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Recent Reviews

Re: “Chen's

Chens has been around for many years and I was primarily familiar with it for carryout. When I was told it was now probably the best looking chinese restaurant in town I had to check it out. They weren't kidding. You've just never seen a chinese restaurant like it. Very comtemporary and incredibly well done. We even made trips to the bathrooms just to have a look. The place is quite serene and minimal though the bar/sushi area is much warmer. Chens is actually a combination Chinese/Japanese restaurant with a small sushi bar. I've not tried their sushi so I can't comment on that. The selections look very typical so we opted for Chinese though you can mix and match. Our waiter was very helpful and accomidating and everything looked wonderful. The appetizer combination was really no more than your typical Egg Roll/Potsticker/Crab Rangoon platter though everything was well made. Not exciting. The menu is more interesting, particulary the specials which can be very creative and also very expensive. From the regular menu....we had one of the Sesame platters. They say it is the house special and I'd agree. Sweet but wonderful. As was the Garlic Prawns. Be careful, much on the menu is deep fried but if you want to stick with a heathly diet, many of the items are offered with low fat preparation. A nice tough you won't find at many Chinese restaurants. Overall, it was a very pleasant experience and I'd return again soon. Actually, I did but in a another way. A few nights after our visit, I had taken home a menu and tried Chen's again for carryout. I must say it was a much different experience. No one expects the quality to be the same, as the food has to travel cross-town, but things were left out, portions were much smaller and of course the presentation was non exsistant. Better to make the treck to Clark street!!!

Posted by Gary Metzner on 12/12/2000 at 11:42 PM

If you are reading this review and have not already made reservations for this weekend (whatever day you may be reading this) you are out of luck. This has become one of the hottest restaurants in Chicago. I'm spoiled having visited several times the first month and just walked right in. But dont' let that deter you. Call but give yourself plenty of time. First to get in and second to eat. Every weekend, even with reservations we have waited from 20 to 40 minutes. Better to go on a weekday. The decor is ...well...MOD. Strange, (check out the IV bags above the bar)and also Clever and Hip. It is also very noisy as well but a lot of fun. Great colors, and chairs and if you can hear your waiter above the noise, he/she will be very friendly and attentive. What is surprising, coming from such a Trendy place, is how wonderful the food is. The Entrees are terrific, many of the dishes comes with small Ramkins of old fashioned Mac and Cheese or Au Gratin Potatoes on the side. Don't miss the pork loin. Simple, even healthy (if you don't eat the side dish) yet full of flavor. But the real treat are the appetizers. From Tempura Green beans, Duck Confit with Nectarines to their Version of Ham and Eggs (with prosciuto of course), each is creative yet the flavors work. I've tried everyone and each is better than the next. Some of the best in the city. Order a few and share. If you want to watch calories (in my book,,,,just stay home) you can skip desserts. I hear they are improving but compared to the rest of the meal, they dont' quite measure up. Though after what comes before, it is a very hard act to follow.

Posted by Gary Metzner on 11/15/2000 at 6:00 PM

Re: “Cyrano's Bistrot & Wine Bar

This is a typical French Bistro.....the kind so popular now. But his one feels very real...not like a French Bistro at EPCOT. The owner Didier Durand runs the Kitchen and his wonderful wife Jamie takes care of the Front room. The look of the room is country casual yet at night takes on an elegant quality as well. If there is one gripe it is that the appetizers and entrees, though very good, lack a little creativity. But what comes out of the Kitchen is just delicious. (so who's complaining) All the traditional bistro favorites are here, from Duck a la Orange, Steak au Poivre, Coq au Vin . And dont' foget the wonderful Frites.....served vertically in a cone with homemade dipping sauces. At Lunch....the "Express" offers Starter, Salad, Entree and Dessert all on one plate. It is a tasty bargain. And I wouldn't be surprised if they don not make the best omlette in town . Many of the servers have been there since the beginning and know the menu well. They are warm and friendly as is the outdoor patio. Well,,,, not THIS time of year. you'll just have to wait until the spring!!

Posted by Gary Metzner on 11/14/2000 at 10:48 PM

Re: “Las Mananitas

A good looking neighborhood spot better known for its terrific frozen Margaritas than for its food. But for typical Mexican fare with the occasional interesting special, its just fine. Plus the people watching is first rate, either in the restaurant or out the large windows of the passers-by on North Halsted. Eveyone is welcome but a large Gay cliente.

Posted by Gary Metzner on 09/07/2000 at 12:23 PM

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