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Cotes du Rhone - coming soon

Cotes du Rhone - coming soon
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  • Cotes du Rhone - coming soon

    Post #1 - February 8th, 2007, 10:44 am
    Post #1 - February 8th, 2007, 10:44 am Post #1 - February 8th, 2007, 10:44 am
    Okay, I admit that press for upcoming restaurants does not excite me - I guess I know a little too much about how the sausage is made to get worked up by breathless accounts of what fabulous and special sausage this one new link will be.

    But this caught my attention:

    He promises bistro standards at his new, 70-seat spot, but also intricate specials such as guinea fowl stuffed with sautéed sweetbreads and wild mushrooms and wrapped in caul fat. “I am definitely stepping up and doing some unusual things. This is not a boring French bistro.”


    (from the Dish email put out by Chicago Magazine and their very affable reporters Penny Pollack and Jeff Ruby)

    A combination of organ meat and caul fat - mmmmm.

    Supposed to open tomorrow - February 9.

    Cotes du Rhone 5423 N. Broadway; 773-293-2683

    Will be BYO for now.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #2 - February 8th, 2007, 10:50 am
    Post #2 - February 8th, 2007, 10:50 am Post #2 - February 8th, 2007, 10:50 am
    Man, that really caught my eye, too. Looking forward to reports over the next couple of months.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #3 - February 11th, 2007, 5:04 pm
    Post #3 - February 11th, 2007, 5:04 pm Post #3 - February 11th, 2007, 5:04 pm
    We went on Friday, opening night. No specials for the first night, just boring bistro stuff :) It was fine, and I hope they do well. It's a bit far for us to go for bistro, since we're very close to Matou and Bouchon, but we enjoyed ourselves. It was very dark, they need to work on the lighting. But for being the first night, they did well for us. The lobster bisque was very good.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
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  • Post #4 - February 20th, 2007, 7:14 am
    Post #4 - February 20th, 2007, 7:14 am Post #4 - February 20th, 2007, 7:14 am
    We were there last night. They had several specials. The appetizers included fresh oysters and a cheese plate. Entree specials included hanger steak and skate wing.

    We had the on-the-menu sauteed calamari appetizer. It was perfectly cooked and very tasty. My wife had the special hanger steak, served sliced with mashed potatoes, spinach, and cherry tomatoes. It was served in a fairly thick reduction, looking like the sauce for a beef burgundy. The meat, however, was medium rare as ordered. I had the cassoulet. It was served in a cooking pot -- hot, rich, and full of beans and chunks of tender meat. Both dishes were perfect for a chilly Februrary evening.

    We were very satisified with the meal and wondered why it may have been as long as 8 years since we've been to Cafe Bernard. Total with tax and tip was about $52.

    The restaurant shows startup problems. There was only one server and one busboy last night. The server was friendly and very competent, but she needed help as the place was a little more than half full. I expect they'll have this ironed out soon.

    We'll be back!
  • Post #5 - March 18th, 2007, 6:16 pm
    Post #5 - March 18th, 2007, 6:16 pm Post #5 - March 18th, 2007, 6:16 pm
    We went with high expectations; we left unfulfilled. Pigmon, trixie-pea, the Lovely Dining Companion, and I visited Cotes du Rhone last night and the best thing I can say about the experience is that it’s only a 10-minute walk from our house. We might make it again, but after last night, it’s hard to work up much enthusiasm.

    As others have observed, they simply don’t have their hosting or serving acts together yet. We waited close to thirty minutes before being seated, despite arriving promptly for our 7:00 p.m. reservation. There is nowhere to wait except on the main dining floor and there were at least two fours and several other parties waiting simultaneously, making an already tight room even more so. And speaking as patrons who spent our evening sitting at one of the tables we were hanging over while waiting, it isn’t much fun to be seated in the waiting room.

    We were told at one point that the busboys had been instructed to finish clearing the table of those diners who had lingered, thus delaying us. We interpreted that as an indication that we were about to be seated. We were wrong. We waited another ten or more minutes during which time they offered to open one of our bottles so we’d have something to drink. We declined their offer because it would have simply been uncomfortable in the tight space. (There is one place to sit, large enough to hold two people. It was piled high with our coats because there was no place else to put them and it was too warm to wear them.) Both small rooms are dark, as noted previously, but it’s far from romantic unless your notion of romantic includes close-set tables and a fairly high noise level. Not so much that hearing was a regular problem, but hardly the quieter kind of place I associate with “romantic.”

    Pigmon and trixie-pea brought a lovely bottle of Champagne to get the evening rolling off to a good start and it worked wonderfully well. I will leave the details of the bottle to them (it was new to me); I will pause only to observe that it was a very enjoyable bottle and a nice way to get the evening started. Entirely lovely.

