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#61
Posted January 15th 2013, 5:43pm
It's already a bugaboo of mine that Next gets reviewed three times a year by most local publications based on a single meal per menu. But I think it would be overkill to the point of absurdity (though further beneficial to the hype machine!) if every critic was made to go to Next twice per menu, several weeks apart (to note the inevitable improvement in food and service, ha ha), filing an initial review and then one final, comprehensive review a week before the menu changed. :wink: Then it can all be bundled together as a big supplementary magazine insert to publish in Time Out or the Reader or whatever! 8)

Honestly, I have a hard enough time figuring out how some of you do it (though the guy in the aforementioned review who spends $10K a month dining out is one answer), but I'm not sure which publication would shell out for a critic to dine at each of Elizabeth's menus twice before filing a review.
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#62
Posted January 18th 2013, 12:41am
Tribune came to each menu. We've been reviewed by just about every source in the city and all have been positive but for Time Out, which I was not surprised by as they've ignored my previous business for two years. At this point it all comes down to personal taste for what you like or don't. What you want for your environment, etc. It's very subjective. Not one experience will ever be the same. The best way to decide is to come. But in this last review he is right, you will not pay for a name. You will pay for interesting and rare ingredients, time, environmemt and creativity. We've hammered out most faults, those things that made us stumble in the very beginning as a new team. When Ronnie came in we were only 9 services old and down a team member. I guarantee he will be satisfied next time. There are three menus, all complex, all satisfying. We do this so the guest can have the choice in price and length of dining time. You can eat at Elizabeth for a steal and you can also eat at Elizabeth and spend a pay check. But there are choices and we like to give that to guests. I like three menus because many of my friends can afford to eat my food by dining the owl. I like it because I can make all those things that rush through my brain and inspire me come to fruition.
Re: Review...I did feel bad for the guests who in my opinion were/are lovely. Most of the people I have encountered as guests at Elizabeth are fantastic and I continue to make new friends and friends are made there and that is better than I could have imagined.
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#63
Posted January 18th 2013, 8:19am
http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/February-2013/Review-Elizabeth-Restaurant/

not sure if they will keep it up, but interesting comment posted yesterday in response to Jeff Ruby's review and critiques of his fellow diners by someone who (allegedly) was at the table with him...

I know this get off topic a little, but there are always two sides to the story
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#64
Posted January 18th 2013, 8:52am
rubbbqco wrote:http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/February-2013/Review-Elizabeth-Restaurant/

not sure if they will keep it up, but interesting comment posted yesterday in response to Jeff Ruby's review and critiques of his fellow diners by someone who (allegedly) was at the table with him...

I know this get off topic a little, but there are always two sides to the story
Bottom half of the internet comment from an anonymous poster. How persuasive.
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#65
Posted January 18th 2013, 8:57am
Canon EOS pictures or it didn't happen!

:P
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#66
Posted January 18th 2013, 10:19am
ilianaregan wrote:There are three menus, all complex, all satisfying. We do this so the guest can have the choice in price and length of dining time. You can eat at Elizabeth for a steal and you can also eat at Elizabeth and spend a pay check. But there are choices and we like to give that to guests. I like three menus because many of my friends can afford to eat my food by dining the owl. I like it because I can make all those things that rush through my brain and inspire me come to fruition.
As a diner, I really like this too - I came to the Owl menu in the first week or two that Elizabeth opened and loved it. I'd love to come back and try the others, but it was a great way to experience Iliana's cooking without spending a fortune (I had just quit my job, so it fit well within my 0 income budget!) I wish I could try ever super high-end tasting menu in town, but that's just not in the cards for me right now.
ilianaregan wrote:Re: Review...I did feel bad for the guests who in my opinion were/are lovely. Most of the people I have encountered as guests at Elizabeth are fantastic and I continue to make new friends and friends are made there and that is better than I could have imagined.
I happen to be a fan of communal dining, so I know that biases me, but the people at my table were fantastic. I was there for a date - where some might prefer just a two-top - but my date and I both had a great time with our tablemates, and were able to focus on just each other when we wanted to.

