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Chicago Mag's Alleged 20 Best New Restaurants

Chicago Mag's Alleged 20 Best New Restaurants
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  • Chicago Mag's Alleged 20 Best New Restaurants

    Post #1 - April 11th, 2005, 12:08 pm
    Post #1 - April 11th, 2005, 12:08 pm Post #1 - April 11th, 2005, 12:08 pm
    Like the Oscars or the mayoral race, the Chicago magazine 20 Best New Restaurants issue occasions an excitement which is quickly dampened by the highly predictable reality. The fact is, it remains fairly difficult to open a fine dining restaurant above a certain price point, especially in certain designated-trendy parts of town, and not wind up on this list. Thus Le Lan, which I have yet to meet a real person who really likes, appears on the list like clockwork, assured not merely a spot but the title of best new restaurant in town, because of the long-endorsed names attached (Arun and Roland Liccioni).

    Worse yet, at least from the predictability angle, is the fact that when you get to the Dish column in the back, many of the same places show up on a "Hot List" of "10 hip places everyone's talking about." We are trapped in spirals within spirals by this point-- Dish's Hot List says everyone's talking about Scylla and Hot Chocolate because Chicago Mag's 20 Best New Restaurants is talking about Scylla and Hot Chocolate. Two of the three sushi places on the 20 Best were in last month's or the month before's 20 Top Places for Sushi article, and sure enough two of them make the Hot List as well-- everyone who talks about what's in Chicago magazine is talking about it!

    None of which, of course, says that many of these places are not very good, and indeed worthy of being talked about for more than just being talked about. But even so, I ended the list with an "ennnh," because the restaurants just seem cut from such a sameness of cloth. This is undoubtedly slightly unfair-- Green Zebra, which one is surprised to find still qualifies as new, is a genuine innovator for one. (On the other hand, give Chi-mag credit for actually waiting for Alinea to open before crowning it, unlike at least one publication.) But amid all the global Asian-influenced bistro food, one searches hard for a place that isn't making little squares of nori-wrapped squid and celery root tapenade ravioli in the middle of big plates, and when one finds it, it's this:

    Chicago Mag wrote:De Cero Randolph Street's modern taqueria-- the brainchild of Sushi Wabi's owners--

    Which is where, suddenly, I no longer had the power to keep reading. The best new Mexican restaurant in Chicago is the offshoot of an aggressively trendy sushi bar? Yes, and with Saul Bellow's death, the most important thinker in Chicago is Oprah. (Yeah, I know he lived in Boston the last 15 years of his life. Can it.) I'm not saying Chicago mag has an obligation to be like LTHForum and put the dingiest holes in the wall on the list. Their beat is upscale food, mostly, and they cover it pretty well. But this is the city of Bayless and Bahena, and however well-crafted "Jill Rosenthal-Barron's... savvy mix of regional Mexican flavors" may be, tacos with sauteed salmon and cilantro and pesto are a step backward, not forward, into the sort of regression-to-the-mean international cuisine that keeps the hipsters coming to Randolph Street-- and terrified to step one foot beyond it. After all, venture beyond The Bubble and the Mexican food might actually contain scary things like pork and lard, not safe, traditional ingredients like salmon and bok choy. One can only imagine the hours at the gym it would take to work that off.

    (Of course, anticipating that a devastating critique like this would appear on a hugely influential chat board and reach dozens, the list does include one actual hole in the wall, sort of. Can you guess it? It's Indie Cafe, the sushi-Thai fusion global bistro in Edgewater, already raved about by Laura Levy Shatkin in the Reader-- and, indeed, a place everyone's talking about. Dish's Hot List says so!)

    I don't doubt that I'll end up trying many of these places; and liking some. What's happening at the high end joints is an important part of the local scene, after all, and it's not exactly Chicago mag's fault if some years the crop is a bit on the safe, same-ish side (though it is their fault if a fantastic, basically new restaurant, Avenues under Bowles, can't make it on a technicality because Avenues* existed before with a different concept, something which is also basically true of a couple of the "new" restaurants that did make the list, such as Trio Atelier). But I could stand to see a little more skepticism about the uniform fabulousness of some of these places-- I've had enough deeply mediocre Italian food from Lettuce Entertain You, for instance, that no matter how good Osteria Via Stato may be at the moment (as newly opened LEYE places usually are), I couldn't gush about them without recalling a history that includes Avanzare being allowed to fall to ruin toward its end and genuinely rank seafood at Tucci Benucch which was removed from the ticket only with obvious doubts that I had ever eaten anything more aquatic than Mrs. Paul's Fish Sticks. I wish these new places, full of promise and hope, well, but I wonder, by year's end, how many will really seem among the 20 best new culinary experiences to be had in this town-- and how many will blur together into an indistinguishable parade of tall, square, trendy food. 20 best new restaurants? Prove it to me.