    I won’t go through the meal item by item. Instead, I will say that we generally agreed that things were remarkably uneven at best: trixie-pea’s duck pate was excellent. (Actually, in retrospect, it was the single excellent dish of the evening.) I ordered French onion soup. It’s something I rarely do because it is so often done poorly. It’s one of those hallmark dishes: so “simple” and yet so challenging to get right. Sorta like Mozart: the notes on the page aren’t so hard to play, but getting those notes to sound just right takes genius. I will order French onion soup when I have high expectations and think that they might actually be met. I trust that success will serve as a mark of the chef’s ability. I was sadly disappointed: I got beef bouillon with onions that had been seriously oversalted. In retrospect, I wish I’d returned it for the kitchen to taste. Near as I can tell, LDC’s and Pigmon’s salads were, ummm, adequate. Not an auspicious start.

    Oh, the bread. That’s another one of those hallmarks, at least in my book. Again, perfectly...adequate. Good bread isn’t hard to find, it really isn’t. Unless you’re eating at Cotes du Rhone. Maybe we should have extended the BYOB to mean “bread” as well.

    Pigmon brought a beautiful bottle of Chateauneuf de Pape for us to accompany dinner, a Cotes du Rhone to enjoy at Cotes du Rhone. The wine seemed a bit tannic at first, at least to my taste, but grew better as the evening progressed. It turned into a genuinely wonderful bottle, smooth as silk and just the right weight for the dinner. A real mouthful of flavor and most enjoyable, notwithstanding a dinner that didn’t measure up at all.

    Things weren’t helped along by our server who, though attentive and genuinely trying hard, simply wasn’t that knowledgeable. When she asked Pigmon how he wanted his braised lamb shanks cooked, we realized we were on our own. For my part, I have never been served cassoulet as it was served last night: ladled from a saucepot onto my plate. This didn’t harm the crust because...there was no crust! The cassoulet itself was...okay. It didn’t merit a whole Toulouse sausage (I got three slices) and the duck confit was, uh...not a generous portion (though trixie-pea generously shared some of her own duck confit entree). It was a thoroughly adequate dish, I’m dismayed to report. LDC’s bouillabaise was generous, but not with seafood so much as with salt. I tried a little and, frankly, I regret not sending it back. Yes, it was that salty. A shame, really, since deep down underneath all the salt seemed to be a reasonably toothsome broth.

    I’ll let trixie-pea and Pigmon speak for themselves, pausing only to note that at the end of the meal, they did not seem particularly happy with the meal. Thank god they had such wonderful company. :D

    The dessert selection was, uh...uncomplicated: three kinds of cheesecake and fudge cake. They have a cheese plate for an appetizer; would it be that difficult to arrange another one for dessert? Three kinds of cheesecake? I had brought a small bottle of Alvear Pedro Ximenez from a 1927 solera and I ended up with pecan caramel cheesecake because it was the best possible match for the sherry. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise and even matched nicely with the PX, an unctuous wine in the best sense: raisin-y, with notes of caramel and fig. Altogether a beautiful wine to finish.

    Prices were, I’m pleased to say, quite reasonable. If only we were as happy with the food as we were with the prices. We’ll probably go back because it’s so close (I wouldn’t if I had to travel). It can’t really be as bad as it seemed. Can it?
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #6 - March 18th, 2007, 6:51 pm
    Post #6 - March 18th, 2007, 6:51 pm Post #6 - March 18th, 2007, 6:51 pm
    When she asked Pigmon how he wanted his braised lamb shanks cooked, we realized we were on our own.


    Man, there's just nothing like a good medium-rare braise.

    For my part, I have never been served cassoulet as it was served last night: ladled from a saucepot onto my plate.


    Go to Hot Chocolate and you can have it again! As I said a few weeks back, reasonably tasty, but disappointing that it was clearly assembled after the fact, not cooked as a dish. I am now officially more wary of cassoulet in restaurants.
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  • Post #7 - March 19th, 2007, 6:57 pm
    Post #7 - March 19th, 2007, 6:57 pm Post #7 - March 19th, 2007, 6:57 pm
    Gypsy Boy wrote:For my part, I have never been served cassoulet as it was served last night: ladled from a saucepot onto my plate. This didn’t harm the crust because...there was no crust! The cassoulet itself was...okay. It didn’t merit a whole Toulouse sausage (I got three slices) and the duck confit was, uh...not a generous portion (though trixie-pea generously shared some of her own duck confit entree). It was a thoroughly adequate dish, I’m dismayed to report.


    Yes, when we were there it was the same. When they tried to ladle it onto our plates, we said "oh no! we'll eat it out of the crock."

