The Kamehachi on Wells, in Old Town, is supposed to be a Chicago institution, and bills itself as Chicago's original sushi bar since 1967. I don't understand why it doesn't carry itself better, because if it did the place would be packed all the time. The sushi here is great, the service not so much and I have experienced a lot of bad service over the years. While some of the other locations do require waiting, I have never had to wait at this location. The first floor is generally filled with casual diners, but there is a dining room upstairs that is a little more comfy and traditional. The first couple of dining experiences I had I dined downstairs and the service was great, with very good sushi. The two times I dined upstairs I had to be getting up to get refills, retrieve dishes and find out where our waitress went. Drinks we ordered never came and even had I wanted to get something else after dinner, we were never given the option. As for the food, it is definitely not the best sushi I have had, but its very good. Everything always tastes and looks fresh, the options are good and everything is pretty traditional so you know what you are getting. I love sushi and the location is convenient when I am in the area. I do wish the service was better though because bad service just ruins the meal. Because of the casual atmosphere it is a great place to take someone that you want to get to know better, both upstairs and down. Its also a great place to just pop in with a friend when you haven't made reservations anywhere or need a break from shopping. Oh, bonus at this location, they sometimes will have a guy there to valet your car.
My lady and I walked into the Girl & the Goat at 7ish on a Friday night with no reservation and were eating within 45 minutes, sure we were at the bar but it wasn't long after that that the hostess called our name for a table. We decided to stay at the bar and let a friend I'd bumped into take the table but, like I said, 7 on a Friday night and less than an hour wait is not something that can be complained about. The only thing I didn't love about this place was the space itself. I felt like the decor was a bit disjointed, exposed brick, charred wooden planks, reclaimed wrought iron fire place dealies gives most of the restaurant a rustic feel that much of the menu shares but the bar area did not. That being said, this place is amazing. I'm a big fan of the smaller shareable plates style of eating so that was a winner for me. My date and I started with a loaf of fresh baked bread with a Wisconsin beer cheddar and a plate of oysters that were light and delicious. From there we ordered a few plates to share; pan fried shisheto peppers, sauteed skate, wood roasted pig face, and a goat belly served with lobster and crab meat that simply melted in your mouth. Everything was perfect from the cocktails to the food to the service. Get here soon.
We were so excited when Richie opened this bistro in Mt. Greenwood - we had been long-time customers of his Blue Island Pizza joint, Giuseppe's, and anticipated a more adult place to dine. Our first two or three meals here were delightful, an elegant departure from the typical casual offerings of the neighborhood. Business must have been good, because an expansion soon followed, but the quality of the cuisine began to slip. Were we becoming jaded? We found more to complain about - the menu seldom changed, and the ingredients seemed less fresh. The service suffered at times, and the overall experience simply not what it had been in those first heady months after opening. Richie recently renovated Giuseppe's, now called Richie's Too (see review) and quite frankly, we'd rather go there now. The homemade Italian dishes and sauces done so well at Richie's Too are almost absent here, and the bistro-style fare seems tired. Now that his little family place has grown into an elegant swan, the big sister seems tatty. After all, it is all about the food. We will continue to visit Richie's, in the hopes that improvements will come, and because there are simply so few choices in the area. But we are getting a little tired of settling.