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    Post #1 - July 31st, 2017, 8:47 am
    Post #1 - July 31st, 2017, 8:47 am Post #1 - July 31st, 2017, 8:47 am
    City Mouse in the Ace Hotel.

    I didn't turn up anything on a search, so it appears that we may have "taken one for the team" and had dinner at City Mouse in the Ace Hotel last night. Located right across the street from the Google building, it exudes that Fulton Corridor hip vibe.

    We sat outside and even that area was a noisy crowd, the inside space has tons of hard surfaces so I wonder what that will be like in the winter. We actually had to move since we were seated right next to a table of loud cacklers who had seemingly been drinking for hours and showed no sign of stopping. The entire place is dog friendly and we saw several people walking their dogs through the lobby and there were dogs in the outside bar/dining area. The four of us aren't ancient, but still we certainly upped the average age by a decade or more. This attracts a young set!

    The website says:

    City Mouse is Ace Hotel Chicago's all-day neighborhood restaurant operated in partnership with hometown favorites Chef Jason Vincent, Chef Ben Lustbader and Josh Perlman — the team behind the critically acclaimed Logan Square restaurant, Giant.

    Pat Sheerin (late of Trenchermen) is listed as Chef on many news postings prior to the opening, but he isn't among the Chefs on the website.

    Menu here:

    Food and service were both on point, with most dishes a solid hit. The four of us had six dishes that came in three rounds (all small plates).

    We began with Marinated Zucchini (not on the online menu), the Fried Artichokes and the Peach salad. The Artichokes (with pork ragu) and the Peaches were excellent and we'd order again. The Zucchini had great flavor of peppers and peanuts, but contained Rice Cakes, that just tasted of nothing and were hard and rubbery They added zero to the dish.

    Next came two pastas, Tagliatelle with Shrimp (the version on the online menu lists Anchovy instead of the Shrimp) and Rigatoni Bolognese. Both were excellent dishes. The Ragu in the Bolognese was unexpectedly smoky, but it all worked.

    We finished up with the Smoked Chicken (with cashews, rice and aioli) that we all thought was the hit of the night.

    Interesting cocktail list, and a good well-priced wine list. The bill was a bit over $50 per person before tip, including 5 cocktails and a bottle of decent Rose. I suspect this place will be busy with Hotel Guests and the Google crowd during the week (the Hotel is in soft launch the last I knew). Sunday had the outside areas just comfortably full and inside maybe a couple tables that we could see, even so the noise level made us wonder what it would be like when really hopping.

    All in all a good experience, time will tell if this will be one of those 2-3 year wonders that will then fade away in favor of the next hot concept.

    A solid experience and we will go back

    311 N Morgan St
    Chicago, IL 60607
    (312) 764-1919
  • Post #2 - July 31st, 2017, 11:32 am
    Post #2 - July 31st, 2017, 11:32 am Post #2 - July 31st, 2017, 11:32 am
    Thanks for your report. It's informative and helpful.
  • Post #3 - December 14th, 2017, 2:03 pm
    Post #3 - December 14th, 2017, 2:03 pm Post #3 - December 14th, 2017, 2:03 pm
    I'm surprised no one has posted about eating at City Mouse since my above post here. Five of us ate dinner there this past Sunday, and it was thoroughly outstanding in every way. It may be the best restaurant in Chicago that nobody's talking about (as this topic seems to confirm).

    City Mouse is located in the quirky new Ace Hotel across the street from the Google building in the West Loop. The hotel lobby is thoroughly modern with minimal signage, and across from the elevators you'll find an old-fashioned photo-taking booth machine. Quirky, indeed. The restaurant is contemporary as well. There is some outdoor seating for warmer seasons, and a lovely long, narrow room for private parties on the other side of a glass partition from the main dining room. The restaurant was only about half full most of the time we were there, but the staff told us it was because Sunday is their slowest night of the week. It was not particularly noisy, but that may or may not be true on a busier night of the week. I took this photo when we arrived around 6:15, so it was more empty then than later on.

    The menu consists mostly of sharable smaller plates. My reaction was very similar to its sister restaurant Giant, where we ate recently. Like Giant, I didn't get very excited or compelled by reading their menu, but when each dish arrived, it was amazingly delicious, full of big, BOLD flavors, and a wonderful balance of ingredients and colors and textures. Remarkably, it was all hits, not a single miss. Here's what we had, in the order we were served:

    CORNBREAD - parmesan butter (sorry, the flash blurred out the dollop of parmesan butter on the side)
    COUNTRY MOUSE - cheddar, caramel, caviar shooter (one person requested his with no caviar, as depicted)
    MUTSU APPLES AND FARRO - roasted pears, ginger, kohlrabi, pecorino
    CHINESE BROCCOLI - chick pea and sunflower seed
    FRIED ARTICHOKES - pork ragu, italian breadcrumbs, taleggio
    ROTI MOPHO - sesame eggplant, dates, feta
    TAGLIATELLE - olive oil fried tomatoes, gulf shrimp, chili butter
    GOAT CHEESE MALFATTI - braised lamb, roasted carrots, cippolini
    LASAGNA - grana padano
    SEA SCALLOPS - king crab, green curry, butternut squash, herbs
    FREE RANGE SMOKED CHICKEN - cashew rice and aioli
    APPLE PIE - apple caramel, brown sugar almonds, apple ice cream
    FUNNEL CAKE - honey peanut butter, klug farm grape jam and ice cream
    WHIPPED CHEESECAKE - blueberries, almond, coconut, shiso
    Service was excellent too - friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful.