Thanks for posting your thoughts here, Iliana. I look forward to checking out the other menus at Elizabeth sometime soon.

-Dan
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#67
Posted January 18th 2013, 12:50pm
disagree wrote:
rubbbqco wrote:http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/February-2013/Review-Elizabeth-Restaurant/

not sure if they will keep it up, but interesting comment posted yesterday in response to Jeff Ruby's review and critiques of his fellow diners by someone who (allegedly) was at the table with him...

I know this get off topic a little, but there are always two sides to the story
Bottom half of the internet comment from an anonymous poster. How persuasive.


If the comment isn't by the real person (though it does mention the right handles), it does point us to some real verified Twitter drama to be had
https://twitter.com/dropkickjeffy/statu ... 2979501056

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#68
Posted January 18th 2013, 5:54pm
These restaurants should be called "social media restaurants", they exist for the purpose of social media, they serve social media, they are critiqued by the social media and many last as long as social media posts do and are great fodder for social media in general.
"underground restaurants" are they akin to rebels of the "Arab Spring" or are they business' that are not registered, don't have health certification, and don't pay taxes that makes them revolutionaries? Or just social media restaurants.
I am going to have an hamburger now at Billy's drive in.
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#69
Posted January 18th 2013, 6:00pm
foodmex - you realize that Elizabeth is above ground, right?
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#70
Posted January 18th 2013, 6:09pm
this exchange on the Chicago mag site is quite an ear full

POSTED BY FELLOW DINER
I was a diner at the table that the critic, Jeff Ruby, mentions and there are always two sides to every story.

Unfortunately, the review Jeff writes for Chicago Magazine has some notable omissions and the parts that are presented include a combination of gross exaggerations and outright fabrications.

To begin with, the critic was the rudest person I've ever shared a table with.

Elizabeth features communal dining and all diners are served at the same time. They ask that diners arrive promptly and their FAQ states that diners more than 30 minutes late may not be seated.

Of about two dozen diners that evening, all but the critic's party arrived approximately 15 minutes prior to the dining time and were seated. We were served a pre-dinner cocktail and spent some time being pleasant and getting to know the other diners at our table.

The critic's party, however, did not take part in this cordial conversation. Mostly because they arrived nearly 40 minutes late. Despite the fact that all the other diners who had promptly arrived had been seated and waiting for nearly an hour, they offered no apologies to the table or to the restaurant for making over 20 other diners and roughly half that number of restaurant staff start an evening much later than planned.

This antisocial behavior continued oddly throughout the evening -- with the critic refusing to directly converse with anyone at the table from early on and actually grew to be uncomfortable by the end of the meal.

From his review, I see now that he was trying to maintain an air of "insufferable quiet superiority". Ah, but if only he had actually been quiet. For he was anything but quiet -- you see, he rather unpolitely made snarky comments about the rest of the table to his female companion throughout the dinner as if we couldn't hear him, when in fact, we quite plainly could .

In fact, his rudeness was so pronounced that I quite thought he was "suffering in pompiness" rather than being "insufferable quiet superiority". I forgave their trespasses and wrote them off for conversation because I chose to enjoy the meal -- not attempt to make myself and the other diners miserable all evening. I assumed he was just being an asshole who had a bad day that culminated with him showing up late to a dinner that he wasn't capable of enjoying.

As for the "meat" of the article, nearly everything he writes about his dining companions is misrepresentations, exaggerations, and in some cases outright lies. I feel like he had an agenda that he had to be "superior" to everyone else and needed to create this fiction to support his agenda. When one of the other diners confronted him on twitter, the critic's response was this:

'Jeff Ruby @dropkickjeffy: @slambennett The smug pianist! You got it half right. I was late and I didn't try to converse.'

For what it's worth, I quite enjoyed the company of the other diners at the restaurant. In fact, I made new friends and got e-mail addresses and I've kept in touch with them. What I didn't enjoy was the company of the "professional critic" who showed up late... and who couldn't stop criticizing everyone all night long during the meal.

