Chicago Restaurant Week 2015: The Lobby

The Lobby

I experienced The Lobby at the Peninsula for the first time last year during Restaurant Week. They turned my head with the special touches – the incredible porcini soup amuse bouche, the bread service, the mignardises, the individual pound cake with the check – and the elegant surroundings. Since that first visit, I’ve returned maybe half a dozen times, unfortunately with somewhat mixed results.

After Chef Lee Wolen left, The Lobby made radical changes to the menu, largely simplifying to something closer to a more standard hotel restaurant than a fine dining destination. Judging by this year’s Restaurant Week offerings, they have also eliminated much of what I loved about the restaurant – no amuse, no mignardises, no individual pound cake as a little goodbye. Those are small touches, I know, but they really added to the luxurious, pampering atmosphere (and they were delicious, frankly more memorable than some of the proper dishes). That said, the Restaurant Week menu is also offered at a lower price point this year ($33 for three courses, instead of the $44 last year).   Continue reading

Restaurant Week 2014: Cafe Spiaggia

Cafe Spiaggia Restaurant Week menu

Cafe Spiaggia Restaurant Week menu

Although I’ve never been to the full Spiaggia restaurant, its younger sibling restaurant Cafe Spiaggia is my go-to Italian restaurant in Chicago. The food is always well-executed, and of the half dozen-plus times I’ve visited, I’ve never had a bad dish there.  Continue reading