    We shared all our dishes, and started to feel full before our last two big savory dishes (scallops and chicken), which we could have easily skipped. Even so, City Mouse was surprisingly affordable. The wine list had over a dozen wines available by the glass, all in the $9-13 range. With too many dishes ordered, and two full bottles of wine along with several other beverages, the check was $73/pp including tax before tip. With more judicious food ordering and less alcohol, it would be easy to dine in the $50-60/pp range for dinner. (City Mouse is also open for breakfast/brunch and lunch.)

    Bottom line, City Mouse is absolutely terrific. We can't wait to go back!
  • Post #4 - December 15th, 2017, 1:34 pm
    Post #4 - December 15th, 2017, 1:34 pm Post #4 - December 15th, 2017, 1:34 pm
    nsxtasy wrote:It may be the best restaurant in Chicago that nobody's talking about (as this topic seems to confirm).

    Suddenly I'm not the only one talking about City Mouse. From Jeff Ruby at Chicago magazine:

    Review: The Giant Team Goes Bigger (and Stays Mighty) at City Mouse
  • Post #5 - April 2nd, 2018, 8:45 am
    Post #5 - April 2nd, 2018, 8:45 am Post #5 - April 2nd, 2018, 8:45 am
    City Mouse got a nice writeup in the NYTimes this weekend. (I don't think this link is paywalled) ... eview.html
  • Post #6 - April 23rd, 2018, 9:01 am
    Post #6 - April 23rd, 2018, 9:01 am Post #6 - April 23rd, 2018, 9:01 am
    We enjoyed the food on Friday night just as much as we did on a previous visit on a weekday night. The difference was that we couldn't hear our friends. The Chicago Magazine/New York Times effect? The place didn't help by playing music loud enough that patrons had to talk even louder, creating a high-decibel loop. The design of the room does nothing in the least to quell noise, either. I don't begrudge the place its popularity, but really, City Mouse could do something about the noise if it wanted to. Lesson learned.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #7 - May 6th, 2018, 8:37 am
    Post #7 - May 6th, 2018, 8:37 am Post #7 - May 6th, 2018, 8:37 am
    Had an absolutely disappointing meal here last night. Dined as part of a group, so were given the family meal plan (shared apps, diner-specfic entrees, shared desserts). First of all, our table was essentially in the hotel lobby, so we were treated to a non-stop stream of doofuses lining up to go to the roof deck or otherwise hanging around - you know, like in a hotel lobby. Good for people watching, I suppose. Service was erratic, with dishes frequently described inaccurately (as in, in radically different ways) and our wine order arriving after the food. My cocktail at the start was good and the food began fine but the entrees were pretty meh at best and poor at worst. My dish, a wagyu prep, was to my mouth indistinguishable from an average beef with broccoli stir-fry, too salty, not enough veggies. The seafood pasta I tried was also too salty and nothing special. The chicken dish someone else ordered had this totally un-artful and unappetizing drizzle of ... something on it, like what you'd expect in an airport restaurant. The desserts across the board - something passing itself off as "St. Louis butter cake," a kind of banana bread pudding and a Meyer lemon pie (which was also described as key lime pie) - were pretty awful. Took forever for a bourbon list to arrive at the end, but everything on it was completely run of the hotel-bar mill. Just a big bummer. Can't imagine going back.
  • Post #8 - May 6th, 2018, 10:44 pm
    Post #8 - May 6th, 2018, 10:44 pm Post #8 - May 6th, 2018, 10:44 pm
    Yeah, I went once and really wanted to love it, mainly because Jason Vincent, who's one of my favorite Chefs, was involved in the development of the menu. But in the end, our weeknight dinner played out mostly like undistinctive hotel dining, especially the service which felt very much like they presumed we were a captive audience (aka tourists). And man, it was loud in that cavernous space. Beyond the activity one might typically encounter in a restaurant, there was a bunch of lobby traffic and some very loud music being piped in, as well. Those elements combined to make it nearly impossible to have a conversation with the people seated directly across from us at our 4-top. It just wasn't an experience I have any desire to repeat. :(

    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #9 - October 14th, 2020, 9:42 pm
    Post #9 - October 14th, 2020, 9:42 pm Post #9 - October 14th, 2020, 9:42 pm
    City Mouse, a darling of the West Loop boom, closes permanently Sunday, but Alinea already has plans for the space (Tribune)