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The Whale - Logan Square

The Whale - Logan Square
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  • The Whale - Logan Square

    Post #1 - October 31st, 2019, 11:05 am
    Post #1 - October 31st, 2019, 11:05 am Post #1 - October 31st, 2019, 11:05 am
    Must be the week for zero-star reviews . . .

    at chicagotribune.com, Nick Kindelsperger wrote:I’m willing to sit uncomfortably close to a random stranger for an hour or two if I get to experience some of the most thoughtful and creative restaurants in Chicago. The Whale, however, is not a chef-driven project. It doesn’t even mention a chef on its website. That explains why the menu seems less like someone’s unique culinary vision, and more like a committee’s attempt to come up with dishes that merely sound fancy.

    Sadly, it’s not clear that the owners have any interest in doing the hard work. You can find the first hint that The Whale is not all it claims to be on the first page of the menu. Open it up and you’ll come face to face with the “Champagnes & sparkling wine” section, but it should read “a single bottle of Champagne” list, since there’s only one real Champagne available, Veuve Clicquot, which you can order for $149. The rest of the offerings are sparkling wines like prosecco and lambrusco of the quality that you could find at any well-stocked grocery store. As for the rest of the wine list, don’t expect any help deciding what to order. When I asked my waitress for a wine suggestion to go with a steak, all she said was, “Well, we have red wine.”

    The beef for the steak frites ($24) may be dry-aged — Marks claims it has been aged for 48 days — but it was also mushy and cooked past my requested medium-rare. Pan seared mahi mahi ($27) also arrived overcooked, not to mention swamped in a distracting orange-habanero butter. At these prices, you shouldn’t have to worry.

    But that’s nothing to the gall that goes into the spreads section, where you pay an outrageous $18 for grilled bread not made in-house and three bland and overly creamy dips. All I can do is think of the care and quality of the cheese and bread served at nearby places like Table, Donkey & Stick and Bungalow by Middle Brow.

    The Whale restaurant brings downtown luxury to Logan Square. But the food is dreadful.

    =R=

    2427 N Milwaukee Ave
    Chicago, IL 60647
    (773) 825-2900
    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 - October 31st, 2019, 12:31 pm
    Post #2 - October 31st, 2019, 12:31 pm Post #2 - October 31st, 2019, 12:31 pm
    I walk past the Whale constantly and am baffled every single time. The pre-opening pitch was a classic Vegas high roller theme and they seem to have left that to interior design only (with the helpful addition of TVs in every booth). I just don't know who the hell this place is for and why I see a bunch of people in there all the time.
  • Post #3 - October 31st, 2019, 1:53 pm
    Post #3 - October 31st, 2019, 1:53 pm Post #3 - October 31st, 2019, 1:53 pm
    gnarchief wrote:I walk past the Whale constantly and am baffled every single time. The pre-opening pitch was a classic Vegas high roller theme and they seem to have left that to interior design only (with the helpful addition of TVs in every booth). I just don't know who the hell this place is for and why I see a bunch of people in there all the time.

    see this all the time. it's a safe landing pad for people who aren't from the neighborhood, don't know the neighborhood, may not even really like the neighborhood but still want to hang out there and tell their friends they hang out there.
  • Post #4 - November 1st, 2019, 2:01 am
    Post #4 - November 1st, 2019, 2:01 am Post #4 - November 1st, 2019, 2:01 am
    This review shows why Kindelsperger should be the primary restaurant critic at the Tribune not Vettel, who’s never met a restaurant he didn’t like.
  • Post #5 - November 1st, 2019, 5:59 am
    Post #5 - November 1st, 2019, 5:59 am Post #5 - November 1st, 2019, 5:59 am
    I will say the prices seem fairly reasonable compared to what I was expecting.

    And I guess this place shouldn't be a recommendation for the person that was looking for steak frites recommendations! :)
  • Post #6 - November 1st, 2019, 7:31 am
    Post #6 - November 1st, 2019, 7:31 am Post #6 - November 1st, 2019, 7:31 am
    My wife and her sisters are going tonight. If this doesnt talk them out of it. We live in the area, and wanted to know what was going on in there ourselves.

    Will report back...
  • Post #7 - November 1st, 2019, 9:20 am
    Post #7 - November 1st, 2019, 9:20 am Post #7 - November 1st, 2019, 9:20 am
    Clarence Beeks wrote:it's a safe landing pad for people who aren't from the neighborhood, don't know the neighborhood, may not even really like the neighborhood but still want to hang out there and tell their friends they hang out there.


