Honestly. This score is probably inflated because it was our “Festivus for the Rest of Us” celebration (otherwise known as Christmas Eve) and we were probably cajoled into more good cheer which led to a higher rating than was warranted. This was the second installment in what we thought would become a family Festivus tradition. We won’t be returning. It’s not that it was a bad meal; it’s just that it wasn’t as good as we remembered. And therein lies the first problem. It was fixed menu and it was exactly the same as the year before , only not as good. Some of what we had: Truita de Patata, Gambas al Ajillo, Datiles con Almendras, Costillas de Ternera, Serrano Fig and Ham Salad.
The restaurant was full, although no one was waiting for tables. Yet, the atmosphere felt unnecessarily harried. We had a hard time getting water refills and here’s a suggestion to every restauranteur: YOUR BUS STAFF SHOULD NOT WIPE DOWN TABLES WITH NASTY DIRTY KITCHEN TOWELS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MEAL.
Cuisine and Style of Dining: Catalan and you could totally wear sequins here.
638 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL
Visited on December 24, 2013
Generally, we’re within a point of each other, but Ada Street had the largest point spread, from a 2 to a 5. Some reasons for the 2: 1) the Brewer thought the atmosphere was pretentious. (Upon entering, you pass the turntable and album stand and are told they only play LP’s and you can make requests); and 2) the lack of decent seating for parties of 5.
Some of what we ordered: marinated olive, polenta fries, fried manchego cheese, fried brussels sprouts, salmon spring roll, strip loin with aged balsamic. On special: a gnocchi dish.
The Money and the Blogger would definitely return and sit at the bar.
Cuisine and style of dining: “Ada Street’s menu celebrates the seasons with beautiful ingredients, passion and love.”
1664 N. Ada Street, Chicago, IL
Visited on 12/15/2013
This is a family old-reliable. There’s an upstairs and downstairs. The Blogger prefers the downstairs. The Critic and the Brewer prefer the upstairs. The others are not committed. Pastas tend to be over sauced and portions are too big, but that’s the American way. (On this visit we had a clear view of the station where the servers would either pack-up left over food or throw it in the garbage. The amounts were staggering.) Let’s start a new food movement, shall we — we’ll call it No More Leftovers. Humans should not be served piles of food that they can’t possibly eat. Still. We return. Really good stuffed artichokes.
Cuisine and style of dining: Italian-American and twinkly lights year round.
1154 West Taylor, Chicago, IL.
Visited on December 5, 2013.
We ordered: poutine, arugula salad, a burger or two or three, mussels. The food was good but the beer is the reason to go and it will be the reason you return.
Cuisine and style of dining: Craft brew and food; nice low-key atmosphere .
3155 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL
Visited on November 1, 2013
One of our review rules is that each reviewer has 24 hours to decide on a rating, and it can’t be changed afterwards. This is one restaurant that the Blogger desperately wants to downgrade but it’s too late. And why? You can just feel its embryonic franchise-iness.
This food is neither Italian nor Italian-American, but is in the style that has become very popular, which is gratefully anchored with wood-burning ovens. (See review of Tufano’s for real Italian-American food). It might be called New Italian American cooking. You’ll find the recent trends of cheese and salumi boards and small plates here. And it certainly updates the typical pasta-pizza palate that we’re used to. Surprises on the menu like ricotta and honey reminds one of Sicily and makes you realize that the best Italian food isn’t so much cooked as it is assembled.
We ordered: Warm Tuscan Kale: the Blogger loves kale and this was no exception. Everyone else prefers it cold; Cacio e Pepe: it’s pasta, of some variety, pecorino, and pepper. The Critic is on a search for the best version of this dish. This isn’t it; Marscapone polenta and ragu of the day: the ragu was bolognese. ; pizza D.O.C. (denominazione de origine controllata is a guarantee that a product is produced in a certain region in Italy with certain methods.) This was a very, very good pizza with tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella cooked in a wood-burning oven.
Cuisine and style of dining: Italian and cozy, rustic with lovely doors that open onto the street.
1359 W. Taylor St., Chicago, IL
Visited on August 4, 2013.