    Le Lan
    Green Zebra
    Les Deux Autres (Glen Ellyn)
    De Cero
    JP Chicago
    Indie Cafe
    Kaze Sushi
    Miramar Bistro (Highwood)
    Prairie Grass Cafe (Northbrook)
    Scylla
    Vie (Western Springs)
    Hot Chocolate
    Osteria Via Stato
    Tsuki
    Trio Atelier
    X/O
    Bistro Maisonette (Bloomingdale)
    Thyme Cafe
    Acqualina
    Charlie's on Leavitt

    * Though it's not like Avenues hasn't had its moment in the Chicago mag limelight, of course. Incidentally, one odd thing I learned from this article: Best New Chef Paul Virant of Vie could be the brother of Avenues sommelier Aaron Elliott.
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  • Post #2 - April 11th, 2005, 12:49 pm
    Post #2 - April 11th, 2005, 12:49 pm Post #2 - April 11th, 2005, 12:49 pm
    Mike G wrote:Incidentally, one odd thing I learned from this article: Best New Chef Paul Virant of Vie could be the brother of Avenues sommelier Aaron Elliott.


    Pending DNA analysis?

    Mike, interesting critique of what used to be the Bible of Chicago cuisine (I'm referring to a period in local history when Mayor Richard Daley I was in office). I did subscribe to Chicago mag about two years ago (they were pretty much giving it away), and found it generally worthless as a guide to anything.

    The Paradox of the Bok Choy Taco brings up a thorny point. We (that is, I) applaud culinary inventiveness, but at some point the push to fuse disparate food traditions leads to creations that are more odd than satisfying (this is ultimately my problem with Moto: it's groovy grub, but it's got no guts).

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #3 - April 11th, 2005, 1:25 pm
    Post #3 - April 11th, 2005, 1:25 pm Post #3 - April 11th, 2005, 1:25 pm
    I am against fusion and experimentation except, of course, when it works, in which case I'm all for it. As with many things in life, if you're going to try to make it in life selling pictures of melting watches, it helps to be Salvador Dali.

    What bugs me about salmon tacos with pesto is not only the intrusion of something culturally specific where it doesn't belong, like seeing a samurai come striding into the middle of a Jane Austen picture, but that it's an example of a kind of underlying pan-yuppie cuisine here which transcends the superficial Mexicanness of the food-- the young Chad and Trixie out on the town in daringly urban Randolph Street must have their omega-3s and the comfort of the familiar (probably dyed) pink fish, and the question of whether it's Mexican-tinged, Asian-tinged, or New American Bistro-tinged is merely a detail. The impulse is really no different, or better, than the impulse that put a Tacoburger on the menu at Taco Tico in Wichita in 1972, for people who simply aren't willing to have something really exotic and out there, like an enchilada.

    That said, the same issue of Chicago magazine has a really nice photo essay on the soon-to-be-lofts Frederick Cooper lamp factory, well worth a leaf through.
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  • Post #4 - April 11th, 2005, 1:26 pm
    Post #4 - April 11th, 2005, 1:26 pm Post #4 - April 11th, 2005, 1:26 pm
    I'm glad to see I'm not the only one riding the high horse! :D :twisted:

    (And I agree with all your points.)

    And besides, what kinda new restaurant list does not include Mandarin Kitchen, Semiramis, and Pico Rico? (Let alone Zascianek, but I do not know how *new* that place is.)

    Rob
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #5 - April 11th, 2005, 4:56 pm
    Post #5 - April 11th, 2005, 4:56 pm Post #5 - April 11th, 2005, 4:56 pm
    Funny, Silver Spoon, perhaps the most innovative fusion cusine I have had all year, didn't make the list. It's even in the fashionable downtown area.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #6 - April 11th, 2005, 5:06 pm
    Post #6 - April 11th, 2005, 5:06 pm Post #6 - April 11th, 2005, 5:06 pm
    Anyone want to try my haggis wontons?
  • Post #7 - April 11th, 2005, 5:28 pm
    Post #7 - April 11th, 2005, 5:28 pm Post #7 - April 11th, 2005, 5:28 pm
    stevez wrote:Funny, Silver Spoon, perhaps the most innovative fusion cusine I have had all year, didn't make the list. It's even in the fashionable downtown area.


