Sunday, March 7, 2010

My opinion of “Restaurant Week” in Chicago.

My opinion of “Restaurant Week.”

So I am not a big fan of spending a lot of money for meals at restaurants, especially not in a big city. Everywhere you turn there’s another spot serving a similar combination of the food you wanna eat at a lower price. Which is how it should be.

Recently my wife and I have attended several of Chicago’s fancier/pricier spots that are Zagat rated, and highly critiqued in print and on T.V. It has been restaurant week here in Chicago for the past two weeks. Yes, they extended it for a week. The deal is that these nicer places offer an “affordable” pre-fixe menu for lunch and dinner. “Affordable” means $22 for lunch, $32 for dinner. That is not really what I call affordable, but I suppose considering the same meal may be $5 to $14 more otherwise, it sounds like a deal. We tried our best to take full advantage of this gracious gift bestowed upon us by the upper echelon in the food world. We attended several different spots over the two weeks, and we have had some decent food.
Now before I go any further, I wanna mention that I don’t like to give bad words about a place; that’s not my deal. It’s just not what I do. I am a “tipster;” I try to show you where to go, and what to get when you get there.
Restaurant week for me only confirmed what I had already thought… you don’t need to spend a lot of cash to get a good meal!!! I was pretty disappointed with almost every spot we went to for restaurant week. Most places offered what was already their most inexpensive item on the menu for the pre-fixe. And when you got yer meal, it was definitely a pared down version of what you would/should normally get. It was a real eye opener for me. I felt like “…sheesh, I was right, I knew that spending a lot of money for a meal at a restaurant doesn’t always mean it’s gonna be a better meal. “
Sometimes it just means you spend more for your meal than you would have spent for it somewhere else. And who wants to do that? Not me.
One other thing I noticed with the fancier/pricier spots: the more ethnic places, not ma & pa spots, were owned and operated by successful, educated individuals who went to culinary schools and put together nice menus. They were not recipes from someone’s gramma and grandpa, which is what I definitely strive to find in any city or small town.
I am not gonna rule out pricier spots in the future, cause I did find some good meals, and I met some great people, but I know that if I am lookin’ to eat some pasta or chicken, that’s full of flavor, there are hundreds of spots in the city to find a full plate of what I’m lookin’ for, for under $10 per person. And they are all usually within blocks of each other.

And that’s what I do, do.

* please keep in mind that this is just an opinion, and at the end of the day... it just doesn't matter.

** i'd like to give a tip on one of the spots... "Tizi Melloul" was definitely a great spot, everything i ate there was packed with flavor and essence, and i left feeling like a stuffed grape.

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