***** (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.
4835 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60625