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Recent Reviews

Re: “Red Light

I had heard a lot of good things about this place, but after eating there, I feel that it is just so-so. The quality of ingredients was excellent, but the dishes do not justify their high prices. To be specific, my penang beef ran about $22, and while the beef and vegetables were far superior to those in my neighborhood Thai place, they weren't three-times as good, just three-times as expensive. Also, the flavor of the sauce did not equal that of the many Thai places available in every Chicago neighborhood. I think the beef used at Red Light is a little too lean to create any quality flavor. Also, the dish had barely any kick to it at all. On the other hand, my date's salmon was excellent. A little salty, a little savory, and perfectly grilled.

Posted by John Diebel on 08/12/2005 at 11:40 PM

Re: “West Town Tavern

I've only been here twice, but so far this place has a perfect batting average. If I had foreign visitors wanting a great "American" meal, this is where I would take them. They raise comfort food to a new level. The food your mother maybe made, only much, much better. I've tried the tilipia, scallops, a pork loin special, and the pot roast, and all were excellent. I eat out a lot, and in my opinion this is best restaurant in the city where a couple can eat for less than $100. My one criticism is that the room gets a little noisy when crowded, which is a result of the decor (wood floors, brick walls, tin ceiling). Due to the crowds this place draws on the weekends, definitely call ahead for a table.

Posted by John Diebel on 10/30/2004 at 8:25 AM

Re: “Chef's Station

Oh boy, is this place frustrating. It's sooooooo close to being a really good restaurant -- it has the food, but is sadly lacking in service and decor. I've been there twice, both times having the chef's tasting menu, which for the most part is terrific. I especially enjoyed the tuna tartare appetizer, and they also have excellent soups and salads. Service is just so poor, though, that I doubt I'll ever return. My date and I felt rushed, with the various courses just coming out too quickly for us to enjoy them (and we are people who eat FAST), and the wait staff is uniformly cold and snobby, and not very knowledgable about the menu or the wine list. Also, the decor does no justice to the food. The train station location should be great, but they do nothing with it. The seating is uncomfortable (cheap director's chairs that are hard to move around), the tables small and wobbly, there is an ugly drop-ceiling, there were cobwebs hanging from the light by our table, and the silverware presentation (tucked into old denim pockets) was gag-me cute. With a makeover and an attitude adjustment this could be an outstanding restaurant (it already has the food), but it just isn't there yet.

Posted by John Diebel on 08/13/2003 at 6:03 PM

Re: “Hot Doug's

Along with Superdawg, my favorite hot dog place in the city. Great sausage with a much larger variety than your typical hot dog stand, great fries, friendly service, and just steps from my office. 'Nuff said.

Posted by John Diebel on 04/18/2003 at 2:40 PM

The old Dellwood Pickle has finally been replaced with this spiffy new French bistro, and while I miss the bargain prices of the old place, La Tache is a welcome addition to the Andersonville restaurant scene. The interior has been made over very nicely, no more peeling paint, the bar/waiting area is very sharp, and the floor is finally level. Food was in general very good, but no surprises to veterans of bistro food -- steak, duck, rabbit, and a couple of fish selections. For an appetizer, my date and I shared the croque monsieur sandwich, which was delicious, and the mixed-greens salad, which was nice and fresh with a light dressing. Less successful was the French onion soup, which tasted fresh, but was a little on the sweet side, while I prefer mine to be more salty/savory. Also, the cheese was a little too mild. We both had steak, which was offered in three cuts -- tenderloin, sirloin, or flank. My date opted for the sirloin, while I had the flank, both served with a garlic anchovy butter. The steaks were excellent, and the pomme frites nice and crispy. For dessert we split a chocolate mousse that was sprinkled with a hazelnut-brittle, giving the mousse a pleasant crunch. Mostly an enjoyable experience, and I'll be back. On the downside, it seemed a bit pricey for what we got. Portions were fairly small and our bill came to about $100. I prefer smaller portions, but feel that they should be priced accordingly. Also, we were given three slices of French bread to share, a far cry from the baguette offered at many bistros. Finally, our waitress was friendly, but disappeared for extended periods of time. Thankfully, we didn't need her for anything, but if we had I would have been irritated. Service will improve, no doubt, but the cheap-with-the-bread issue needs to be remedied.

Posted by John Diebel on 03/15/2003 at 12:07 PM

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