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Author Topic: Restaurants Thread  (Read 31525 times)

Galway Eagle

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Restaurants Thread
« on: January 12, 2023, 09:39:28 AM »
A poster mentioning they were going to eat at Next made me think a restaurant recommendation & review thread might be useful for the board.

Some starter thoughts

Chicago:
Elske is super overrated

Sepia is amazing

Au Cheval is the best burger bar none

Osteria Langhe is the best Italian food I've ever had in the USA.

Milwaukee:
Char'd could hold its own anywhere in the country

Galway:
Aniar is an amazing
Maigh Eo for Sam

JWags85

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2023, 10:22:45 AM »
Interesting on Elske. Wonder if thinks have changed chef-wise.  Its been years, but I went for my birthday summer of 2017.  My now-wife took me on the high reco of a foodie friend she trusted as she wasn't very familiar with Chicago.  Not her type of food but she was really impressed.  It was a fantastic meal.

Speaking of Chicago, Schwa is still one of the most unique and phenomenal dining experiences you'll get in the city, incredible value for the money.  Its changed a bit and you can get reservations through Tock.  But when you could only get a table by calling in and if one of the sous chefs decided to answer the phone, it was amazing.  Super elevated Michelin star quality fine dining while old school hip hop blasted out of the open kitchen and some nights a faint waft of marijuana smell filtered out.  BYOB...which meant your bottle of whatever would be shared with whoever wanted it in the restaurant.  So unique and fantastic.

Got unfortunate news last month that my favorite restaurant, probably in the world, Balagan in Paris would be closing.  I sent multiple people there to the same rave reviews.  Israeli-Med fusion in an atmosphere that could only be described as joyous.  Incredible food, loud but not obnoxious Middle Eastern music, chefs and servers singing along, spontaneous dance and singing jaunts by the staff later in the evening, but absolutely mind blowing food.  I went 3 times, had different options every time. Sat at a common table, 2 top, and at the bar, all unique and amazing in their own way.  Hope the owners open something similar elsewhere in the city, cause the certainly didn't close for lack of buzz or business.

Skatastrophy

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2023, 10:31:56 AM »
Chicago:

If you ever call Elske overrated again I'll fight you irl. They are one of my favorite restos in the city. Definitely Scandinavian preparations and flavors, though, so that's not everybody's thing. Their sourdough, homemade butter, radish, salt appetizer knocked my socks off.

Cellar Door Provisions is great if you dig great simple farm-to-table food
https://www.cellardoorprovisions.com/

Wasabi was my fav ramen, but now Monster Ramen has taken that crown. Strings is just okay, but they do to-go ramen really well.
https://monsterramenchicago.com/

Cheap eats: Taqueria Atotonilco is the best tacos al pastor in the city
http://taqueriasatotonilco.com/

Edit: In large metros it's easier to talk about specific cuisines/dishes than just best or favorite restaurants.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2023, 10:39:45 AM by Skatastrophy »

Galway Eagle

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2023, 10:46:11 AM »
Chicago:

If you ever call Elske overrated again I'll fight you irl. They are one of my favorite restos in the city. Definitely Scandinavian preparations and flavors, though, so that's not everybody's thing. Their sourdough, homemade butter, radish, salt appetizer knocked my socks off.

Cellar Door Provisions is great if you dig great simple farm-to-table food
https://www.cellardoorprovisions.com/

Wasabi was my fav ramen, but now Monster Ramen has taken that crown. Strings is just okay, but they do to-go ramen really well.
https://monsterramenchicago.com/

Cheap eats: Taqueria Atotonilco is the best tacos al pastor in the city
http://taqueriasatotonilco.com/

If that's what it takes to get another attendee at my game watching event on Sunday I'll say it again and stand there with a sign saying "punch me" lol

Love wasabi, haven't been since right when I moved back from Ireland so Im overdue for a visit.

I'll have to check out cellar door provisions, my go to wine bars are beautiful rind and Lardon.

I actually have one more Chicago hot take: Mi Tacoya is super overrated got 5 dishes would say 1 was great 1 was ok everything else was disappointing.

Maigh Eo for Sam

Hards Alumni

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2023, 10:46:51 AM »
We have reservations for Alinea later this month.  Has anyone else been?  Did they enjoy?

Galway Eagle

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2023, 10:48:54 AM »
We have reservations for Alinea later this month.  Has anyone else been?  Did they enjoy?

Had some of their old dishes at The Aviary and they were unreal. I've heard some people say the experience is fantastic but the flavors lack compared to other fine dining in Chicago.
Maigh Eo for Sam

JakeBarnes

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2023, 11:25:20 AM »
Sepia had the worst service ever the night I went 2 years ago. Wine-paired dinner. Wine always preceded the course it was supposed to go with by 20-30 minutes. Terribly coursed and no real awareness that they were messing up--even when I tried to go to the bar and buy a separate bottle of wine just so I could have something while waiting for the food to arrive.

