Recent Reviews

Re: “Tre Kronor

Had a desire for something different....haven't had Scandinavian food since Kungsholm closed decades ago. The herring appetizer was enough for a meal, and only $5.95. There was enough pork on the stuffed (with prune)pork for three. We enjoyed it again the next night for dinner, tender but not outstanding or unique flavor. The red cabbage was not as good as the German stuff we had several weeks ago, but OK. My partner said the fish stew was just fair...not distinctive or unique flavor. The shared dessert was probably not from Norway (melted chocolate center pastry), but quite good. There are only about 13 tables. Two charming & friendly waitresses set/cleared all the tables, served all the food, patiently described the unfamiliar dishes, minded the cash register, welcomed & sat all the patrons and played with the kids at other tables who were getting restless. We were in no hurry, but if you are picky, service, as you might expect, was a little slow. I saw only 1 1/2 people in the back, and the place was packed. It's always nice to go to a family kind of place, but the food is only fair overall.

Posted by Judith Simon on 02/07/2009 at 10:47 PM

Re: “Bandera

After many false starts through the years, I finally was able to get a table at this rather routine place on the mag mile.....it's always been a 30+ min. wait on previous attempts. There was even a 15 min. wait at 2:30 PM today. The menu is small for such a busy place, entrees between $13-28. Service was pleasant enough with reasonable wait. Peculiarly, there was cabbage everywhere...red cabbage as a side with the sausages (no bread though), cabbage in the mashed potatoes (said to be the Irish style) on the same plate, a large portion of slaw as a side with the veggie burger with a different slaw inside the sandwich. The shoestring fries were too done for me....crispy throughout. There seems no reason to hurry back. For the location, type of food & price range Cheesecake Factory/Grand Lux seem a better bet as far as variety and quantity is concerned.

Posted by Judith Simon on 02/07/2009 at 10:24 PM

Re: “Kiki's Bistro

In this era of 'high fanfare only for the new guy' this would not have been my selection. Things haven't changed at all since I was last here 2 & 4 years ago. It is even possible that the menu was exactly the same......as it has probably been forever. So, if you have nostalgia for the same French dishes you had on your first date those many years ago, this is the place. The prices are reasonable, the service good and the portions very adequate. We enjoyed the leftovers tonight for dinner.....you cannot say that in this era when all portions are 'small plate' even when the prices are for the entree. THe cassoulet had slices of cotto salami, which seemed a little stange, but the dish was tasty. The paté was kind of bland, with the pistachios providing the only discernible flavor, but plenty for two, the bucket of red cabbage was ordinary (not very acidic & no herbal tang), the duck leg was medium-well while the breast was medium rare at most. The wild rice may have been the very best ever. One other notable: the valet parking is free!!!!

Posted by Judith Simon on 01/24/2009 at 10:05 PM

Re: “Mundial Cocina Mestiza

We had been meaning to return to Mundial since our first experience about 18 months ago. At that time the prices were low, & Time Out Chicago thought the place 'needed to be saved'. Well, it clearly was saved, but not the bargain it used to be. My appetizer, the cactus in foil, was unfortunately, a small pile of over-steamed onions & mushy stuff, probably what was left of the overcooked cactus & a few tomatoes. The lamb loin with nice mole sauce was very good, as was the hamburger-size croquette, but the green vegetable was, again, overwhelmed with onions, but at least not overcooked. The few fries I tasted were excellent, as was the accompanying unique minty sauce, but I would have expected a more imaginative tomato-based sauce beyond catsup. I looked forward to the tres flans; they were OK, but none were particularly outstanding....none were very smooth, soft or eggy. I think the competition among finer Mexican restaurants has improved enormously over the last year & this place now needs to catch up if it is going to get into this price range. We got there at 6:45, just in time to hear the last few minutes of the live music, which never returned.

Posted by Judith Simon on 01/07/2009 at 9:24 AM

Re: “Urban Belly

After being hyped in every media, I am wondering what all the excitement is about. You don't have high expectations in a microstrip mall next to a laudromat, but am I the only one who wants more protein than four small strips of refabricated duck meat swimming in a quart of broth with eight paper thin slices of mushrooms and four paper-thin slices of radish? Yes, I agree that the broth was sinus clearing and very, very tasty, and it's a good thing I like cilantro, and the udon noodles were really great, but I am sure I will be hungry very soon. Likewise the four small, very tasty fried dumplings were absolutely delicious, but were they worth $2 each? It needs a bigger menu, & something to fill you up besides liquid. I would also like my entree served AFTER the appetizer, even if the entree needs no pre-serving preparation before the ladle.

