Tribune Dining, Digested: Phil Vettel Should Be A Women’s Studies Professor

• Whoa, it is totally Gender Relations Week in the world of Chicago’s newspapers — first the Sun-Times pubs this roundup of women chefs yesterday, and in today’s Trib Phil Vettel dissects various rules of dining in (and serving) co-ed groups. Inspired by a sommelier who sacrificed efficiency for chivalry, Vettel looks into the current status of a number of restaurant-dining gender dictates. Among them is our personal favorite, menus without prices, which we sincerely believe should make a comeback, thus destroying one of our all-time pet peeves: dining companions who order the second-cheapest thing on the menu.

Speaking of our own personal experience with gendered dining, last night we were at an extremely fancy dinner with Our Boyfriend, and we were served separate desserts — one for the gentleman, and one for the lady. Vettel doesn’t touch on this issue, but we don’t mind that much because our dessert completely kicked the ass of Our Boyfriend’s.

• Somehow Vettel found the time, amidst all the round-tabling and the gender-norm-dismantling, to review not one but two restaurants this week.

First up: Ajasteak, the Asian-inspired steakhouse inside the Dana hotel. Vettel balks a little at the prices for Kobe (priced by the ounce), a little less for American Wagyu, and finally tucks in on some “good old USDA prime” ribeye. He’s smitten with the pork chop, the creme brulee, and the dunkable cookies-and-milk dessert, and loves the un-steakhouse-like decor. Bonus: Vettel reveals that he is a Desperately Seeking Susan fan!

And second, way on the other side of the steakhouse spectrum, there’s Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. It’s one in a national chain of 55, but the space is nonetheless beautiful. Again Vettel goes for the ribeye (he has something in common with Ray’s mom!) (Yes that was another Achewood reference, we know), and loves it. On the downside, there’s a “drastically overcooked” lamb chop. On the upside, everything else gets a rave — except the molten chocolate cake, which gets a yawn and a grudging thumbs up, because Mister Vettel has had plenty of lava cakes in his life, thank you very much.

• OH GOD IT IS MORE VETTEL. Dude, do you ever sleep? All we do is write a freaking blog and by 3pm each day we are already basically ready to die. How do you write so much legitimate print journalism each week? (In our mind we imagine writing things for print is vastly more taxing than prose of the internet variety.) Anyhoodle, Phil counterpoints his Ladies’ Night bit (above) with a rundown of the “Man Cave” at the Brick House Tavern in Downer’s Grove. And here is the thing: We got this press release too, and we were like delete. But Phil decides to check the place out, and discovers that it is a bar with lots of TVs showing sports, an all-female staff that is scantily clad, lots of meat on the menu, and the servers will sit down and chat with you for a while. We are going to avoid creative rhetoric here and just point out that that sounds exactly like a strip club, except without the pasties.

[Image via Achewood]


Tribune Dining, Digested: Phil Vettel Should Be A Women’s Studies Professor