JAN 18, 2013 01:05 PM POSTED BY RUBY
Thanks for commenting. You're certainly entitled to your opinion, and I'm glad you chose to express it here. But I stand by the column, which is factually correct and an honest portrayal of the evening. Seems the only thing that you and I agree on is the fact that I was late.

I'm glad that you enjoyed your meal at Elizabeth from your end of the table. So did I, from mine.

Jeff

JAN 18, 2013 04:24 PM POSTED BY FELLOW DINER
Everything I said in my comment was true. Beside being extraordinarily late (actually past the last cut off time for seating), you refused attempts to engage in common pleasantries that are expected from polite people at a communal table. I will explain these courtesies to you since you obviously lack knowledge of them: be prompt and show up to dinner on time and well dressed, introduce yourself, make polite conversation or at the very least reply when spoken to, and at the end of the evening, thank your fellows for their company.

I don't believe you did any of these. You showed up late without an apology, half-disheveled like a frantic married couple who couldn't find a baby sitter, wasted a cumulative 24 hours of other diners and workers time before you picked up a fork without an apology, sat aloof and apart, and acted rude at the table.

And No... your account isn't "honest and factual"... you did not sit there "equally insufferable in [your] quiet superiority". You sat there pretending to be better than everyone else making rude comments like an immature high school kid to your wife loud enough for anyone with decent hearing to overhear.

There are things you would have learned too if you actually had talked to the other diners rather than merely made fun of them while eavesdropping from your ivory tower with the intent to misrepresent their conversations. You got small snippets of conversation and took them out of context and you also got details wrong even for the stuff that has a grain of truth.

I'll start with your obsession that the other diners were continually mispronouncing foie gras -- it was done once, in the middle of a joke about how people can't pronounce the word. For what it's worth, two of your fellow diners were Canadian (you know, a country that speaks French) and several of the other diners are conversationally fluent in the language as well. They've spent time studying French and time abroad visiting France. One had a best friend who has a doctorate in 14th century French literature and another has dined multiple times with the French consulate. The "smug pianist" even lived in France for a while. This was a group of people whom most could watch a French Film without subtitles.

No one at the table has 20 lbs of venison in their freezer. One said they had a couple tenderloins received from a brother who hunts deer in Mt. Hope Wisconsin on a 100 acre private reserve and who has closer to 200 lbs of venison if you actually want to keep count. In fact, he asked Iliana who her hunter was and how she sourced venison with a followup question if she was interested in sourcing more venison from Wisconsin when she was at the table.

The person you claim to have told "ill-informed tales of sous vide" has been using a chamber vacuum and a Polyscience immersion circulator at home for over four years. If you want to stop by and have them show you how to use these tools, they'd be more than happy to accomodate you as they do sous vide dinners at least monthly for friends.

I could continue on-and-on to dissect the list of each little insult you throw at your fellow diners and how it is factually incorrect because I actually spent time talking to them.

Again... everything you overheard you misheard, you exaggerated you got wrong, and some I'm still pretty sure you made up. There were boisterous groups at all three tables in the restaurant and you were too busy making rude little comments to your wife to actually clearly hear the details of any conversation. The fact that you were too aloof to engage and that you actually missed out on over an hour of pleasant talk before the meal gives you very little perspective on your fellow diners.

There also exists a reasonable assumption of privacy for conversations in an intimate setting. It's extremely rude to eavesdrop on people you're not talking to and to print what you only think you overheard. If you are going to violate this, at least you could do so in a manner that more truly represented what was actually said. Instead, your readers got incorrect quotes and quips taken out of context plus a fair amount of embellishment -- all focused through a lens of bitter cynicism.

Your article is juvenile in nature... taking a holier than thou attitude while reflecting the same immature name calling you displayed at our table: "large Canadian making love to his Camera", "smug" "socially stunted geeks", "blowhards", "windbags", "fanatics", "pretenders", "name dropping phony".

You're mistaken if you really think that anyone who has gone to high school doesn't realize you're not nearly as "superior" as you pretend to be with that attitude?

You claimed to be "One of Them" when talking about the other diners but YOU ARE NOT ONE OF US. Every foodie I've ever met, including the people at that table, are decent people who were nice to each other. None of us were phony or pretending to be something other than we were and the stories and passions for food that we shared in conversation over dinner were all personal experiences and opinions. What makes a person a "foodie" is not simply an appreciation or love of food but also an empathy and an ability to share that love with like minds.