    I'm not at all sure it was Toulouse sausage, tasted more like Jennie-O/Turkey Store Italian Sausage to me.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #8 - May 16th, 2007, 3:27 pm
    Post #8 - May 16th, 2007, 3:27 pm Post #8 - May 16th, 2007, 3:27 pm
    We went to Cotes du Rhone. The owner/chef came out and spoke with us for a long while, (it was the end of the evening) and he was very friendly. By and large the meal was good. The mussels were quite excellent (for what we get on this side of the Atlantic.) My vegetarian plate of sides was copious to a fault. The mashed potatoes were good. The onion soup was mediocre. We had a very nice evening and will go back. There are some uneven things and some things are just ok, but they are trying so hard to please and some of the things were really good so we'd like to try to support them. Besides, we're always looking for BYOB!
  • Post #9 - July 12th, 2007, 10:00 am
    Post #9 - July 12th, 2007, 10:00 am Post #9 - July 12th, 2007, 10:00 am
    LTH,

    The better half and I took the plunge into anticipated murky waters at Cotes de Rhone this week for dinner. We went in with eyes wide open as most reviews, on this site and others, tended to be lukewarm with some other reviews downright negative and even fewer takes bearing a stamp of approval. None the less, we feel Chicagoland has some very fine French bistros scattered throughout the City and beyond and we’re always up for expanding our horizons within this culinary ilk.

    With guarded enthusiasm, we entered CDR after finding metered parking along Broadway about a block down from the restaurant. CDR is divided into two sparsely decorated rooms. Of the around 20 tables CDR boasts the southern-most room contains about 14 of them – you enter through the northern room directly into the seating area pretty much.

    It appeared to us, and later was confirmed by our server, that 3 groups had entered within 2 or 3 minutes right before us. Although, we only waited about 2 minutes before we were seated.

    The décor in the smaller entry dining room is basic – faux tile squares adorn the walls and a few of them have even fallen off. I actually think it might look better if they intentionally went around and semi-randomly yanked more of these faux gray tiles off the wall – would give the place a more hole-in-the-wall Parisian feel. The second, bigger dining room contains a rustic, brown and exposed Victorian ceiling with about three brown ceiling fans with mini-chandeliers. The walls are painted brown as well with nondescript artwork at intervals along the walls. Simple white tablecloths are placed over the tables here with a nice basic candle on each table.

    I must make one comment before continuing this culinary review and that is to point out that I have read many a review on CDR just crucifying the décor – or lack there of. I must confess I find this a bit amusing considering the fact that should CDR, and its exact décor, have been located on some nondescript rue off the Champs-Élysées in Paris instead of on a rundown main thoroughfare in the heart of an emerging Chicago neighborhood the same reviewers might have found CDR’s décor charming, refreshing, authentic, lovingly rustic, truly Parisian, etc. But, I digress…

    We sat on a two-top table nearest the window along the side wall in the main dining room. I must say, the floor was so uneven against the wall that I felt as if we were in a fight scene in one of those old Batman TV shows – where many of the villains’ hideouts had severely-angled floors. With Batman music running through my head the cork from the wine bottle took less than two seconds to roll from one side of the table to the other, POW! BAM! WHOP!. But, I digress once more…

    Bread and water were brought out almost immediately. The bread was warm and alright, not great, not bad but I find that most French Bistros we visit have very good bread – it would be the worst “dish” we had all night, bar none. The place was about half full when we entered and a bit on the warm side which was corrected somewhat when halfway through our meal the house lights were dimmed – should have done this sooner.

    The server came over after about 10 minutes and profusely apologized for the wait noting as mentioned above that several groups came in at the same time – understandable. As the server uncorked our 2003 "R" Primitivo Zinfandel from Nostro Vino Vineyard in Amador County, California, he deliberately took us on a tour of his favorites for each course through the entrées and noted a few specials. We selected the following…

    Escargot with garlic butter
    I love escargot and almost always order it as an appetizer if offered at a French bistro. The escargot was perfectly cooked, smothered in butter and just melted in my mouth. Really good. Probably an ever so barely noticeable partial notch right behind Le Bouchon’s version for best-in-the-City that I’ve tasted. An inspiring beginning.

    Steamed Prince Edward Island Mussels with shallots, white wine and garlic cream
    The server really pushed this dish hard as his favorite – I was already leaning in this direction so not much help was needed to secure an order. It’d been quite some time since I had a memorable portion of steamed mussels in white wine sauce. Unlike many here, though I love Hopleaf, I do not like either version of their mussels at all – the sauce is utterly lacking any body. Not so with CDR’s version…WOW! Very fresh-tasting, nice portioned mussels with no hollow shells at all. The sauce was simply sublime with a denser, full-bodied texture than other dishes of the same ilk. Really very flavorful. Probably just barely into the Excellent category. I wondered out loud, could this be the CDR of which I heard so many thrashing reviews??

    French Onion Soup
    No dish had been so roundly assailed on the various forums as the FOS…I apprised my GF of same and urged her not to order this offering. Sorry Honey, but in the interests of transparency, my GF is a FOS whore. That’s right, a whore. If we went to Billy Bob’s BBQ in SW Texas and they offered FOS, she would try one before anything else on the menu. Against my counsel, GF ordered one up. It was a medium-small cauldron with perfectly browned Mozzarella (I think)? Swiss? Provolone? cheese on top with the right amount of bread/onions in the body of the soup. Very tasty and not too salty as seemed to be the complaint of most critics before. I liked it very much and I don’t really go for the FOS. The GF really liked it.