    Have you been here? How does one detect people who aren't from the neighborhood, don't like it, but still want to hang out there?

    I haven't been, but I would agree that the Vegas-themed (or whatever the theme is) seems atypical in the neighborhood. I've also heard from friends that it is often crowded. If true, that would suggest there actually are people in the neighborhood who like to go there.
  • Post #8 - November 1st, 2019, 10:09 am
    Post #8 - November 1st, 2019, 10:09 am Post #8 - November 1st, 2019, 10:09 am
    Super-anecdotal observations:

    It's insanely crowded on Friday evenings, especially when the weather is good (ah, remember when? :lol:), the retractable doors are open and people are dining outside at the tables set up on the sidewalk. I mean, it is absolutely slamming during those times.

    I hardly know everyone in the neighborhood but I still have not spoken to anyone who lives or works in the neighborhood who liked it or who planned to return. Other than a few staffers, I never recognize anyone in the place when I walk by but obviously, people I know from the neighborhood have been there. And I do have a few friends that are involved with the project. On the flipside, I don't believe I've spoken to anyone who doesn't live in the neighborhood who's been there.

    I love cauliflower but $16 for a cauliflower steak seems quite steep to me unless, of course, it's a free range, humanely raised cauliflower. :wink:

    =R=
    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 #9 - November 1st, 2019, 11:57 am
    Post #9 - November 1st, 2019, 11:57 am Post #9 - November 1st, 2019, 11:57 am
    I had a really good trout schnitzel here when they opened, but the experience on service side was so meh that I didn't feel compelled to return.
  • Post #10 - November 1st, 2019, 9:22 pm
    Post #10 - November 1st, 2019, 9:22 pm Post #10 - November 1st, 2019, 9:22 pm
    Ronnie, does the cauliflower have a name?

    My wife's report is - it's upscale bar food, and the drinks were "fine"
  • Post #11 - November 1st, 2019, 10:02 pm
    Post #11 - November 1st, 2019, 10:02 pm Post #11 - November 1st, 2019, 10:02 pm
    Bspar wrote:Ronnie, does the cauliflower have a name?

    From the Main Event section of the menu . . .

    Cauliflower Steak - za'atar, pomegranate, pistachio, almond, dates, arugula, basil-mint yogurt, herbs . . . . $16

    =R=
    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 #12 - November 3rd, 2019, 3:00 pm
    Post #12 - November 3rd, 2019, 3:00 pm Post #12 - November 3rd, 2019, 3:00 pm
    @ronnie was more thinking something like “the cauliflower’s name was Ben” bad joke based on a dubious Portlandia sketch
  • Post #13 - November 3rd, 2019, 3:20 pm
    Post #13 - November 3rd, 2019, 3:20 pm Post #13 - November 3rd, 2019, 3:20 pm
    Bspar wrote:@ronnie was more thinking something like “the cauliflower’s name was Ben” bad joke based on a dubious Portlandia sketch
    That shit kills me each and every time! “his name was Colin”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G__PVLB8Nm4
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #14 - November 4th, 2019, 9:24 am
    Post #14 - November 4th, 2019, 9:24 am Post #14 - November 4th, 2019, 9:24 am
    For what it's worth, the wood-grilled cauliflower dish on last Friday's Hopleaf menu was $17. Their latest menu on their site describes it as such: "w/marinated cauliflower, red lentil-squash purée, herbed quinoa, roast parsnips, lime yogurt, spiced pepitas, golden raisins, cilantro."
    -Mary
  • Post #15 - November 4th, 2019, 9:30 am
    Post #15 - November 4th, 2019, 9:30 am Post #15 - November 4th, 2019, 9:30 am
    G Wiv wrote:
    Bspar wrote:@ronnie was more thinking something like “the cauliflower’s name was Ben” bad joke based on a dubious Portlandia sketch
    That shit kills me each and every time! “his name was Colin”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G__PVLB8Nm4

    Yeah, me too. Love that sketch. Sorry, I was too dense to understand the query. *Whoosh*

    The GP wrote:For what it's worth, the wood-grilled cauliflower dish on last Friday's Hopleaf menu was $17. Their latest menu on their site describes it as such: "w/marinated cauliflower, red lentil-squash purée, herbed quinoa, roast parsnips, lime yogurt, spiced pepitas, golden raisins, cilantro."

    Had a similar dish at Greenwood in Highland Park and iirc, it was $19. Yikes!

    =R=
    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

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