    That's probably because they still don't (at least as far as I know) have any fusion choices on the regular menu, or the specials menu. It is still just a combined thai restaurant and sushi bar, and the two never mix.

    Has anyone been more recently than me (it's been a few months)? It's possible they've put the fusion items on the menu, and if they have, I'll happily return. Otherwise, I don't see a point.

    -ed
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #8 - April 11th, 2005, 6:59 pm
    Post #8 - April 11th, 2005, 6:59 pm Post #8 - April 11th, 2005, 6:59 pm
    It is important to remember that the restaurant market is bifurcated (actually fragmented in many ways). As a critic, you are writing to educate your readers, but not to transform them. And some restaurants are seen rightly or wrongly as being outside that domain (or even the critic's expertise). It is notable that Lao Sze Chaun only in March was reviewed for the larger Chicago Magazine list, while LTH or Mandarin Kitchen are not on the list. Indeed three Chinatown restaurants, plus Army & Lou's represent all of Southsdie Chicago (hmm.) Yet, for many Chicagoans the Top 20 New Restaurants are the place to expand their dining choices, even if they contact our choices.

    I admire Dennis Wheaton as a food critic, and I also believe that the CM listing is the best in Chicago, but it is far, far from perfect. But it will do with LTHforum as a supplement until something better comes along.
  • Post #9 - April 11th, 2005, 7:38 pm
    Post #9 - April 11th, 2005, 7:38 pm Post #9 - April 11th, 2005, 7:38 pm
    Actually, I don't object automatically to the exclusion of little dives. I certainly wouldn't object to their inclusion, either, but if Chicago mag wants to pick the 20 Best Nice Places to Eat, fine; as I said, that's their beat.

    But it seems a wan list when you go through it, even though I'm sure that individually many of them are very fine restaurants (and others are overrated see-and-be-seen joints serving wrongheaded things like salmon tacos). Even last year's, which I think had a couple of Indian fusion places on it like Vermilion and Monsoon (don't quote me on that), plus some places that seemed to break the mold, like Avec (a we-make-our-own-salami bar?), seemed more interesting for that reason. Here's what summarizes what's dull about the list in a nutshell-- the magazine's own descriptions of their genres:

    French (2)
    French-Vietnamese
    French-Italian
    Italian
    Mediterranean Seafood
    California-Mediterranean
    Contemporary American (4)
    American (apparently non-contemporary)
    Contemporary (apparently non-American)
    American Bistro (five points to anyone who knows how this differs from above)
    Mexican
    Japanese (2)
    Japanese/Thai
    and last but not least... Global

    Half the list is that amorphous, all-purpose Contemporary-California-Bistro-Mediterranean-American thing, and the remainder either covers the vast distance from southern France to northern Italy, or is gussied-up sushi that's "under white onions and truffle oil" (Kaze) or "served in three styles: traditional, a thicker cut topped with grated ginger on an ohba leaf, and a chopped mound mixed with red miso" (Tsuki) or "named for everyone from Metallica to Popeye" (Indie Cafe). (Wasn't the point of sushi artful simplicity and direct flavors? When did it start needing a spritz of truffle oil to amount to something?)

    That seems to me an awfully narrow, indeed parochial slice of the restaurant scene. Now, it's not Chicago mag's fault if that's how the crop came out, as I said, but given the sameness of that list, I'd have poked around for a great little breakfast place or a cool ice cream shop or something that would have spritzed the list a little with some unexpected flavor.
    Last edited by Mike G on April 11th, 2005, 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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  • Post #10 - April 11th, 2005, 7:38 pm
    Post #10 - April 11th, 2005, 7:38 pm Post #10 - April 11th, 2005, 7:38 pm
    Nice points. I have been very attuned to this idea for awhile. A few months ago the chicago mag newsletter Dish wrote something like "the great restaurant" alinea. I am paraphrasing, but in the end the press has already decided that because Achatz is the chef, his new restaurant will be outstanding even before it opens.