    Spinach and Portobello Mushroom Salad with Lardons and Balsamic Vinaigrette
    I love a Lyonnaise Salad…this was a cousin of that type of salad. No raw egg or traditional lardons here. Very fresh spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, pulled-pork type lardons and a wonderful vinaigrette. A very nice accompaniment to our other appetizers. Well done, simple salad which the server offered to split for us.

    South African Sea Bass
    This dish was very good. It came with a garlic potato puree, grilled asparagus and lemon and white truffle oil. The fish was perfectly cooked. Extremely succulent and moist. Just melted in my mouth. The potato puree upon which the sea bass sat was exemplary and really added to the flavor of the entrée. The asparagus was thin and also perfectly cooked. The truffle oils perfectly enhanced the overall flavor of the dish. One of the best fish dishes in recent memory. Really their signature dish from what the server implied. A must have.

    Pork Tenderloin
    The GF ordered the pork which I hardly ever order as I find pork boring and relatively lacking in flavor that a seafood, steak or even chicken entrée might offer. The pork was pan roasted with sun dried cherry sauce, roasted root veggies and garlic mashed potatoes. This was one of the most flavorful (non-BBQ) pork entrees I have had in years. The pan roasted pork with the roasted carrots, potatoes and sun dried cherries created an orgy of flavors for the palate. A wild, dangerous Caligula-type orgy. I really could not believe how many different flavors, and most notably the combined flavors, that this dish offered. A real surprise for me.

    Flourless (I believe) Chocolate Mousse Chocolate Cake
    One of the best desserts I have ever had. I don’t know what else to say, really. Dense, double chocolate, mousse-cake heaven with caramel dipping sauce surrounding the plate offset by slices of kiwi. A 3500 calorie dream.

    To give LTH an idea of where my tastes lie to better aide my review, I have listed below a ranking of all French Bistros I can remember dining at in Chicagoland:

    Top Tier:
    Le Bouchon
    La Sardine
    Marche
    Cotes de Rhone
    Boinsoree (maybe not a bistro?)
    Cafe Bernard
    Stained Glass Wine Bar Bistro (Evanston)

    1st Tier:
    Bistro Campagne

    2nd Tier:
    Kiki's Bistro
    Cafe Pyrenees (closed I think - Vernon Hills)

    3rd Tier:
    Red Rooster (such a big difference bt. this and Bernard despite same kitchen)
    La Tache

    Back to Cotes de Rhone review...

    Four appetizers (incl. soup and salad); Two entrées; One dessert; One coffee with tax and tip = $94. CDR is BYOB with no corkage fee.

    Simply one the best meals from start to finish I’ve had in a long, long time. There was a little wait between the appetizers and entrées but nothing egregious and the place was very busy toward the end of the night. Very knowledgeable server.

    Maybe this sums up my experience best, the GF and I have a couple coming into the City in a few weeks who share our love of food. We made reservations on the way out – I can’t remember ever doing that before - anywhere.


    Bster

    Cotes de Rhone
    5424 Broadway Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60640
    773.293.2683
  • Post #10 - July 16th, 2007, 1:58 pm
    Post #10 - July 16th, 2007, 1:58 pm Post #10 - July 16th, 2007, 1:58 pm
    Apologies for the gratuitous "bump"...just wondering if anyone has dined at CDR during the past week and could post a review? Or maybe some might go this week and file a quick write up please?

    I'm heading back this weekend and was wondering if there might be any dish recs not mentioned above or any heads-up on offerings to stay away from at all costs?

    Thanks

    Bster
  • Post #11 - July 16th, 2007, 2:26 pm
    Post #11 - July 16th, 2007, 2:26 pm Post #11 - July 16th, 2007, 2:26 pm
    They just went like 4 days ago, that is pretty recent! (the previous post, is what I am referring to).

    I've dined there twice. It's good. I've had both the salmon and the sea bass and can definitely recommend both.

    FYI the only issue I've had was when asking the waitress what a certain vegetable was, she promised she'd ask the chef and find out but after being reminded once, she never got back to me. I eventually stopped asking.

    This place is good for what it is, I wish they had more options on the menu and changed it up more often, but I think it is decent food.
  • Post #12 - July 17th, 2007, 4:29 pm
    Post #12 - July 17th, 2007, 4:29 pm Post #12 - July 17th, 2007, 4:29 pm
    I am going back... possibly tonight. The thought of mussels has invaded my brain pan, at least the section the directs me to eating establishments. I agree with Bstr, in that I thought the mussel preparation was even better than Hop Leaf...although I love the frites with aioli. Eating mussels with a nice white or wheat BYOB is hard to pass up when it is a few blocks away.

    I never wrote about my experiences at CDR, I dismissed most of my concerns as poor front of house management. Which is not to say it should be disregarded as it can surely ruin a restaurant as easily as the back. I just find it hard to believe that this place jumped into the tier with Le Bouchon in that short of time.... please stay tuned.
    Unchain your lunch money!
  • Post #13 - August 14th, 2007, 12:04 pm
    Post #13 - August 14th, 2007, 12:04 pm Post #13 - August 14th, 2007, 12:04 pm
    So my GF and I went here last night for the first time. It was recommended by a fellow waiter I work with, and of course seeing the posts here didn't hinder our enthusiasm.

    So as a restaurant server, I tend to notice certain things that non-industry people might overlook...yes, I'm a bit more critical, but also a bit more forgiving too. The dining room had about 5-6 tables occupied at 8pm and we were sat in the center of the banquette in the main room. My GF said the feng shui wasn't right there so we hopped one table over...we were given bread & butter almost immediately but waited almost 10 min (well it seemed that long anyway) for water. We brought a chard & pinot noir and one server whisked these away to open in the waitstation (a no-no in the biz, but it was her 1st night working so I will forgive). Our waiter (there were only 2) promptly brought back the PN and poured us each a glass, then the other server brought the chard back and he apologized for not pouring that first...whatever, no biggie.

    He proceeded to give us a "menu tour" with history of the chef, his personal favs on the menu, and specials.

    We chose these:
    mussels - outstanding! a great buttery sauce that we scooped up like soup after the mussels were gone...

    duck liver pate - also delish. served with crusty baguette slices, cornichons, dijon mustard and some greens/tomatoes.

    spinach/porto/lardon salad - not as happy about this one. way overdressed on the balsamic vinaigrette. the lardons were definitely more of a pulled pork/carnitas type of thing...

    hanger steak au poivre & cassoulet - both were absolutely delish! the steak was cooked perfect MR with tasty mashers. The cassoulet was served in the pot and dished out by our waiter...great textures and flavors with the meat, beans and breadcrumbs combining wonderfully.

    We skipped dessert since we wanted to go to Margie's for a sundae so can't comment on that menu.

    Even though the service was uneven, we would definitely return to try other items on the menu...maybe when the cold weather returns!
    - Mark

    Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Ham? Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
  • Post #14 - August 20th, 2007, 4:42 pm
    Post #14 - August 20th, 2007, 4:42 pm Post #14 - August 20th, 2007, 4:42 pm
    LTH,

    A mere perusal of this topic's posts reveals my great enthusiasm for this relatively new French Bistro in the Uptown neighborhood. However, the GF and I had a rather unpleasant experience the other night at CDR which went far enough to wash out, and exceed, three wonderful prior visits.

    We were two for dinner around 7 p.m. on Friday night. There were only 3 or 4 of the other tables full. A new hostess was working and we were seated immediately, as usual. Our server, whose name I know but have decided to leave out of this post stopped by within 2 minutes or so and whisked our chilled Chandon champagne off to the refrigerator for further chilling. The server promptly opened our Ravenswood Zinfandel 2004 - a great value wine. Ravenswood makes really good, affordable Zins.

    Despite asking twice, bread took, literally, just under 30 minutes to arrive at the table. Should never have to ask for bread. But everybody makes mistakes sometimes. No biggie in and of itself. I certainly don't need the calories.

    We promptly ordered our appetizers and were brought out the mussels in white wine sauce first. As wonderful as ever. See my up-post for more info. Really good. Still King of the City for this type of dish in my book.

    Our next course was the ridiculously consistent French onion soup for her and the Escargot for me.

    The FOS was very good. Perfect charred cheese, browned but not burnt. Great texture and tasting onions and bread. We've ordered this dish all 4 times we've been at CDR and it's been excellent every time.

    The Escargot tasted old. Like it'd been in the grab box for a few weeks.

    Entrees were a meagerly-portioned rack of lamb for $27 - OUCH! But cooked perfectly with some wonderful mashers and succotash.

    The GF has a special which was a rather pedestrian N.Y. strip with a blue cheese, brown gravy which was not that great.

    As we were midway through our appetizers, we finished our Zin and asked the server for our Chandon champagne. 5 tables full in the restaurant, not busy at all. 5 minutes later we asked the busboy - who spoke perfect English by the way - for our Chandon. 10 minutes later we asked the busboy again - still no Chandon. We asked the server after another 5-10 minutes and nothing. We then noticed a four top table next to ours that were drinking a champagne which appeared to be Chandon (our Chandon???) but we were not certain. We asked the busboy - FOR THE THIRD F*CKING TIME - for our champagne.

    After what felt like an eternity having gone without libation for over 30 minutes our server stopped by once more asking how everything was with no mention of where the hell our wine was. Now, by this time I have to think our server knew what was going on for at least 20 minutes or, perhaps longer, and never stopped by once with 5 tables filled for most of the time. Toward the end of this debacle there were about 7 tables full, still not many people here.

    It takes my GF and I a lot to get really angry, CDR achieved this level of disappointment with us this night. In response to the server's faux interest in how we were doing I told him not so well. Now, the server had been our server 2 of the 3 previous times at CDR and knew us as regulars. I mentioned that we had been waiting, at this point, 30-40 minutes for our champagne. He sort of uncomfortably laughed and mentioned that he had mistakenly given our bottle await to another table and that he'd take an entree of the bill.