No, You are not a "Foodie". You are a "Critic". You are a person who exists striving to find fault with things in life and criticize them -- sometimes rudely in mixed company. And simply knowing that people like you exist makes me lose a little hope for the human race.

I'm willing to bet that every other person at that restaurant talked to their other diners and made at least one new friend that night... with the exception of you and your wife.
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#71
Posted January 18th 2013, 6:16pm
foodmex wrote:These restaurants should be called "social media restaurants", they exist for the purpose of social media, they serve social media, they are critiqued by the social media and many last as long as social media posts do and are great fodder for social media in general.
"underground restaurants" are they akin to rebels of the "Arab Spring" or are they business' that are not registered, don't have health certification, and don't pay taxes that makes them revolutionaries? Or just social media restaurants.
I am going to have an hamburger now at Billy's drive in.


This isn't an underground restaurant- it's gosh down bonafide with taxes and health certificates and all that glory. Maybe you should read the rest of the thread before drive-by foodie sniping, which is the same exact sport Jeff Ruby engaged in when he thought he'd spice up his own review with a little sneering at the people at his communal table. Half of the paragraphs in the review are devoted to that, not to the food. It speaks not only to the annoying aspects of this sport, but more to how the print media and media in general has degraded over time. The reviewer not only did not manage to eat at the restaurant more than once (I wonder if the mag comped his wife- if so they could have afforded to send him alone to the Diamond, and to at least one of the other menus), but was apparently late for his dinner. I know Iliana doesn't mind these things, but Iliana is a chef, not a writer.

I understand some cultural divide here between people who like burgers and people who like tasting menus. I like both and I find Iliana's food less alienating than some of the anti-foodies might expect, given that it draws on common Midwestern cultural veins that people will find familiar. The owl menu in particular, which improved since I last had it, bridges the gulf quite a bit- pancakes, stuffing, bread & butter, and good old-fashioned red meat. It's very Little House on the Prairie. Which is one of the reasons I think a "reviewer" is going to get an incomplete picture from arriving late to the diamond menu, certainly the most esoteric of the menus. I think it might be interesting to test it on dad, who once ate at Manresa (our cousin provides the citrus there), and developed a prejudice against any tasting menu, saying he'd much rather have a steak. I wouldn't be easy to get him there though.
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#72
Posted January 18th 2013, 6:56pm
Question: Are those "rules" for how a person is supposed to behave at a communal table explained by FELLOW DINER part of Elizabeth's rules? Does one agree to them in purchasing the ticket?

Ugh. Dining is hard.
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#73
Posted January 18th 2013, 8:12pm
disagree wrote:Question: Are those "rules" for how a person is supposed to behave at a communal table explained by FELLOW DINER part of Elizabeth's rules? Does one agree to them in purchasing the ticket?

My guess is no and no; I assume that, other than arriving on time, they are not explicit rules in any way, but rather, what FELLOW DINER considers to be courteous behavior when dining in a communal seating setting. Apparently the one rule that is indeed explicitly stated when reserving at Elizabeth is arriving on time (with the added warning that the reservation may be cancelled if you're more than 30 minutes late).

I have not yet been to Elizabeth, though, so those who have, feel free to correct me if my assumption is inaccurate.

However, I also don't see anything wrong with his/her advice, as a matter of common courtesy, and I don't find them overly burdensome. Here's the quote, again: "I will explain these courtesies to you since you obviously lack knowledge of them: be prompt and show up to dinner on time and well dressed, introduce yourself, make polite conversation or at the very least reply when spoken to, and at the end of the evening, thank your fellows for their company."
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"This is LTH at its worst - when people attack words in posts, rather than talking about food." - nsxtasy
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#74
Posted January 18th 2013, 9:47pm
I find this discourse interesting, and appreciate Iliana's participation in it. We had been to other communal table restaurants, mostly casual (e.g., Urban Belly), and one high-end, e in Las Vegas. At Elizabeth, we very conscientiously arrived two minutes in advance of our reservation (we live two blocks away and walked), because we did not want to upset the very intentional timing of the three seatings. I will say we were surprised to see others were sipping cocktails we were never offered, despite ordering what we thought was the complete pairing option (and again, we did not arrive late for our reservation). We also observed a person at our table who did not order pairings, but who received free pours with the first three or so offerings. She was known to the staff to be a culinary school grad, although she mentioned she now works outside the industry, so while I know it is not unusual for peers to get perks, it is a bit unsettling when happening at the same table.

