selection. His pairings can come from bottles that range into the hundred’s of dollars which allow you to sample some really great wines. After dinner our server invited us on a tour of the kitchen and the cellar. It is expensive, but the food and wine are top notch and the service is professional without being stuffy. Easily the best in Chicago and maybe the country. Watch out Chef Keller.” (5/4/4/4)
Everest: “Atmosphere - I think the dining room needs a makeover. I was expecting Tony Montana [Ed.: nice reference] to walk in given the tiger pattern carpet and brass railing all around. The view was nice…if we would have gotten a window table that I requested when I made the reservation. I think we also reduced the average age of the people in Everest. It was a much older crowd - maybe that is why I am the only review, b/c everyone else that goes there doesn’t know how to use a computer… [Ed.: zing!]
Food - We got the tasting menu and my wife asked to substitue one item that she doesn’t like. We were given a look and I thought that was strange considering they offered a regular menu with a number of choices. At a place like this if you ask them to do something, it shouldn’t be an issue, or at the very least you shouldn’t feel like it was an issue. The wine pairings were very good. The food was good, but not extrodinary. The best was desert.
I think that for the money, there are better places.” (3.5/2.5/2.5/2.5)
Moto : “Had been skeptical for a while but my wife and I decided to go to dinner, called and got a reservation for that evening. I thought that the food would be ok at best given the techniques. I WAS WRONG!!! We had so much fun. Some of the courses were silly but left you intrigued, others were awesome. This is a place that I will definitely go back to with freinds.” (4/4/4/3.5)
TRU: “My wife and I ordered the tasting menu. I loved that for the 12 courses we each were served something different. The risotto she had was the best I have ever tasted. I thought that the mirror service was a little silly but very prompt and professional. I was a little let down on the dessert, I hoping for more. The one improvement they should make is to offer a wine paring so you don’t have to think about wine. They did however allow half glasses from the wines available by the glass which was nice. I would go back.” (4.5/4/4.5/4)
By focusing on a single consistent, unaligned reviewer, we can…um…certainly get an excellent sense of 737’s priorities, and how he would rank Chicago’s top restaurants. It’s reasonable to say that 737 gives us a better picture of what each restaurant is actually like than would be the case if all six were reviewed by different reviewers. We also appreciate that he took the numbers seriously: very few restaurants deserve 5’s in any category, okay? We get tons of 5’s for crappy restaurants all the time, and it’s really disheartening that people just don’t understand the purpose of the ratings. When 737 gave a 5 to Trotter’s food, we know it really means something, because it’s his only 5 out of the twenty-four total criteria. Maybe you disagree with his assessment, of, say, Avenues, but at least you respect it. Anyway, more like this, please!
[Photo: A 737 coming in to land at Glasgow Airport, _gee_/flickr]