    Now, my entree, which was taken off the bill was about $27 and the champagne was only $18 or so. Thus, fairness-wise the deduction was certainly reasonable. Although, given CDR's gross inattention to our table all night coupled with the length of time it took to confront this issue made the deduction unacceptable.

    Clearly, the server and busboy knew of the snafu at least 20 or more minutes before the server finally made the server's way over to our table. And then when finally there, the server made no mention of the issue of giving away our bottle. When pormpted and asked why it took sooooo long, the server said he was discussing the issue with the chef. For 30 minutes? Bull*hit.

    Now look, shit happens. CDR is BYOB with no corkage fee and diners make aggressive use of this policy. It is completely understandable that a mix-up could happen and bottles confused or accidentally given to the wrong table. In fact, the GF and I would have probably even been amused by the fact our wine was given away had the whole episode not taken so, oh so long.

    Reading this post, one might not think it a big deal, but you really had to be there I guess. The server, chef, etc. should have come out immediately or at least after the 2nd or 3rd time we asked for our wine when they realized what had happened and dealt with the issue head-on. Would have been no big deal at all. Like I said, we probably would have laughed it off.

    The time it took to resolve this issue and the gross inattention by the service staff to the issue and the whole meal in general went far beyond any regular "bad" night that all our favorite places suffer from time to time.

    I won't say never again, but with all the great French Bistros in the City if we ever go back it won't be for at least a year or two - if CDR makes it that long. With 30% capacity at peek hours on a Friday night, CDR may no be around very long.

    What a shame losing two good customers over something so ridiculous as a mixed up bottle of wine.

    Bster
    Last edited by Bster on August 20th, 2007, 6:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #15 - August 20th, 2007, 5:22 pm
    Post #15 - August 20th, 2007, 5:22 pm Post #15 - August 20th, 2007, 5:22 pm
    I want to know who the hosers were who gladly took your wine and drank it.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #16 - August 20th, 2007, 6:26 pm
    Post #16 - August 20th, 2007, 6:26 pm Post #16 - August 20th, 2007, 6:26 pm
    I want to know who the hosers were who gladly took your wine and drank it.


    Interestingly, that is a story in and of itself which I left out due to the excessive length the post would have been.

    Here's the short version:

    When the GF and I noticed the adjacent table consuming what we highly suspected was our champagne we discussed several possibilities -

    1. The table just brought in the exact same bottle of champagne. Unlikely but not extremely so.;

    2. CDR mistakenly gave them our champagne, the table knew it to be a mistake but very dishonorably said nothing and then proceeded to imbibe our bottle;

    3. CDR intentionally gave the table our bottle, knowing it was ours. This didn't happen and I never thought this for a second. If it did, I'd be in prison and a few people would be dead, or wish they were; or

    4. CDR mistakenly gave the table our bottle and the table being very frequent patrons of CDR thought the champagne was a gift from the owner/chef.

    #4 is what actually happened. Being close enough to our table to hear our conversation with the server, the host of the 4-top that got our champagne came over and profusely apologized - though it was in no way their fault. He mentioned that the table comes to CDR several times each months and they thought our bottle was a gift from the chef. I completely believed him and my BS-O-METER is very good, as is my GF's. It didn't even budge when the host of the other table was telling me what happened.

    Longer story even shorter - we both happened to be wine enthusiasts and discussed same for several minutes. They even gave us a very nice bottle of 1999 Raymond Cab - which was not an even trade for our Chandon as the Raymond was not only pricier but getting increasingly rarer. What a kind gesture - we had the bottle the next night.

    As an aside, the server didn't even have the guts to give us our bill or ring it up - that task was assigned to the new hostess.

    Bster
  • Post #17 - August 21st, 2007, 8:25 am
    Post #17 - August 21st, 2007, 8:25 am Post #17 - August 21st, 2007, 8:25 am
    You managed to turn a non-vintage bottle of mediocre sparkling wine into a very nice 8 year old Cabernet and a rack of lamb. Sounds like a modern day miracle to me :wink: .

    Something similar happened to a friend of mine, but from the other side. He was entertaining a business client at an upper tier restaurant. The host seated them at a table that had a half full bottle of wine in an ice bucket sitting on it. At first they were a little confused. After they sat there for a while, and nobody removed the bucket, they decided it must have been a left over from some earlier customers. They proceeded to drink the wine (not the classiest move, but I probably would have done the same).

    It turned out to be a bottle that belonged to a nearby table. Some waiter had left the bucket on an empty table to get it out of the way, and the host had (somehow) not noticed it when they were seated. My friend was so embarrassed, he immediately offered to buy the rightful owners another bottle. It was not until he got the bill, that he found out his gallant gesture cost nearly $180. Not wanting to embarrass his guest further, he bit his tongue and paid for it. He still talks about how he once paid $90 apiece for 2 glasses of wine. At least he got a good story out of it.
  • Post #18 - August 21st, 2007, 12:05 pm
    Post #18 - August 21st, 2007, 12:05 pm Post #18 - August 21st, 2007, 12:05 pm
    I have been in similar situations twice - at Cafe le Coq (Oak Park) they brought us a $126 bottle when we had ordered a $33, and we didn't catch it or want to argue since it was awe-inspiring wine and Valentine's Day.