Posted by Judith Simon on 12/28/2008 at 6:59 PM

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Recent Comments

Re: “La Sardine

Over the last 7 years we have probably returned about once a year either because we have never had a bad or even mediocre meal there or the menu & price agrees with our dining partners or out of town visitors. This visit was just fine and fulfills that promise. I have no idea what sweetbreads are supposed to taste like and the pleasant & otherwise wait staff was not helpful, and even this morning I am not sure how I would accurately describe anything but the texture; the light mustard sauce did not overwelm this delicate dish, but it was good...although not anything I would rush out & try to duplicate or learn how to prepare. Everyome else liked their dishes too, the wine was really nice & reasonable, the souffle was outstanding and the other desserts didn't displease anyone. The atmosphere feels just like an upscale bistro in Paris (dark woods, large mirrors, attentive staff etc.) but without the smoke. Is it an outstanding or great restaurant....no, but I have eaten a lot worse for a lot more money with half the size of portions. I would give it an 8.4.

Posted by Judith Simon on 06/01/2008 at 1:01 PM

Re: “Cafe des Architectes

DElicious corn soup could have been hotter, but great taste, nicely arranged soup, salad and two mini-desserts all on one plate, with nice selection. For lunch this is a great place because of the style of presentation and innovative choices. It came out slowly, perhaps because the plating took extra time.It was surprisingly not busy, considering season, and very quiet, especially considering that it is just off the hotel lobby. I guess because we might have been the only party of two expected, the maitre d'addressed me by name before I said who I was....impressive. A really nice special place to go for lunch; I guess we should go back for dinner next time.

Posted by Judith Simon on 12/27/2007 at 4:50 PM

Re: “Anteprima

There were a number of innovative preparations of traditional ingredients offered. Even tho it is new, the staff was knowledgable and friendly. I will definetly return to work my way through some of the other entres and appetizers, but I will wait until the weather cools, as the air conditioning is under powered. It was 92 degrees on the summer night we were there ( I think I have the right date above, sorry to be so tardy with the report). The lady at the next table complained early, but the matre d' said they were aware, but could do nothing more. About a hour lady as the room filled up, & it got warmer & warmer, the lady actually went down to the floor in a near faint and an ambulance needed to be called. The staff was as helpful as they could be, but we left for ice cream elsewhere, as we didn't want to suffer the same fate.

Posted by Judith Simon on 08/30/2007 at 8:52 AM

Re: “Tavern at the Park

At last, a choice after concerts other than the rude and callous service at Park Grill and the deafening acoustics of Gage. I had the mini-sandwiches. Flavor was excellent although the piece of tenderloin could have fit inside a thimble. Service was excellent; everyone was trying very hard to be cheerful and friendly. Let's hope it extends beyond the opening months. There was something for everyone, prices were reasonable considering the location. But most important, it was reasonably quiet, something that is becoming increasingly rare. Someone on your staff should go around town with a decibel meter and include it in the reviews along side the $ and numerical rating.

Posted by Judith Simon on 08/30/2007 at 8:40 AM

Re: “Kiki's Bistro

I had not been back to Kiki's for over 2 years. No matter....things probably haven't changed for over 20. My co-diners (who selected the place)were more enthusiastic than I am. It was the same old stuff we ate 20 years ago..a smooth but flat-tasting pate appetizer, a tender but flat-tasting duck entree accompanied by bland wild rice that was done right but needed salt, vegetables that were tender but had minimal flavor and also needed salt, and a waitress that was familiar with the menu but disappeared after the entrees were served and was no where to be seen for another beverage. Dessert looked good, but not distinuished.....peach melba and profiteroles....how imaginative... Of incidental note was the early 20th century Parisian-dressed accordian player, possibly on the scene for videotaping of an impending appearance on "Check Please". My bottom line....average, old-fashioned bland food, quiet enough for conversation, average decor, average service, average price....no need to hurry back, it will have the same menu for the Olympics.

0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Judith Simon on 08/30/2007 at 8:14 AM

Re: “The Gage

Great location for an after- Millenium Park concert. We were seated promptly, even before everyone got there from the concert. Very noisy, but not the noisest around. I totally enjoyed the mussel appetitizer (just enough heat), and my sausage entre was great, although not very innovative. The accompanying potato/cheese side dish was a welcome relief from omnipresent fries. Drinks were slow in coming, as the waiter seemedro be walking around in a daze rather than taking our order. I am a little puzzled by the limited & themeless menu selections in such a big place, with entre prices from $14-38. The bar area downstairs could easily be used as a quieter place to have a large group like ours have a conversation friendly dinner instead of being empty.

Posted by Judith Simon on 06/16/2007 at 3:53 PM

Re: “La Petite Folie

At last...a quiet, comfortable, unpretentious, clean, place for dinner before theater. Was it the most innovative preparations in the world...no, but everything was fresh tasting, with reasonably sized portions, great service, spotlessly shining glassware, fresh clean linen, informed, unrushed and polite personnel, and a nice selection of wines by the glass and crusty fresh bread. We all had the fixed priced early dinner (three courses @ $32), otherwise you would have to place the dinner in the 'very expensive' category, but this limited the selection to more of a bistro level; I cannot, therefore, speak to the higher priced entrees. The placement in a shopping center with undershirted grocery store customers & screaming children running by did reduce the approach-ambiance a little (probably not a factor if you had later reservations), but does eliminate the obscene parking fees experienced elsewhere; you do leave this all behind once you walk inside.

Posted by Judith Simon on 05/31/2007 at 9:57 AM

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