Kale salad




***** (5 stars)

I really liked the ambiance and food at Remington’s. It seems too narrow to classify it as a steakhouse, and particularly at lunchtime that’s really not what it’s all about. There are a nice assortment of appetizers, sandwiches and salads.

I particularly like the way the place is divided into a number of spaces, with high dividers between central booths. This keeps the noise level down. And the individual table lights create an intimate atmosphere. The front bar space is also nice, and there is a room formed by the wine cellar racking that would be great for groups.

We went for lunch and started with the ceviche, which had a nice assortment of seafood drenched in crisp lime.

The hamburger was large, perfectly cooked, and served with all the appropriate toppings and accompaniments. The skinny fries that came with it were okay, but could have been crisper.

My favorite was the kale salad, an interesting mix of kale, grapes, peanuts and other ingredients in a nice dressing.

Service was fast, friendly and helpful.

20 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 782-6000

RPM Steak

Chocolate cake

Brussels sprouts

1/2 NY strip

Tuna tartare

1/3 of a Caesar salad

Parker House rolls

Caviar potato skin


**** (4 stars)

This is one of the nicest spaces for a steak house in Chicago (and boy, are there a lot of them!) It has a modern supper club vibe.

They’ve brought a bit of a twist to many standard items, yet stayed true to the focus on steak. For example, the Bernaise sauce contains truffles, and the “frites” with the steak frites are actually thin, potato chip-like strips (which were delicious, probably my favorite part of the meal.)

The steaks themselves are available dry aged or not. We shared a 14 ounce strip. It was perfectly cooked, fairly tender, and had a nicely seasoned and charred crust.

It’s easy to share the starter plates including salads, and you’ll want to, because they are huge. We split an excellent Caesar salad three ways, and there was plenty.

Since bread isn’t included you’ll want to order some Parker House rolls, which were perfectly baked, with a soft, moist center and crip crust.

We also shared the tuna tartare, which was served on golden raisins. The raisins went pretty well, but the tartare wasn’t tremendously flavorful.

Brussels sprouts were crisped up like potato chips, and had a nice curry touch.

My least favorite item was the potato skins: three slim wedges topped with smoked salmon and a small amount of caviar. The flavors didn’t really combine into something great, and at $28 it seemed overpriced.

Other than that, the food prices are quite reasonable for Chicago. The same cannot be said of the wines. It’s a nice list, with excellent breadth (although not much depth of vintages) however the markups are very high. Be sure to check out the interesting beers in the back as they have things like vintage Bourbon stouts that you won’t find elsewhere.

We finished with the 14K chocolate cake, which was moist and deliciously simple.

Service was efficient and friendly.

RPM Steak
66 W. Kinzie St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 284-4990

Elizabeth Restaurant

Non-alcoholic pairing

Wine pairing and Downton Abbey menu


Yorkshire pudding

Goat’s milk and green apple sorbet


Pork belly and pumpkin


Spaghetti squash and kale


Bread and tartare

Foie gras crudite


Oyster with grapefruit

Salmon roe and crab


***** (5 stars)

Elizabeth offers some of the better fine dining food in Chicago in a more casual environment than most of the top-rated restaurants. Unlike the formal dining rooms at Alinea and Grace, or even the stylish space at Oriole, dining here is more rustic, with individual rough-hewn tables in a space that includes the kitchen. While the food is not quite at the caliber of those other places, it is better than at 42 grams, and the individual tables create a more intimate experience than the counter there. The soundtrack also adds to the ambience, with mostly 70s hits, intermixed with some modern cuts.

The tasting menu we enjoyed was lightly themed to Downton Abbey, although aside from a Yorkshire pudding (served at dessert!) there were few foods the Downton Abbey characters would have recognized. Each course was beautifully presented, and even courses with many ingredients used each one to full advantage. I felt the vegetable courses early in the meal were the best, and that the larger savory courses and several desserts weren’t quite as good, but a lot of that is personal taste.

The wine pairing is an excellent choice here, and each wine matched its course well. The non-alcoholic pairing matched even better, and was a fun mixture of juices and teas in exotic combinations.

Service is a team effort, and is busy, effective, not stiff, but also not the finely tuned machine you’d find at Alinea or Grace. That’s fine, as that sort of service simply wouldn’t fit in to the relaxed atmosphere here.

Elizabeth Restaurant
4835 N Western Ave
Unit D
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 681-0651

42 grams

Fall menu 2016

Working together


Whiye chocolate with citrus filling

Sweet potatoes gelato, date cake

Flax crisp, jam, cheese

A5 wagyu



Egg, oba, uni

“Lobster mushroom”


Crab, squash, speck

Foie gras, finger lime, crispy rice noodles

Jake and Alexa at work




***** (5 stars)

42 grams provides a unique dining experience that is visually stunning, impressive, and, most importantly, fun.

Unlike other restaurants that feature a chef’s counter where you can watch multiple chefs prepare your meal, 42 grams is a tour de force of one person, Chef Jake. Every bite is prepared from scratch, as you watch. From the first ingredient (and there were many in each of the eleven courses of the fall 2016 menu) to the last bite of dessert, you see everything created before you. It’s like watching an elaborate ballet to see it so perfectly timed. And the results are stunningly beautiful.