    At Gibson's downtown, we were celebrating the return of a friend who had been in the field (anthropologist) in Papua New Guinea for two years and hadn't had a sip of wine in that interval. Our party was 12 people, and he was sitting at the other end of the long table in the very loud room. He picked a wine for the five of us (two at his end and three at ours) that were drinking. Many ounces of porterhouse later, he asked us over the din if we wanted to share a second bottle. We nodded yes.

    When the bill came, it was $1080 before tax and service - about $40 per person for food, and then TWO THREE HUNDRED DOLLAR BOTTLES OF RED WINE.

    That's $60 per glass for the five of us drinking.

    Fortunately, the anthropologist recognized that he had never mentioned the pricepoint and that the room was very loud, and said he had planned to pay for the first bottle anyway as a treat to himself after two years of betel nuts, yams, and fish heads. A second friend who was a consultant (this being the last days of the dot com boom) offered to pay for the second bottle, but we said we had at least expected to pay $20 a glass, so we contributed and got off fairly easily.

    Caveat bibitor.

    Edit: before leading this thread further astray with wine nightmares, here's a place to emote. Drink 'em if you got 'em.

    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=14925
  • Post #19 - April 20th, 2008, 9:04 pm
    Post #19 - April 20th, 2008, 9:04 pm Post #19 - April 20th, 2008, 9:04 pm
    I had my first visit to Cotes du Rhone this weekend. In a city with places like Le Bouchon, Cafe Matou, and yes, even Red Rooster, I don't think I'll feel a need to go back to Cotes du Rhone again.

    It wasn't terrible. It was meh.

    I do appreciate the continuing BYOB policy with no corkage fee. But that doesn't trump service and food issues.

    Upon arrival, my friend and I were told it'd be a 15 - 20 minute wait for a table ... which would have been okay, but there didn't appear to be any comfortable place to wait. As we were discussing whether or not to wait, the greeter came back and said she could seat us at a table, but it was near the music group that was performing. Since it seemed to be a smooth jazz group without excessive volume, we said that was fine. And it was. It was just curious that the table wasn't offered in the first place.

    I started with mussels. I know others upthread have raved over Cotes du Rhone mussels - and the waiter was pushing them. I'm a big fan of the mussels at Hopleaf. In this case, the mussels themselves were good, only a few empty shells, but the sauce they were steamed in was, while flavorful, loaded with fat and cream ... way too rich to spend much time sopping up with, with the adequate, warm bread. I prefer the slightly more spare sauces at Hopleaf.

    The biggest disappointment was the Duck Confit. I expect a confit to be a very tender, flavor-infused, almost falling-off-the-bone piece of meat. The CDR version, while having nicely crisp skin, seemed more like a roast leg of duck. If there was any of the confit process involved, I couldn't detect it. Maybe that's just me, but my friend agreed.

    So, no really major food or service issues,but with so many other great bistro options in town, why go to CDR? There must be something I'm missing, because the place was packed.
  • Post #20 - July 24th, 2010, 9:05 am
    Post #20 - July 24th, 2010, 9:05 am Post #20 - July 24th, 2010, 9:05 am
    We had a horrible experience at Cotes du Rhone last night. I was there with my wife and 9 other folks for a wine dinner consisting of all Rhone wines (which were all excellent, BTW). The place was hot and uncomfortable. The appetizers were good (pate, foie gras, french onion soup), but then it took the kitchen over 90 minutes to produce our main courses. When they did arrive, everyone who ordered lamb (rare and medium rare) got served meat that was medium well to fully well done. That's unacceptable for a place that had no more than 30 people in it, including the 11 of us. The restaurant comp'ed the dishes for the two people that complained, but the others that had lamb were just too exasperated to deal with it. My wife's hanger steak was cooked perfectly medium rare however. Those that had the duck confit reported that it was average at best.

    There are far too may good BYOB restaurants in Chicago to give any more time or attention to Cotes du Rhone.
    John Danza
  • Post #21 - July 21st, 2011, 2:16 pm
    Post #21 - July 21st, 2011, 2:16 pm Post #21 - July 21st, 2011, 2:16 pm
    This place never has gotten much traction, particularly for a byob French bistro. In the past, its only truly consistent features have been its slow service and empty tables. Anyway, undergoing revamping (probably long overdue). Perhaps they'll take a look at Burke's across the street and pick up some helpful tips. Scheduled to reopen 9/1:

    http://www.cotesdurhonechicago.com/
    "The fork with two prongs is in use in northern Europe. In England, they’re armed with a steel trident, a fork with three prongs. In France we have a fork with four prongs; it’s the height of civilization." Eugene Briffault (1846)
  • Post #22 - July 21st, 2011, 3:44 pm
    Post #22 - July 21st, 2011, 3:44 pm Post #22 - July 21st, 2011, 3:44 pm
    Here's a quote from their website:

    We plan on revamping our menu and offering you small plates with the same level of flavor and selection that you have enjoyed with us over past 5 years, with more epicurian delights to enjoy, such as one of our favorites: duck fat pommes frites.