The communal table aspect of Elizabeth, and other places, is a crap-shoot. Not only is there a variable regarding tablemates, but also one's own mood and reaction on a given night. Obviously we knew it was communal seating, and chose Elizabeth to celebrate my birthday. Normally when we do this, my husband would bring cards, and I'd open them during the meal. We chose not to do this as it didn't seem to be hospitable behavior. Also, I had had a stressful day at work, so it was almost a burden to be pleasant to 6 strangers! This isn't their fault, or Iliana's. It is, however, one more variable that affected our lasting impression, and a stark contrast to our attitude when going out in Vegas.

As I have mentioned on previous posts, we greatly enjoyed the food at Elizabeth. Iliana is talented, inspirational, fun, and an important part of Chicago's food scene. I like that we ate raccoon, and that the dish tasted delicious. Most of us willing to spend $500+ a couple for dinner (our Deer Menu with tax and tip came to about $700) do so not only for the food but the overall experience. This is where I felt in November that Eizabeth needed to grow, and perhaps they already have.
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#75
Posted January 19th 2013, 11:55am
If I remember correctly before Elizabeth moved above ground she was a proud member of the "underground restaurant" movement, so now she forages above ground.
You must have forgotten, regardless, my question is underground restaurants legal?
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#76
Posted January 19th 2013, 12:00pm
Sounds like you were in on a strange night and perhaps it was right after Scott's departure, which left us with one less on the floor that evening. One less for almost a month until we got our new Sommelier Ben, who I believe, if you came back would give the wine service and overall service you may have felt lacked on the night you were in. I'm not certain what those free pours were about. Someone may be in trouble :shock: . Please come again. I'm certain you will feel overall experience will match what you pay. I like to take care of lthers because I adore this community so when you do, if you do, please introduce yourself.
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#77
Posted January 19th 2013, 12:02pm
foodmex wrote:... is underground restaurants legal?
Are they? Maybe not, but certainly it's a topic for a different thread.

-Dan
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#78
Posted January 19th 2013, 1:55pm
dansch wrote:
foodmex wrote:... is underground restaurants legal?
Are they? Maybe not, but certainly it's a topic for a different thread.

-Dan

Agreed. Let's keep the discussion in this thread focused on Elizabeth.

Thanks,

=R=
for the moderators
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"When you’re young, it’s all fillet steak. But as you get older, you have to move onto the cheaper cuts..." --M. Gustave

I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

Twitter: ronniesuburban
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#79
Posted January 19th 2013, 2:19pm
[Sounds like you were in on a strange night and perhaps it was right after Scott's departure, which left us with one less on the floor that evening. One less for almost a month until we got our new Sommelier Ben, who I believe, if you came back would give the wine service and overall service you may have felt lacked on the night you were in.]


Again, thank you for listening. Yes, it was within days of Scott's departure. In fact, I had missed the announcement on your FB page, until a few days after our meal, then had an "Aha" moment. After we had another misstep with the wine service (we went two courses with no wine, were not warned that "this wine will be for the next three courses" or the like, in which case I would have paced myself, then were told the omission was intended), I asked if Scott was present, and was told "No". I understand it was an awkward time for staff, one that required more of everyone, and perhaps they did not want to come across as making excuses.