    We live in a city with thousands of restaurants. The media is a business with limited resources to try them all. In the end, critics need categories to make sense of the madness. The loudest flashiest message wins. Guys like Achatz, Trotter, Arun etc have publicists, networks, contacts, money etc...they are the squeaky wheels that get the oil.

    Everyone loves a superstar.
  • Post #11 - April 11th, 2005, 7:39 pm
    Post #11 - April 11th, 2005, 7:39 pm Post #11 - April 11th, 2005, 7:39 pm
    GAF wrote:
    I admire Dennis Wheaton as a food critic, and I also believe that the CM listing is the best in Chicago, but it is far, far from perfect. But it will do with LTHforum as a supplement until something better comes along.


    Well said, though - for me - I think of CM as the supplement to LTHforum. :wink:
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #12 - October 8th, 2005, 7:16 pm
    Post #12 - October 8th, 2005, 7:16 pm Post #12 - October 8th, 2005, 7:16 pm
    Never say I don't give some lovin' to Chicago Mag when it's deserved. The new issue has a roundup of about 100 bargain restaurants, and it is a great pleasure to see that they are 1) mostly not places that have already been buzzed and dished to death in Chicago magazine, 2) mostly not places "stolen" straight from us or other Internet Food Forums, 3) mostly ethnic and 4) mostly not located in Greater Yuppieville. So even if I might quibble here and there-- a couple of the ones I've been to, such as Angelica's or Ay Ay Picante, I could think of better choices in the same category-- it's quite a good list of some probably new places to go check out in all corners of the city. So go check out!

    P.S. That said, I am gratified that what little mention of De Cero there's been here has lived up to my initial suspicions of annoying, prefab fauxniness.
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  • Post #13 - April 19th, 2006, 1:42 pm
    Post #13 - April 19th, 2006, 1:42 pm Post #13 - April 19th, 2006, 1:42 pm
    The new issue is out. 20 spots for trendy dining on square plates, basically. A couple of thoughts:

    At least the fake restaurant Del Toro didn't make it, although it gets a sidebar citation for "most creative small plates." More like "most creative ways to separate Trixies and Chads from their money for food slightly less interesting than at the cafeteria where they work."

    Il Buca di Mulino makes it. Atsa great-a news-a for-a the-a Italian-a people! Maybe the food's good despite the schticchio and the prices. I will never know.

    Spacca Napoli is relegated to a sidebar. Who wants to bet that at least half the restaurants on the list can't do anything half as well as Spacca Napoli does only one thing superbly?

    Also in sidebars: Pollo Campero, Sweet Baby Ray's. Ouch.

    But I will give them credit for including Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro, which is easy to overlook.
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  • Post #14 - April 19th, 2006, 3:11 pm
    Post #14 - April 19th, 2006, 3:11 pm Post #14 - April 19th, 2006, 3:11 pm
    I just want to thank the contributors of "haggis wontons" and "fauxiness" respectively. LOL---the latter being not only funny, but, I think, a necessary new word.

    A small demurral to the general point: it seems to me that Scylla, at least, is not merely a product of the buzz Mobius strip but of genuine grass roots buzz. I think every single reference to it anywhere that I have seen has been a grateful, gushing rave.

    And a sidebar on Tucchi Benuch (or Tuchus Genug, or whatever it is/was called): I was there only once, for convenience sake because we were shopping nearby and we were served a very nice plate of calamari which unfortunately included an anomaly--- a long battered and fried shard of metal. We brought this to the waitress's attention and she, along with the manager dealt with it perfectly.

    The server apologized and brought the manager. The manager thanked us profusely for bringing it to their attention, promised to actually investigate how something that dangerous could have happened, struck it off the bill (of course), offered us any replacement dish we wanted (since the calamari was suspect by then, replacing it didn't seem the right way to go), then comped some desserts.

    They never got defensive, excused it, or tried to shift blame back to us.

    I was quite impressed. That's really the only way to deal with such things and so few restaurants seem to understand that.
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #15 - April 19th, 2006, 3:28 pm
    Post #15 - April 19th, 2006, 3:28 pm Post #15 - April 19th, 2006, 3:28 pm
    Well, I had a good meal at Scylla overall but significant reason to neither gush nor express gratitude unreservedly.
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  • Post #16 - April 19th, 2006, 3:52 pm
    Post #16 - April 19th, 2006, 3:52 pm Post #16 - April 19th, 2006, 3:52 pm
    I went to the Fulton's in Disney World. That's really all you need to know about what I think of this year's list (with the exceptions of Alinea and Schwa, which are slam dunks IMHO).
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #17 - April 21st, 2006, 8:27 am
    Post #17 - April 21st, 2006, 8:27 am Post #17 - April 21st, 2006, 8:27 am
    What's the issue with Le Lan? I loved that place, but have only gone once due to the fact that Streeterville is loaded with great places.

