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Dinner at RL

Dinner at RL
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    Post #1 - April 6th, 2005, 1:33 pm
    Post #1 - April 6th, 2005, 1:33 pm Post #1 - April 6th, 2005, 1:33 pm
    Looking around this site and others - no one had much to say about RL except for the Bananas Foster. I was offered a visit there last night for a celebratory dinner with a friend's family and was glad I joined them.

    I arrived early and had a drink at the bar first. Nice ambience, good bartender. I have a love for Cosmopolitans and they require too many ingredients to have at home to they are my default fancy bar drink. This was a very good one - fresh juice - nice size, not too much triple sec (though i prefer cointreau)

    My party came in we were promptly seated.

    We shared the Escargots and Crab Louie appetizers.

    Escargot were classic in the little dish with the holes for them - covered in clarified butter, garlic, minced parsley and spinach. Served with toasted brioche points. Simple, classic, delish.

    Crab Louie: I've seen this made but never had it. It was ok. Crab, mayo, ketchup, tabasco. Eh. Nothing special, and I think the crab could have been fresher.

    We decided of the wine drinkers 3 were having the Filet Rossini and one was having the pork, so a Zinfandel would be fine. They don't have a Sommelier, or one wasn't available, so I got the "Captain" I asked which was more jammy and not too sweet. He told me the BV (which is their by the glass Zin) and the Elyse were both nice. He offered a taste of the BV which I declined at fo=irst and took his assurance. The BV on the list was a 2001. He brought a bottle of 2002. I asked him before he opened it. He said," Oh, I'll check." He came back and said this is all they had. So I asked for the taste he offered earlier. Oh my, so glad I did. Even from and open bottle, it had a harsh flavor and a strong alchohol feel. I ordered the Elyse. It was lovely. Sweet and jammy up front, nice mouth feel, pepper on the end.

    I had the Lobster Bisque as a second course. Strong Lobster flavor. A little light on the actual lobster. Still very good.

    The Filet Rossini was perfect. 7oz, served rare with a slice of grilled Foie gras on top and shaved truffles. A little jus on the plate.

    For sides we shared the
    Potatoes Gratin - nothing special - salty mashed potatoes with a thick layer of asiago broiled on top.

    Baby Spinach - fresh but WAY too much garlic.

    Creamed Corn - Fresh corn in sweet cream - Simple and good, but I wouldn't order it again.

    We shared the Bananas Foster - these were very good, but a little heavy on the cinnamon.

    I would definitely go again. The service is good and the room is lovely.

    115 E. Chicago Avenue
    Chicago, IL 312-475-1100

    Edited to add address
    Last edited by kafein on April 6th, 2005, 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #2 - April 6th, 2005, 2:08 pm
    Post #2 - April 6th, 2005, 2:08 pm Post #2 - April 6th, 2005, 2:08 pm
    Thanks for taking the time to report on your experience!! :D
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #3 - April 6th, 2005, 2:22 pm
    Post #3 - April 6th, 2005, 2:22 pm Post #3 - April 6th, 2005, 2:22 pm
    RL is the name of the restaurant associated with Ralph Lauren's flagship store. It was also recently reviewed on Check Please.

  • Post #4 - June 1st, 2010, 8:13 am
    Post #4 - June 1st, 2010, 8:13 am Post #4 - June 1st, 2010, 8:13 am
    Bumping this thread since Mrs. Davooda and I dined at RL Sunday night May 30, 2010. The place was packed. I was surprised by the small size of the interior dining room and the noise level was impressive. We were seated at a two-top near a corner, not quite so close to the corner table as to be obtrusive, but very nearly so. We had two gentlemen attending our table plus a bus person and table service was top-notch. The bread service was, well, serviceable, but nothing to write home about.

    For starters, we ordered the Casear and Lobster Bisque to share. Caesar was very good and lobster bisque was very....meh. I want more lobster flavor and, by Golly, more lobster meat in my bisque!

    I ordered the steak Diane, while Mrs. Davooda went with the lamb chops. We ordered a bottle of Fess Parker Pinot Noir 2008 that was complimentary to both dishes. The lamb chops were done perfectly - medium rare without any bullseye effect. Watching the table captain make my steak Diane was great fun, and the continual aroma of mustard reminded me that this was a very popular dish at RL. It was spot-on!

    We would return to RL, but probably for lunch and not dinner. While dinner was good, I thought we could do as well or better for our money off Michigan Ave.
    Life is a garden, Dude - DIG IT!
    -- anonymous Colorado snowboarder whizzing past me March 2010
  • Post #5 - December 29th, 2012, 8:59 am
    Post #5 - December 29th, 2012, 8:59 am Post #5 - December 29th, 2012, 8:59 am
    Our visit for dinner last night convinced me that this place is underrated.

    The word is a bit of a paradox, because how can a place that is so consistently popular be considered underrated? But you know what I mean...conventional foodie wisdom would have it that the reason for RL's popularity is its trendiness, its proximity to Michigan Avenue's affluent shoppers and residential community, its uniquely clubby ambience, etc. One naturally guesses that all these things the restaurant has going for it mean that its food doesn't have to rise to a high standard to ensure the restaurant's success. There does, in reality, seem to be an immutable restaurant law that guarantees it won't.

    But that law is broken in RL's case. Because rise to a high standard the food does.

    My main course was the short ribs. (I know, a Food Cliche of 2012, but I like short ribs.) They were the best I've ever had. Full of great beef flavor, tender, juicy, just fatty enough. Served on the side was a generous helping of succotash that somehow achieved the Platonic ideal of succotash.

    Was it pricy? Yes, I'd have to say so. The dish was $35. You can either say, "That's outrageous for short ribs," or you can say, "Would I rather have just-okay perfectly-fine short ribs for $17, or would I rather have the best short ribs I've ever eaten in my life for $35?" As long as one has $35 in one's pocket, I know what to me is the sensible answer.

    Everyone else raved about his or her mains, and all our starters and sides and desserts rose to a similar level of excellence.

    RL has a lot going for it besides the food. The surprising part is that on the merits of the food alone--merits for which, to my perception, the place doesn't get enough "props" in the foodie community--it's a restaurant I want to visit more frequently in the coming year.
  • Post #6 - December 29th, 2012, 3:05 pm
    Post #6 - December 29th, 2012, 3:05 pm Post #6 - December 29th, 2012, 3:05 pm
    I recently had the best liver and onions in decades there. The service was also top notch. The flatbread/cracker that comes in the breadbasket is addictive as well. The only thing that didn't shine was the lobster club, which contained very little lobster. Other than that, we had an excellent time, made more so by my expectations being exceeded. Surprise surprise.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata