The kitchen at The Bristol was packed; so were the dining rooms on both floors. The reason: Thomas Keller was in the house. Chris Pandel’s informal, charcuterie and odd bits-focused place might not seem like the obvious equivalent of Keller’s French Laundry or Per Se among Chicago’s restaurants, but Keller has apparently admired the place since Grant Achatz took him there on an earlier Chicago visit, and he seemed to be having a good time watching Pandel, his staff and a few ringers like Greg Biggers (Cafe des Architectes) and Jason Vincent (Nightwood) preparing his food. Meanwhile Keller himself moved from table to table, a gentle, approachable figure who gave off nothing of the imperious great chef to guests. (In fact, early on he requested “an onslaught of food” so that he could comfortably roam the room without people worrying about whether they were missing something by talking to him.) Our man Huge Galdones was there observing it all; check out his slideshow below.