I am glad to hear of your new Sommelier, Ben, and am confident this aspect of Elizabeth is again matching the excellence of your food. Congratulations on your success!
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#80
Posted January 19th 2013, 3:03pm
I'd like to post the letter I sent to Chicago's Editor In Chief about factual errors in Mr. Ruby's review:

Dear Editors,

There is a reasonable presumption of privacy in a private dining venue. I shall hope you will contemplate a public apology in the magazine for the transgressions of Mr. Jeff Ruby's article on Elizabeth Restaurant, since Mr. Ruby, beyond numerous factual inaccuracies, failed to obtain a release waiver from any of us at the table before a) writing about us in a libelous manner and then later b) attaching our names to the article through a set of twitter exchanges.

I would like to follow up [Fellow Diner]'s letter to you with a list of factual errors in Ruby's article, since I realize (as someone who put myself through school as a restaurant reviewer and board member for a major guide-book series) all "opinions" by a critic are subjective (and ultimately a matter of taste). Differences of opinion I can handle (and welcome), extreme rudeness by Mr. Ruby I can handle (albeit it being unpleasant), but factual errors show a sloppy writer beneath the standards that your magazine surely demands and expects of its paid writers. It does a disservice to the restaurant, the critic's reputation, and the magazine. It opens the larger Tribune Company to possible unwanted actions in their already fairly perilous financial straits.

Some of the factual inaccuracies:

1) I am a former concert pianist (who occasionally records now). Since Mr. Ruby wasn't listening very well, he didn't realize I was primarily a business owner of an import/export company among my other ventures.
2) The person across the table from me was an editor, not a computer geek. His dining companion is a manager, and enthusiast about technology, but again, hardly a computer geek. They are also not foodies, merely friends interested in exceptional meals (this was one of their first fine dining experiences).
3) The meal was 4, not 5 hours after the late, unapologetic and extremely late arrival of Mr Ruby and his wife.
4) Dinner companion never stated having 20 pounds of deer tenderloin in his freezer.
5) Dinner companion is an expert at sous vide, our main criticism of the food all evening being uneven sous vide treatment of the potatoes (the supposed lauded highlight of Mr. Ruby's meal). He is not thus, ill-informed!
6) I heard both the Canadians and other Dinner companion, as well as the guests across the table from me pronounce foie gras correctly numerous times. I lived in France and I'm conversationally fluent in French. The main French mispronunciations of the evening came from Mr. Ruby's wife (whom attempted to mis-correct me at one point on the word "cassis") and the stand-in Sommelier (the previous one having left his position just the day before) apologized openly (and forgivably) for butchering a few wine names.
7) Mr. Ruby was not "quiet." I heard numerous attacks against us, the other guests at the table, and even of the waitstaff (within ear-shot of them). For having been accused of being so "smug," - isn't it ironic that Ruby also considers himself "superior?"
We were quite attentive whenever Iliana was present. There is a sound issue in the restaurant where one end of the table cannot hear everything at the other end of the table. Perhaps this is how Mr. Ruby misheard so much (and why a few times, we needed her to repeat an ingredient or explain something again, given her soft-spoken nature).
9) At my end of the table, we were, with one exception, android users.
10) Dinner companion was pointing at the preparation of the foie gras in the kitchen for the next day, before they injected the creme de cassis into it. Not a marshamallow.
11) "Tab does not include alcohol, tax, or tip." is incorrect. The tax or tip ON alcohol is not included, but tax and tip for the meal is included in the initial ticket price.

Critics are often able to get away with stretching the truth, or omitting or adding details when they write. This, every informed reader, expects to an extent - after all who is going to call them out on their transgressions. However, when you sit with 6 unrelated witnesses at a dinner table, the standard for factual accuracy is considerably higher. We are all able to vouch for each other now as friends - and to his detriment. By pointing out the factual errors, you will no doubt see that it is Mr. Ruby who needs a thorough and critical examination - before he writes something that casts a serious (and fictitious) shadow on the reputation of your magazine.

Best regards,

Sean Bennett

she replied,

Dear Mr. Bennett,

Chicago Magazine takes accuracy very seriously. We will look into this matter. In the event that we discover an error of fact in our pages, our policy is to print a correction in the next issue.