Of course this only works for a small number of diners, and the counter is limited to eight. With enough warning, a private party of ten can be accommodated at a table, but the counter and table are never used at the same time.

Alexa, Jake’s, wife, provides a delightful history of the couple, the place, and insightful commentary on each course.

A liquor license is in the works, but as of this writing it is BYOB. I loved the fact that advance wine recommendations were provided by email, and that ice bucket and wine opener were already set up for each couple.

42 grams is a very special experience you won’t find elsewhere, and is definitely worth checking out.

42 grams
4662 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640

Sumi Robata Bar

Teriyaki Bento

Salt cure cucumber


**** (4 stars)

This small, attractive robata bar is marching to their own drummer. We went for lunch and had bento boxes which were decidedly different from others in town.

The miso soup is served with a tofu custard in the bottom of the bowl that you mix in. The salad of mizuna greens is dressed with a potent vinegar. A large seafood croquette is nicely crusted on the outside, and filled with a hot mixture of salmon and whitefish. The main item–we had a chicken skewer and teriyaki salmon–is nested on white rice. There are also some house made pickles.

The best item we had was the salt cured cucumber appetizer, which was lightly picked and nicely seasoned.

Sushi is not available at lunch time.

Sumi Robata Bar
702 N Wells St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 988-7864


Ragu alla Napoletana

Mushroom Tagliatelle

Sunchoke and Artichoke crostini


Hamachi crudo

**** (4 stars)

This boisterous and popular restaurant certainly serves amazingly fresh pasta, and there are some other notable dishes as well.

Our favorite item of the meal was the hamachi crudo, a tasty dish of marinated raw hamachi with onions and peppers, offered at a very reasonable price.

The artichoke and sunchoke crostini was another nice starter, with very crusty bread topped with fontina cheese, chokes and truffle.

Both pastas we tried were perfectly al dente, one with mushrooms, the other pumpkin stuffed.

Ragu alla Napoletana was HUGE. The al dente fusilli was topped with three delicious sausages, three giant meatballs, and a giant pork shank. This dish would serve at least four people.

The only weakness is the winelist, which has a large selection of fairly pedestrian Italian wines, without a lot of depth or variety. There are no Amarones and no Super Tuscans, except for one priced in the stratosphere. So the list really has no middle, just low end selections in the two digit range, and a handful at many times that price.

Service was excellent.

1020 W Madison St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 888-3041


Chocolate tartufo

Beet salad

Skate wing


*** (3 stars)

The highlights of our dinner at Naha were the service, which was outstanding, and the breads, which are varied and interesting, particularly the ones with fennel, cumin and other unique ingredients.

The beet salad was just okay. The individual ingredients didn’t really come together to create something more.

I enjoyed the skate wing, which had a crispy sear on it, and went well with the sunchoke sauce.

The duck breast had a very flavorful lacquer seared onto the outside, but don’t order this unless you like your duck blood rare. Again, individual ingredients didn’t really complement the duck.

Plating was an issue throughout the meal. The duck, in particular, did not look like a dish served by a Michelin starred restaurant.

The most attractive dish was dessert. The chocolate tartufo was served with a delicious porter beer ice cream and espresso foam, and some of the ingredients worked together.

Naha is an adequate restaurant, but seems very overpriced for the quality. The Michelin star is puzzling.

500 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 321-6242

Tallboy Taco

Cheese crisp


*** (3 stars)

This counter serve taco bar is literally at the bar inside National 27. There are a variety of taco fillings on offer, all served on a traditional corn tortilla.

I thought the salmon taco was a bit fishy, and the pastor a bit dry, but both were fine.

The chips were a highlight, obviously homemade, quite crunchy, and well salted. The salsa that came with the order of chips was a thick puree that tasted a bit like enchilada sauce. It was improved by adding some pico de gallo from the salsa bar.

Ceviche was quite good.

The “cheese crisp” was essentially an open face quesadilla, and not all that crisp.

Prices are excellent, and the food comes out from the kitchen quite fast.

Tallboy Taco
325 W Huron St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 488-4917

South Water Kitchen

Salmon salad

Bacon chive deviled eggs

Chicken sandwich

Pumpkin pancakes



**** (4 stars)

Went for brunch. It met my criterion of having non-brunch foods at brunch, so that’s a win.

The chicken sandwich and accompanying fries were excellent, with a tender, succulent slab of chicken in a fresh onion roll, and nice crispy fries.

The salmon salad was unusually, being mostly composed of grain, with mixed in chunks of chilled salmon; I really liked it and it went perfectly with the Gainey chardonnay we ordered (a rare bottle to find in a Chicago restaurant).

The pumpkin pancakes were fluffy and accompanied by tasted pecans.

The only miss was the bacon and chive deviled eggs, which were almost good, but contained a bitter herb I couldn’t identify.

The restaurant is divided into a number of spaces on different levels, and has a nice ambience.

Service was friendly, and wines were half price on Sunday, which was a great deal.

South Water Kitchen
225 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 236-9300