    So does this mean the same crappy food, just smaller quantities? They would be more likely to entice me if they said "we're revamping our menu so that the food will now be prepared well and taste good."

    Also, adding duck fat pommes frites puts them about 5 years behind everyone else. Not exactly cutting edge.
    John Danza
  • Post #23 - July 21st, 2011, 4:06 pm
    Post #23 - July 21st, 2011, 4:06 pm Post #23 - July 21st, 2011, 4:06 pm
    "Duck fat pommes frites" just sounds bad. Go all in or go home.
  • Post #24 - August 3rd, 2011, 2:25 pm
    Post #24 - August 3rd, 2011, 2:25 pm Post #24 - August 3rd, 2011, 2:25 pm
    According to the owner Brian Moulton, as reported in today's DISH, the problem is the location. Yeah, it couldn't possibly be the crappy service or the poorly prepared food. :twisted:

    If you’ve walked down Broadway in Edgewater recently, you may have noticed that the French bistro Côtes du Rhône was closed for the summer. If you haven’t walked by there recently, Côtes du Rhône’s owner, Brian Moulton, would say that’s part of the problem. “The location is not really conducive to what I’m doing,” he says. Moulton now plans not to reopen there but to move to Xippo (3759 N. Damen Ave.; 773-529-9135) and create a small-plate French menu
    John Danza
  • Post #25 - August 3rd, 2011, 2:30 pm
    Post #25 - August 3rd, 2011, 2:30 pm Post #25 - August 3rd, 2011, 2:30 pm
    John, to paraphrase what you wrote a few posts up, small plates isn't exactly cutting edge.
  • Post #26 - August 3rd, 2011, 9:46 pm
    Post #26 - August 3rd, 2011, 9:46 pm Post #26 - August 3rd, 2011, 9:46 pm
    According to the owner Brian Moulton, as reported in today's DISH, the problem is the location.


    +La Fonda
    +Mei Shung
    +(? but looking good) Burke's

    -Sabai-Dee
    -Adria Mare
    -Pepitone's
    "The fork with two prongs is in use in northern Europe. In England, they’re armed with a steel trident, a fork with three prongs. In France we have a fork with four prongs; it’s the height of civilization." Eugene Briffault (1846)
  • Post #27 - August 4th, 2011, 6:16 am
    Post #27 - August 4th, 2011, 6:16 am Post #27 - August 4th, 2011, 6:16 am
    Unless I'm missing something, didn't the owners of the restaurant choose the location themselves? Hello? Did someone hold a gun to their heads and say, "this is where you're gonna open your restaurant"? This pushes sour grapes to a new level.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #28 - August 4th, 2011, 8:01 am
    Post #28 - August 4th, 2011, 8:01 am Post #28 - August 4th, 2011, 8:01 am
    jbw wrote:
    According to the owner Brian Moulton, as reported in today's DISH, the problem is the location.


    +La Fonda
    +Mei Shung
    +(? but looking good) Burke's

    -Sabai-Dee
    -Adria Mare
    -Pepitone's


    The last three are closed. New to the neighborhood and just up the block from Cotes Du Rhone is Jin Thai, which has been packed every time I've gone by. Pasteur will be reopening on Broadway as well. Yeah, it's the location...
    -Mary
  • Post #29 - August 4th, 2011, 8:09 am
    Post #29 - August 4th, 2011, 8:09 am Post #29 - August 4th, 2011, 8:09 am
    The GP wrote:
    jbw wrote:
    According to the owner Brian Moulton, as reported in today's DISH, the problem is the location.


    +La Fonda
    +Mei Shung
    +(? but looking good) Burke's

    -Sabai-Dee
    -Adria Mare
    -Pepitone's


    The last three are closed. New to the neighborhood and just up the block from Cotes Du Rhone is Jin Thai, which has been packed every time I've gone by. Pasteur will be reopening on Broadway as well. Yeah, it's the location...


    I do think the stretch of Broadway being discussed is a bit more of a challenge than some locations, the street is wide and busy, foot traffic isn't all that high and it's broken up by numerous unattractive strip malls. Some streetscaping would go a long way. All that said, Cotes Du Rhone was a bad restaurant and failed because it was a bad restaurant, bad restaurants can survive in some places, this isn't one of them.

    Thanks for the reminder on Jin Thai, I'll have to check it out.
  • Post #30 - August 4th, 2011, 8:11 am
    Post #30 - August 4th, 2011, 8:11 am Post #30 - August 4th, 2011, 8:11 am
    To be fair, he said the location wasn't conducive to what he's doing. Sure, no location is conducive to serving bad food with poor service. But I think what he was trying to say is that food style didn't match the neighborhood, not that a restaurant couldn't survive in that neighborhood. My guess is that he misreading the tea leaves here.

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