Sincerely,
Elizabeth Fenner

To which I replied with three more factual errors in his review:

Dear Ms. Fenner,

I appreciate your prompt reply and attention to this matter. I generally avoid such boat-shaking, unless it seems particularly egregious. Three more factual items come to mind: the caviar was not black caviar, but transmontanus caviar, Next Season Tickets, not El Bulli sold out in a matter of seconds (the number 9.6 being rather suspicious), and the Canadians spent a total of $10,000 on food in the previous half year (not month) including their travel, lodging, and incidentals (he maintains a beautiful blog of pictures here: http://taylorfladgate40906.wordpress.com/). Upon rereading my own email to you, please pardon my editorial transgressions, I noted several typos and areas in need of usage improvement.

All best,

Sean
Last edited by slambennett on January 19th 2013, 3:43pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#81
Posted January 20th 2013, 4:55pm
Original Post removed...

...but Jeff Ruby used 300 times as many words to describe his tablemates as he did the wine pairing... perhaps he wasn't paying attention to the actual meal?
Last edited by Fellow Diner on April 22nd 2013, 5:11pm, edited 5 times in total.
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#82
Posted January 20th 2013, 5:14pm
Wow, very interesting and well described.
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#83
Posted January 20th 2013, 5:46pm
I am beginning to think that someone up above made sure to put this entire group of people together at the same table that evening.
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#84
Posted January 20th 2013, 9:02pm
Seems like they are going out of their way to prove his point...
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#85
Posted January 20th 2013, 9:39pm
The Rashomon effect created by Jeff Ruby's piece and some of the accounts posted above are fascinating in a tawdry, voyeuristic sort of way, even though "the incident" has only a tangential relationship to Elizabeth. Our hope is that after everyone weighs in as they see fit -- keeping it compliant with our Posting Guidelines -- we can get back to a more direct discussion of what's happening at Elizabeth, though, points made above by Fellow Diner do touch directly on some service issues his party encountered when dining there. At some point, we Moderators will likely split this section of the discussion off to its own thread.

However, for now, I have to ask: why does anyone care what Jeff Ruby writes (or thinks) about them, especially when he mentions no names, or signifcant personal details about them? The piece reads like fiction -- and some benign fiction, at that. A guy shows up to dinner at a communal table, doesn't like the vibe of the people with whom he's sitting and decides to use that as a jumping-off point for a piece he wants to write. The tone of it never once suggested to me that it was anything other than a hyperbolic, writer's embellishment intended to critique a specific aspect of our current culinary culture that may have already bugged the author before he ever dined at Elizabeth. Now, we're learning that parts of the piece very well may be fictitious, exaggerated or inaccurate. Is anyone genuinely surprised by this? Does anyone really care? And that's my issue with all of this. I'm struggling to understand why Mr. Ruby's obviously tongue-in-cheek account of the evening matters so much to the anonymous (until they came forward) folks with whom he shared a table, or to anyone else, for that matter. To me, it seems obvious from reading the piece that these folks were nothing more than convenient fodder -- a starting point -- for some venting by the writer, who was attempting -- successfully or not -- to be humorous. Had they said (or written) nothing publicly, the piece would have been forgotten 2 days later and that would have been the end of it.

A letter to the editor would have been enough to address any genuine concerns. But from where I'm sitting, their public response puts them in no more of a defensible position than the writer about whom they are complaining.

=R=
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I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

Twitter: ronniesuburban
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#86
Posted January 20th 2013, 9:51pm
ronnie_suburban wrote: I'm struggling to understand why Mr. Ruby's obviously tongue-in-cheek account of the evening matters so much to the anonymous (until they came forward) folks with whom he shared a table, or to anyone else, for that matter.


Jeff Ruby claims otherwise: "I stand by the column, which is factually correct and an honest portrayal of the evening."

It was extremely surprising to find out that the guy we thought was the "big jerk" at our table who inconvenienced the entire restaurant wrote a 13 paragraph restaurant review where 8 pages are about us.... while he glosses over the actual food and uses only 3 words mention the wine service. My original response to his review was simply to call him out on his own rude behavior and his misrepresentation of the evening.

But yes... obsessing on another guests behavior does detract from the dinner discussion and that is apparent in Mr Ruby's review as well. I just hope that no one was scared off of the idea of dining there from Mr Ruby's review.