    The one that I see listed all the time that I don't understand is Custom House. I am a big fan of Green Zebra, but found nothing particularily interesting, creative, or well executed there. Again, being based in Streeterville, would I pass on Calitera, Nomi, Kevin, or Naha to go there? Not a chance.

    Not to digress too far, but what is the issue with Calitera? I have had a series of great meals there, but it never seems to be full or to get the respect it deserves.
  • Post #18 - April 21st, 2006, 8:37 am
    Post #18 - April 21st, 2006, 8:37 am Post #18 - April 21st, 2006, 8:37 am
    To Moderator David's post about Moto:

    I agree to a degree.

    At the same time, don't you feel that there is genius at work, in its early stage?

    Currently Moto has a number of dishes that are not successful. The edible menu? Sorry, but it doesn't particularly taste like chips and salsa and more importantly, it doesn't taste particularly good.

    However, there is an experimentation there that I have not seen outside of Alinea (and maybe Avenues). I feel that I am watching Charlie Trotter at age 20, messing around in his parent's kitchen.

    I eat at Moto now thinking of how it will be in five years.
  • Post #19 - April 21st, 2006, 8:38 am
    Post #19 - April 21st, 2006, 8:38 am Post #19 - April 21st, 2006, 8:38 am
    The key is that it's a list of best NEW restaurants. Based on my meal at Custom House in February, I would have to say it is one of the best NEW restaurants.

    Is it in the top 10 overall in the city? No. Top 20? Maybe, maybe not. Time will tell.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #20 - April 21st, 2006, 8:48 am
    Post #20 - April 21st, 2006, 8:48 am Post #20 - April 21st, 2006, 8:48 am
    My problem with Le Lan (last year) specifically, as opposed to the emphasis on chichi dining generally, is that the food media establishment has been riding the Arun horse for so long it was utterly predictable. And the couple of reports we'd had, at least, had not been that thrilled.

    But then there's this new review of Arun's namesake place. Anyone else been lately who'd like to comment?
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
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  • Post #21 - April 21st, 2006, 11:17 am
    Post #21 - April 21st, 2006, 11:17 am Post #21 - April 21st, 2006, 11:17 am
    Mike-
    Regarding Sula's review of Arun's, I couldn't agree more. When I met my now husband, he lived near Arun's. In the last 8 years, I've had dinner here 3 times-not because I was impressed, but because other people wanted to go. My take: beautifully presented mediocre thai food at outrageous prices. Tru is a much better value.
  • Post #22 - April 21st, 2006, 1:59 pm
    Post #22 - April 21st, 2006, 1:59 pm Post #22 - April 21st, 2006, 1:59 pm
    Mike G wrote:But then there's this new review of Arun's namesake place. Anyone else been lately who'd like to comment?

    Mike,

    I've been in the last couple of weeks and my comment is thus. For 1/3 the cost Arun's would be the best Thai restaurant in Cleveland. Service is terrific, wine parings well thought out and the, as Mike Sula mentions, mural is incredible, but reputation far outpaces performance.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #23 - April 21st, 2006, 2:04 pm
    Post #23 - April 21st, 2006, 2:04 pm Post #23 - April 21st, 2006, 2:04 pm
    This is getting off topic [Shopping & Cooking], but that last comment raised another issue for me:

    Ultimately, there is not a massive difference between someplace like Arun's and someplace where you can eat dinner for 2 for $20.

    I feel that same way about Italian. I love Spiaggia. The first time that I took my wife to a really great restaurant, it was Mantuano's old place. However, I just don't put Spiaggia in the same category as other high end places.

    There almost needs to be a "best in breed" designation. It may well be the best of the breed, but it doesn't make "best in show."
  • Post #24 - April 21st, 2006, 2:12 pm
    Post #24 - April 21st, 2006, 2:12 pm Post #24 - April 21st, 2006, 2:12 pm
    DML wrote:I feel that same way about Italian. I love Spiaggia. The first time that I took my wife to a really great restaurant, it was Mantuano's old place. However, I just don't put Spiaggia in the same category as other high end places.

