So I ate out a number of times last week and thought I would share my experiences.
Chicago is having Restaurant Week (although not really a week since it's now extend to March 6) where select restaurants offer a fixed menus for $30. Its a great way for poor students like me to venture to more expensive establishments.
We took advantage of Restaurant Week on Wednesday when a few friends and my sister, plus Aaron and I went to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. I selected the seafood gumbo, salmon with scallops, and stewed spinach, with bread pudding for dessert. I can't say the salmon wasn't excellent or the petite fillet not really tasty (I had a taste of Aaron's) but overall I regretted the dinner. It was a great deal compared to the usual prices, but the entree focused meal and formal old boy's atmosphere just wasn't worth it for me. I would prefer a more lively atmosphere with more unique dishes.
(whiskey soaked bread pudding)
This is what we got the next night. On Thursday my program at school was hosting a dinner at Cafe Iberico, a tapas place, that I was really looking forward to. Then Aaron's brother came into town and invited us out to Bin 36, so we stopped there first.
Bin 36 was INCREDIBLE. We both enjoyed a wine flight (small portions of 5 different wines). Mine was from South America, with 5 reds, 4 from Argentina and 1 from Chile. So good. We also enjoyed the Bin36 cheese flight, Prince Edward Island mussels in tomato saffron broth, the charcuterie plate for 2, and gougeres. I really love small portioned meals. This was so excellent!
After that deliciousness we headed over to Cafe Iberico where the food was pretty good, but maybe not perfect since it was from a set large party menu. But the free-ness of the dinner, free flowing Sangria, and wonderful company of my fellow classmates and Aaron made for a wonderful dinner. The servers came around asking if we wanted some free shots (yes!) and a girl from my table ordered Sambuca. This is my mother's drink, and I never thought I would like it. But it was so good it kindled a new love. All in all it was an awesome night.
This also reaffirmed my disappointment from the night before. I love eating out, but with budgetary concerns it has to be really good for the price. I've also learned I really enjoy smaller, multiple portions.