I've also heard that about Elske from a co-worker. But still on the list.

My go-to's lately. Not exhaustive, not really claiming bests (except where stated), just tasty things to me at a moment in time.

Chicago

Dear Margaret. French-Canadian.  Super great staff and the food is always exceeding my expectations. DO NOT sleep on the vegetable dishes as they are always top-notch. Kind of obsessed with this place.

Boka. This is sort of my standard. Every time the coursing is perfect, the dishes impeccable, and service is always top notch. Is it the best restaurant? I'm not saying that. But every time it is consistent, perfectly prepared, and delicious.

Sushi Hall. It's Mitch from Toro. He's fun, the fish is always great, and now there are tasty cocktails and a speakeasy in the back.

Big Kids Shiddy is gonna take best burger for me right now--it's just tasty. Owen and Engine chasing it, but completely different style.

Milwaukee

Birch on Pleasant. Really enjoyed my meal here. Do the Chef's tasting for sure if you go.

Assume what I say should be in teal if it doesn't pass the smell test for you.


Galway Eagle

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2023, 11:31:46 AM »
Second Dear Margaret! Can't say enough good things, are you going to do the second anniversary menu this Monday? They're changing it to just a burger and poutine place for the evening.
Maigh Eo for Sam

JWags85

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2023, 11:56:21 AM »
We have reservations for Alinea later this month.  Has anyone else been?  Did they enjoy?

Its incredible.  Go with an open mind and just enjoy.  I have been lucky enough to go twice, 5-6 years apart, and its just a blast.

Skatastrophy

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2023, 12:08:55 PM »
I have a hot take on Alinea, but I hope you enjoy your meal there.

The food was good to great. The courses were disjointed, so the meal didn't feel tied together. The staff was middling at best (mumbling about the courses, spilling water when pouring), which is unacceptable for a 3* resto. The som kept touching the tops of the bottles while he was talking about each one during wine service, which is unacceptable as well.

wadesworld

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2023, 01:45:03 PM »
No longer around because of Covid and then a personal decision, but Tandem was my favorite restaurant in Milwaukee.  The fried chicken was incredible, but the mission of the restaurant and the owner was the best.  The videos below do a good job of explaining it, but I've heard a lot of interviews from the owner that are just awesome.  She was a principal in Detroit before deciding to open the restaurant in Milwaukee.  Intentionally opened it on 18th and Fon Du Lac, made it a priority to hire people who were getting their first job either overall (bussers and servers, etc.) or first job out of jail.  The idea of the restaurant was to get people from all walks of life to come in and just enjoy good food.

When covid hit she decided she was going to just make free meals for people in need for as long as whatever funds were left would let her do that.  Donations started coming in and then she got sponsored by World Central Kitchen.  So then she started a tutoring program where kids could come in and get tutored, and then they would get a meal with it.  Really awesome stuff.  She since sold it and something else was scheduled to open.  I'm not sure if it has yet or not.  She was hoping to find someone with a similar mission to hers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNL2OZwADD8&t=5s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnqjmMN1xKg
Rocket Trigger Warning (wild that saying this would trigger anyone, but it's the world we live in): Black Lives Matter

Galway Eagle

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2023, 01:56:25 PM »
Has anyone tried Ardent or Sanford in Milwaukee? Curious how they stack up to similar levels of dining in larger cities.
Maigh Eo for Sam

JakeBarnes

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2023, 04:09:17 PM »
Second Dear Margaret! Can't say enough good things, are you going to do the second anniversary menu this Monday? They're changing it to just a burger and poutine place for the evening.

My wife is pescatarian so not much for her. If she has a meeting--then yes. Heck, I might just stop in anyways.
Assume what I say should be in teal if it doesn't pass the smell test for you.


4everwarriors

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2023, 06:09:25 PM »
Eye wood assume most heer are Catholic, aina?
"Give 'Em Hell, Al"

Skatastrophy

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2023, 09:10:08 PM »
Eye wood assume most heer are Catholic, aina?

You got the low down on the best Jesus crackers or something?

MuggsyB

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2023, 09:19:34 PM »
Sepia had the worst service ever the night I went 2 years ago. Wine-paired dinner. Wine always preceded the course it was supposed to go with by 20-30 minutes. Terribly coursed and no real awareness that they were messing up--even when I tried to go to the bar and buy a separate bottle of wine just so I could have something while waiting for the food to arrive.

I've also heard that about Elske from a co-worker. But still on the list.

My go-to's lately. Not exhaustive, not really claiming bests (except where stated), just tasty things to me at a moment in time.

Chicago

Dear Margaret. French-Canadian.  Super great staff and the food is always exceeding my expectations. DO NOT sleep on the vegetable dishes as they are always top-notch. Kind of obsessed with this place.

Boka. This is sort of my standard. Every time the coursing is perfect, the dishes impeccable, and service is always top notch. Is it the best restaurant? I'm not saying that. But every time it is consistent, perfectly prepared, and delicious.