    DML,

    We quite disagree. I've also been to Spiaggia in the last couple of weeks, was absolutely blown away, a couple of the dishes, including hand-rolled potato gnocchi with ricotta and black truffle sauce, were stunning.

    Service was perfect, view of Oak Street beach, during a thunderstorm replete with lightning, incredible, beautiful room, and food that, unlike Arun's, matched, even exceeded, reputation.

    Easily my best meal, so far, in 2006.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #25 - April 21st, 2006, 2:26 pm
    Post #25 - April 21st, 2006, 2:26 pm Post #25 - April 21st, 2006, 2:26 pm
    Gary,
    Don't get me wrong. I think Spiaggia is a great place, for a lot of the reaons that you stated.

    However, when I think of places like Everest or Tru or Avenues, I just don't put Spiaggia in that category. I think that just the matter of being an Italian restaurant puts some constraints on the cooking. Someplace like Tru can go off in different directions, with the result of ultimately a more interesting and enjoyable meal.

    I wish you wouldn't have mentioned the truffle sauce though. So much for focusing on work the rest of the day.
  • Post #26 - April 21st, 2006, 3:29 pm
    Post #26 - April 21st, 2006, 3:29 pm Post #26 - April 21st, 2006, 3:29 pm
    DML wrote:It may well be the best of the breed, but it doesn't make "best in show."


    According to you.

    But, how might you account for a difference of opinion?

    I personally prefer Spiaggia to any other fine dining establishment which you might name.*

    E.M.

    * Implied is the fact that I consider the dining experiece at Spiaggia to be directly comparable to any other fine dining experience in Chicagoland.
    Last edited by Erik M. on April 21st, 2006, 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #27 - April 21st, 2006, 3:31 pm
    Post #27 - April 21st, 2006, 3:31 pm Post #27 - April 21st, 2006, 3:31 pm
    That was my question.

    I was suggesting that there is a difference and that the cuisine provides limitations.

    Feel free to disagree. If you do, though, it might be nice to say more than "I disagree."
  • Post #28 - April 21st, 2006, 3:37 pm
    Post #28 - April 21st, 2006, 3:37 pm Post #28 - April 21st, 2006, 3:37 pm
    DML wrote:That was my question.


    No, I am quite certain that we are asking entirely different questions.

    Have a good weekend.

    E.M.
  • Post #29 - April 21st, 2006, 9:06 pm
    Post #29 - April 21st, 2006, 9:06 pm Post #29 - April 21st, 2006, 9:06 pm
    I feel the urgency of a distinction welling up in my head. It being late-ish on a Friday night, what the hey! let me see if I can say something sensible along the lines of the distinction.

    Spiaggia. TODG and I attempt to get to Chicago at least once a year, simply in order that we might eat here. The food is a necessary but not sufficient condition our our doing so.

    Jake's in MKE or Schwartz' in Montreal. The food is sufficient for us to go there.

    That's two kinds of eating experiences, it seems to me. When we go to Spiaggia, it's for the whole thing, not just the food: this is elegant, professionally-run, professionally-executed, dining; great view, and a staff that is simply perfect. Plus, some really fine food. [I cannot imagine any thing of the genre better than the basil sorbet...]

    Jake's is about the bread, the pickle, the amazing transformation they've made in a Vienna Beef corned beef. Schwartz' is about the perfection of their fat smoked meat, the perfection of their fries.

    Which is NOT to say that the 'ambience' [so to say] of either Jake's or Schwartz' isn't part of the experience: it is. But it's not *essential* in the way that it is an essential part of the experience of Spiaggia.

    There is in fact a difference between pushpin and Pushkin, and it's a difference we all can accomodate. But that is not, at the same time, to claim that, under different boundary/initial conditions, on any given night, pushpin is to be preferred to Pushkin. But on another given night, it might go the other way. And most likely will.

    I know this is a muddle, but I'm trying to think my way through this stuff. Help?!

    Geo
    PS. Damn, Spiaggia is a great place to eat. Ditto Jake's & Schwartz'.
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #30 - April 21st, 2006, 9:47 pm
    Post #30 - April 21st, 2006, 9:47 pm Post #30 - April 21st, 2006, 9:47 pm
    Geo wrote:PS. Damn, Spiaggia is a great place to eat. Ditto Jake's & Schwartz'.

    Geo,

    You've just named three of my favorite places.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow

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