For what it's worth, the dinner at Elizabeth was amazing. I've had a couple friends visit there since and I definitely plan a return trip to try some of the other menus.

The diamond menu was one creative dish after another.

The foie gras with cassis was one of the best, if not the best foie gras dish I have ever had in my life.

The only actual dish that I was at all disappointed with was the lobster on potato. My tail was a little tough (perhaps overpoached slightly?) and I didn't feel the sous vide treatment for the potato was ideal because it still had a starchy, slightly raw, quality to it. I felt if they would have reversed the treatments -- sous vide the lobster while finishing the potatoes with a butter poaching, they would have gotten more ideal textures for both of the ingredients.
Last edited by Fellow Diner on January 20th 2013, 10:14pm, edited 2 times in total.
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#87
Posted January 20th 2013, 9:56pm
Fellow Diner wrote:Our wine server made a slight mispronunciation of the wine and poured while grasping the circumference of the bottle with the side of the label showing the sulfite warning towards us.

You are indeed a gentleman of rare class and forbearance -- were I subjected to such an affront, I believe I would have beaten the miserable jackanapes to death with my walking-stick! One could well expect such cloddishness at a greasy spoon like Alinea, where laborers go to dig their stubby, coal-stained fingers into plates of beans and swill rotgut out of paper cups, but if one pays a premium to escape the oafs and slatterns for a few hours by dining in the company of other civilized individuals of fine breeding and discernment, one would like to think that one would be accorded the proper respect and not be subjected to the bumbling ministrations of a slavering miscreant. But such, alas, are the times we live in.
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#88
Posted January 20th 2013, 10:01pm
Fellow Diner wrote:
ronnie_suburban wrote: I'm struggling to understand why Mr. Ruby's obviously tongue-in-cheek account of the evening matters so much to the anonymous (until they came forward) folks with whom he shared a table, or to anyone else, for that matter.


Jeff Ruby claims otherwise: "I stand by the column, which is factually correct and an honest portrayal of the evening. "


I'm pretty sure Ruby got it more right than wrong.
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-Josh

I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
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#89
Posted January 20th 2013, 10:12pm
agreed that's it's off-topic, but I think most people (when it was obvious they were being falsely written about) would respond in a public way, just as "fellow-diner" and "smug pianist" have.

Whether the general public knew the actual identity of the diners or not, the dining companions written about (in a very accusation-heavy manner) knew they were being referenced incorrectly - and that sparked this whole drama.

To say Jeff Ruby is allowed to just write whatever he wants, as long as he doesn't reveal their names/addresses/twitter accounts is like saying it's OK to report falsities about people - as long as they aren't directly identified. If Jeff Ruby had these reservations about this "type" of person (foodies), he shouldn't have gone to a restaurant where he would obviously find said crowd.

all due respect Ronnie and other "ringers" defending Jeff, as I'm fairly new to this forum, but I think the fault is on Jeff - not the falsely accused that responded to his "alleged" lies about the dinner..agreed that this section of the thread needs it's own thread - not sure what to call it, "Is it ok if someone lies about you as long as they don't use your name, only a specific description of you..."?
Last edited by rubbbqco on January 20th 2013, 10:27pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#90
Posted January 20th 2013, 10:20pm
cilantro wrote:
Fellow Diner wrote:Our wine server made a slight mispronunciation of the wine and poured while grasping the circumference of the bottle with the side of the label showing the sulfite warning towards us.

You are indeed a gentleman of rare class and forbearance -- were I subjected to such an affront, I believe I would have beaten the miserable jackanapes to death with my walking-stick! One could well expect such cloddishness at a greasy spoon like Alinea, where laborers go to dig their stubby, coal-stained fingers into plates of beans and swill rotgut out of paper cups, but if one pays a premium to escape the oafs and slatterns for a few hours by dining in the company of other civilized individuals of fine breeding and discernment, one would like to think that one would be accorded the proper respect and not be subjected to the bumbling ministrations of a slavering miscreant. But such, alas, are the times we live in.

Cilantro, I do believe you just won at the interwebz this year. Carry on.
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