Sushi Hall. It's Mitch from Toro. He's fun, the fish is always great, and now there are tasty cocktails and a speakeasy in the back.

Big Kids Shiddy is gonna take best burger for me right now--it's just tasty. Owen and Engine chasing it, but completely different style.

Milwaukee

Birch on Pleasant. Really enjoyed my meal here. Do the Chef's tasting for sure if you go.

I'll second Boka.  Superb restaurant.  At least it was a few years ago.

MuggsyB

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2023, 09:29:32 PM »
I have a hot take on Alinea, but I hope you enjoy your meal there.

The food was good to great. The courses were disjointed, so the meal didn't feel tied together. The staff was middling at best (mumbling about the courses, spilling water when pouring), which is unacceptable for a 3* resto. The som kept touching the tops of the bottles while he was talking about each one during wine service, which is unacceptable as well.

That's completely unacceptable.  Everyone I know that has gone there has raved about their experience. 

PBRme

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2023, 11:14:22 AM »
Has anyone tried Ardent or Sanford in Milwaukee? Curious how they stack up to similar levels of dining in larger cities.

I can't do Sanford anymore.  Tables are to close together and no privacy.  Feels like you are sitting with the next table.  Food good but ambiance meh
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4everwarriors

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2023, 11:18:31 AM »
Any y'all bin ta Lupi and Iris, hey?
"Give 'Em Hell, Al"

Galway Eagle

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2023, 11:44:33 AM »
Big Kids Shiddy is gonna take best burger for me right now--it's just tasty. Owen and Engine chasing it, but completely different style.


Love Owen & engines burger but have you tried Loyalist, Mott Street, Au Cheval or Little Bad Wolf?

Haven't tried big kids so I'll give it a go.

Edit: actually I have tried it, I was pretty drunk though so I'll give it a second go. 
Maigh Eo for Sam

MUfan12

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2023, 12:42:41 PM »
Any y'all bin ta Lupi and Iris, hey?

Yeah, and maybe I caught them on an off night, but I was thoroughly underwhelmed.

MU82

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2023, 12:51:08 PM »
Sepia had the worst service ever the night I went 2 years ago. Wine-paired dinner. Wine always preceded the course it was supposed to go with by 20-30 minutes. Terribly coursed and no real awareness that they were messing up--even when I tried to go to the bar and buy a separate bottle of wine just so I could have something while waiting for the food to arrive.

I've also heard that about Elske from a co-worker. But still on the list.

My go-to's lately. Not exhaustive, not really claiming bests (except where stated), just tasty things to me at a moment in time.

Chicago

Dear Margaret. French-Canadian.  Super great staff and the food is always exceeding my expectations. DO NOT sleep on the vegetable dishes as they are always top-notch. Kind of obsessed with this place.

Boka. This is sort of my standard. Every time the coursing is perfect, the dishes impeccable, and service is always top notch. Is it the best restaurant? I'm not saying that. But every time it is consistent, perfectly prepared, and delicious.

Sushi Hall. It's Mitch from Toro. He's fun, the fish is always great, and now there are tasty cocktails and a speakeasy in the back.

Big Kids Shiddy is gonna take best burger for me right now--it's just tasty. Owen and Engine chasing it, but completely different style.

Milwaukee

Birch on Pleasant. Really enjoyed my meal here. Do the Chef's tasting for sure if you go.

Thanks for these, Jake.

Never been to Boka or Dear Margaret. Just took a look at the menus and they both look amazing. The short rib at Boka had me almost drooling. Might need to try that next trip where we go out with another couple. Dear Margaret looks amazing, too -- but is someone saying they're becoming a burger joint?
“It’s not how white men fight.” - Tucker Carlson

Galway Eagle

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2023, 01:04:18 PM »
Dear Margaret looks amazing, too -- but is someone saying they're becoming a burger joint?

Just for this Monday. It's their second anniversary and they're doing a limited special menu.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2023, 01:25:26 PM by Galway Eagle »
Maigh Eo for Sam

Skatastrophy

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2023, 01:05:57 PM »
That's completely unacceptable.  Everyone I know that has gone there has raved about their experience. 

Yeah, I'd go again but there's so many restaurants and so little time. I'm the only one I know that's had a mediocre experience, so I'll chalk it up to bad luck.

TAMU, Knower of Ball

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Re: Restaurants Thread
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2023, 01:16:12 PM »
Char'd is a great recommendation by Galway. Love that place.

A place that I did not expect to be as good as it was is Il Mito in Wauwatosa. It's this tiny Italian place on North Ave. Doesn't look like anything special inside or out but the food was fantastic. My wife's parents are first-generation Italian immigrants and both of them and my wife (who is an Italian food snob) all raved about their dinners. Went there on a recommendation of a friend and ended up thanking them for sending us there.
TAMU

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