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Tied House - Lakeview

Tied House - Lakeview
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  • Tied House - Lakeview

    Post #1 - May 3rd, 2019, 3:06 pm
    Post #1 - May 3rd, 2019, 3:06 pm Post #1 - May 3rd, 2019, 3:06 pm
    There's been a fair amount of favorable buzz about this place since it opened in early 2018. I was curious and had a meal here recently that was, for most part, disappointing. There were some positive aspects. The space itself is beautiful, comfortable and conversation-friendly. Our primary server was friendly, competent and engaging. But thinking about our meal, most of what the four of us ordered went unfinished and with this group, that's pretty telling. And service beyond our primary server was textbook Keystone Kops.

    We started with the bread service. Parker House Rolls, baked in-house, were yeasty, light and tender. Very good. We were told that the two other breads -- seeded rye, honey oat porridge -- are sourced from Publican. They were great. However, three of the four accompanying spreads we ordered were no match for the quality of the breads. Actually, House Butter comes with. To that we added Miso Butter, which was bland and devoid of any discernible miso flavor. Bone Marrow Butter sounded decadent and promising but it turned out to be bland, gritty and unpleasantly greasy on the palate. Rich and creamy Chicken Liver Mousse was very nice, though. We only finished the house butter, which may have been attributable to the fact that the portion was significantly smaller than the others.

    A trio of smaller plates we shared next was the highlight of the meal. Cornfried Asparagus, White Asparagus (pickled) and a Salad of Werp Farm Greens with baby artichoke hearts all disappeared. For me, there was also a Ginger-Miso Soup with a soft-cooked egg and thin strips of asparagus. It was one note: toasted sesame oil.

    Main courses missed the mark in a variety of fundamental ways. Green Circle Chicken was an over-seasoned, pre-sliced, boneless, skinless breast served on a bed of mushrooms, hard, undercooked beans and shreds of what I assume was dark meat chicken. Round, crispy, pancetta-like disks of chicken skin garnished the dish. I think the chicken was cooked en sous vide but that wasn't enough to save it from its preordained fate. Grilled Octopus was indeed tender -- maybe too tender because it lacked any textural variation. But the main issue was, again, over-seasoning -- with smoked pimenton -- which completely obscured the flavor of the octopus. As a third main, we shared an order of Potato Gnocchi (technically, a small plate), some of which were off and tasted scorched. The dish was shown on the menu as containing ramps but I don't remember seeing any in the dish. There was also an egg here, which I presume was supposed to be cooked soft, so that the yolk would contribute to the sauce. But when we cut into it, it was solid throughout. We finished none of these dishes.

    We ordered two desserts, both of which were fine. Presentation-wise, Banana Cream was the most approachable and accessible dish of the entire meal. Nice roasted banana flavor, brown butter. I think the lesson here which, sadly, was not applied to the rest of the meal, is that less is more. A second dessert, Dark Chocolate, was a dense and chocolately affair that was fairly microscopic in size. But I thought the chocolate note struck a really nice balance between sweet and bitter, and the finish was pleasant.

    All in all, the food felt like it was intended more for show than for eating enjoyment. It was highly manipulated but the resulting dishes did not shine, showcase their ingredients or satisfy. It felt like a pointless exercise in which ingredients were used to produce dishes that were less than the sum of their parts. Unnecessarily precious is the term that comes to mind.

    All this said, my biggest issue with the meal was the well-intentioned but absolutely awkward support staff. They were hovery, intrusive and very slow. They spent way too long at the table, took forever to clear and consistently provided descriptions of dishes that were unnecessarily long. I think there was someone hovering over us for more than fifty percent of our meal. No, you do not need to refill our waters when each glass is down only one sip. No, you do not need to pick up those serving spoons you just placed on the table and move them four inches. No, you do not need to clear the silverware on the table one piece at a time. No, you do not need to take that plate that still has food on it. And please, do not continually interrupt conversation at the table, especially to provide something we don't even need. As much as I believe the goal here was to provide awesome service, the unintended result was just the opposite. It was action without context. I'll remember it as one of the most odd and frustrating services I've ever experienced. As one of my companions said to me at the end of our meal, "Well, I don't need to come back here again." Sadly, I agree.


    3157 N Southport Ave
    Chicago, IL 60657
    (773) 697-4632
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #2 - May 3rd, 2019, 6:16 pm
    Post #2 - May 3rd, 2019, 6:16 pm Post #2 - May 3rd, 2019, 6:16 pm
    I had weekend brunch at Tied House last July. Why haven't I posted about it since then? I most strongly feel the urge to start a topic when I experience meals that are truly outstanding and memorable, and/or noteworthy in some way. Otherwise, I hang back and wait for posts by others, and then compare notes - and that's what I'm doing here.

    My strongest impression of my brunch there was the décor. The several rooms were contemporary in style and stunning. They allowed lots of natural light and air on this nice-weather day. If you're looking for a pleasant brunch in lovely surroundings, and you don't care much one way or the other about the food or service, Tied House may be just what you're looking for.

    The food? The descriptions on the menu sounded really enticing, which is why I decided to go there (after viewing the website version). As for the execution, everything I had was okay; nothing was bad, but nothing was wow-inducing or memorable either. I probably didn't think about any of the dishes after I left for even a moment. Which in itself is not a good sign. Nor have I felt any urge to return.

    The service was not as gaffe-prone as Ronnie experienced, but I do remember having some difficulty flagging down my server to get the check. That's the only issue I had.

    All in all, I'd say that my experience was consistent with Ronnie's. Just to add several items to his report...

    Link to restaurant website


    Short Rib Hash - potatoes, herb, farm egg
    Dutch Style Pancakes - crème fraiche, apple butter
    Beignet - powdered sugar, house jam
  • Post #3 - May 4th, 2019, 12:33 am
    Post #3 - May 4th, 2019, 12:33 am Post #3 - May 4th, 2019, 12:33 am
    My wife and I went here a few months ago for dinner. Didn't post since there wasn't an active thread yet, and I didn't feel like starting a thread. My thoughts echo what was already posted. The building and decor are great, but the food didn't live up to the hype. The menu, press, and Michelin reccomemdation made me think this would be pretty good, but I remember being disappointed. The fact that nothing really stands out to me at this point says something I think. I suppose you could do worse if you aw going to a show in the area (that's what I was doing) but it didn't "do" it for me.
  • Post #4 - May 8th, 2019, 4:47 pm
    Post #4 - May 8th, 2019, 4:47 pm Post #4 - May 8th, 2019, 4:47 pm
    I ate there shortly after it opened and my thoughts were the same -- forgettable food but memorably clunky service. (My recollection is that I arrived 10 minutes before my dining companion and to a restaurant with exactly one occupied table, and they acted as if they were making a special exception by seating me vs. making me cool my heels in the entryway until my companion arrived. Service was hit or miss from there on out.)