Avenues at The Peninsula
108 E Superior St | Chicago, IL 60611
This place is fantastic, well deserving of the recognition from Michelin. And, it is now taking the first place slot in my list of Michelin restaurants in Chicago. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it and will likely go back next season.
Avenues is now CLOSED for some mysterious renovation. (Read about Avenues closing here)
Continuing on my Michelin star restaurant quest and admitting up front that this review is biased based on comparison to the other Michelin star restaurants at which I have dined. See all reviews of the list here
Most relevant comparisons: L20 (taste and appearance of the food); Boka (boring bland decor); Ria (Service and friendliness of the staff; though NOT for the sommolier who was friendly but NOWHERE NEAR Dan from Ria).
The food here was amazing. I had the Vegetarian Tasting Menu at $115 while another friend had the largely seafood based Tasting Menu @ $125 each. A few items were on both menus. Highlights include my favorite the Cauliflower with swiss chard and black cardamom; along with the unique vegan treat “Grain, Seeds, Nuts”. The two meat eaters at the table this evening enjoyed the Alaskan King Crab (“Amazing!”) but were less impressed by the Wagyu Beef Ribeye. EVERYONE loved the chocolate dessert (2nd of 2) while the Sheep’s Milk dessert on the vegetarian menu seemed to beat out the frozen like a rock Coconut concoction on the regular menu.
YAWN!!!! This place really does look like someone said “what should we do with that random space?” and they decided to put in a restaurant. For pure aesthetics, I would give this place a 3, because really it is NOTHING SPECIAL. However, due to the quiet, good ambiance, and ease of parking and dining, I bumped it up a bit.
Where L2O #failed miserably, this place got it perfect. The servings came out in a timely and well-organized manner. Our glasses were always filled, and there was never (like Topolo) a moment where our table had no food. Friendly and attentive but not overbearing. I felt the staff here were working on the same team and actually liked working together. And the kitchen staff looked like they enjoyed what they were doing as well. Where L2O was a bit depressing, this place was upbeat.
Pricing of this place is more like Boka and the Tasting Menu is pretty steep. However, unlike L2O, you do not feel pressured to do a wine paired tasting so you can choose a nice bottle of wine that can go with all courses and keep your bill relatively reasonable. Somehow, we were full, happy, and had great service for $225 each versus $350 each at L2O. Still not as good a value as Takashi and much more pricey than Sepia, but this is the place you would want to splurge on rather than L2O.
I’m going out of a limb and giving this place a 5. I think that the food is great, service spectacular and the boring decor does not matter as much when you are comfortable and satisfied. Compared to the other Michelin starred restaurants, this place comes out of top thus far. Therefore, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it and will likely go back next season for a new Tasting Menu.
In relationship with #foodies,
Posting some of my higher rated restaurants reviewed on Yelp here in my blog. For all reviews, go to my yelp profile at >> http://www.lanechange.yelp.com