Being the first review for the Billy Goat Tavern, I definitely have to put a little thought into this review. Located in sub-Michigan, the metal sign for this place is easily missed, found at the top of some stairs across the street from the Tribune building on Michigan Ave. The place is definitely old school Chicago, has had crowds of customers for years and carries with it an interesting story. Upon entering, you are greeted by shouts for your order...order a hamburger, they ask if you want a cheeseburger...ask for a single, they ask if you want a double. No fries, chips... No Pepsi, coke. Ask for water...well, you get the flow. Free refills...and go for a double cheese. The burgers are not expensive, but not really cheap. They are heavy on the bun, but I like the fact that you can put your own toppings and condiments. And of course, you'll find your own seats. They do have a bar, which is nice if you want to grab a real drink and watch a game that might be on. This place is classic Chicago... it is even famously associated with the Chicago Cubs... since the original owner supposedly was the one that "cursed" the Cubs...long story, so definitely feel free to ask them. The staff is really nice! And because of their relation to the Cubs history, this place draws in a ton of tourists, so the staff will take pictures, answer questions, etc. Just a great experience and a scheduled stop everytime I make it into town.
Having eaten at The Girl and The Goat the night before my standards were up pretty high when I stopped in to Telegraph for dinner last night and they delivered in every possible way. The food was phenomenal, the service was some of the best I can remember ever having and the space is beautiful. I was with a party of eight, not ideal for the type of dining that Telegraph offers, smaller plates created to be shared, but they did an awesome job of catering to our group. We started with drinks and appetizers, I highly recommend the Old Kentucky Tomme, and our server was super patient with the folks that wanted wine but couldn't decipher the list. With a few questions he had a glass to recommend and everybody came out happy. The olive oil poached tuna was a hit at out table. I had the pastrami spiced duck that came over an apricot puree and it was perfect, the waiter again had a recommendation for a wine, the gamay and I loved it, it really complemented they entree. We ended the night with dessert and from the way my cousin and his girlfriend inhaled the ice box cake I can't but assume it was delicious. Armita and I split a cheese plate of a rich and creamy roquefort carles, a milder but no less wonderful gubeen and a goat cheese from Indiana of all places that stole the show. I cannot recommend Telegraph highly enough. I am looking forward to a chance to go back.
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.